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I can’t think of one person I know who hasn’t had life take a bite right out of them at some point in their lives. We all have wounds that need healing from life’s unpredictable nature. Some are physical and others emotional but you can’t live, truly live, without these hardships.

In fact, I think it is the difficulty that we face, that allows us to appreciate the joy. It is life’s misfortunes that teach us to count our blessings, to take stock. This is not a new concept. It’s not even an original idea. It was Joseph Campbell who said, “Find a place where there is joy and the joy will burn out the pain.”

When we are stuck in the middle of one of life’s disasters, it can be easy to forget that, while we may not have control over much, we can always control our own attitude and the choices we make as a result of our situation.

A changed attitude changes everything else for the good or the bad. If we are negative, we become blind to alternatives and get mired down by our regret and self pity. When we decide to take a positive approach, clearer thinking emerges. A conscious decision to be positive does not mean the pain we face will disappear. It means that we become aware that we can cope.

A positive outlook makes room for hope. A negative one does not.

Accepting and expecting that life will sometimes be difficult actually frees us to, “live like someone left the gate open.”  We won’t be blindsided by the ups or the downs. Worry no longer weighs us down and we are better able to run free.