Whenever I decide to make gumbo, Bolognese meat sauce, or oxtails, it's after I build myself up physically and mentally for the process and remind myself the results are worth it.
By building myself up, I mean thinking through all I need to do throughout the process and commit to it. Commit to setting aside time to buy the ingredients, clean and season meat, clean and chop vegetables, combine the ingredients in the right order to get the best out of them, and let them simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. I then just take a deep breath and get to it. As I leave the pot to simmer, the smell of the food wafts throughout my home, letting me know the fruit of my labor is almost at hand; but, I still have to clean up the kitchen, wash dishes, take out the trash, etc. Then, when the food is cooked and I take my first bite, I'm reminded it is all worth it.
The process is the same for going after anything that you feel is your life purpose or makes your heart sing. Creating a fulfilling life involves grueling work when preparing and taking action. Regardless of what you choose to strive for, the journey will be littered with doubts and moments that fuel your passion. So, if what you really want is truly worth it, accept the process for all it is and get to it.
I hate to break it to you; but, our lives are built on failure. You wouldn't have known how to walk without falling on your diapered baby bum a few times first. So, if failure is required to learn the basic human function of walking, why is failure considered a bad thing?
Thomas Edison failed ~1200 times to create the light bulb; but eventually, he and his team created one that worked and brightened billions of human lives from flashlights to photocopiers to the screens of our smartphones.
Failures become successes when you see each one as a learning opportunity and are open to the possibility of successes greater or different from the ones you imagined:
What does success look and feel like?
Why did this not work?
What have we not tried so far?
Who can help?
When is the better time to act?
Where can we get what we need?
How will this change create success?
When your work performance takes a plunge, the seam you stitch on that pillowcase is not straight, or you do not pass a test, remind yourself that you've failed many times before, and those failures eventually led to a success. Look at the situation as a learning experience, and you may achieve a greater success than you bargained for.
There are no two people who are exactly the same physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Your soul is unique and far reaching, affecting more souls than you know in more ways than you can imagine. Your impact can be the care you gave, the words you spoke, the smiles you shared, and the words you wrote.
A hug you gave may have soothed someone's weary soul, stearing them from a deep depression. Your achievements, no matter how small, may have inspired a perseverance in others that drove them to successful careers. Sharing stories about yourself may have helped someone who can relate to them feel less alone in this giant world. Offering a child a piece of candy may have been the first moment they realized they truly matter. The things we do that seem simple or insignificant can have a majestic impact on another's life.
So, if someone doesn't understand your grief, that is fine. It simply means the impact of that lost soul was meant specifically for you. That departed soul had a meaningful purpose to fulfill in your life's journey. They fulfilled that purpose, and your grief is a painful yet pure, non-discriminating, and boundless appreciation for what that departed soul made possible for you.
Kelly Nembhard is a certified health coach, Reiki therapist, and aromatherapist with experience as a clinical research professional and developmental biologist. She currently lives in Durham, NC.
Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.