make your own meaningNo matter how fortunate the circumstances of your birth might be – no matter how wealthy your parents, how successful your country’s economy, how privileged you as a human being may be – sooner or later you will have to face something bad. There is not a human being alive who will go their whole lives without some misery or grief or misfortune.

And it’s up to each individual to decide how they cope with their problems.

And for most people that’s a gut instinct reaction. People don’t stop and think about how to approach an issue, but tackle it head-on with the same rash, emotional fervour they have done since they were children.

Which is why most people end up making their situations worse when they get upset.

And it’s not something that anyone needs to be blamed for. Emotions affect people in different ways.

And seeing other people handling all the nonsense the world throws at them with ease just makes things feel worse.

The important thing to remember is that the only difference between you and the people who can stay upbeat – the optimists – is your attitude.

It’s not a matter of just cheering up. That is impossible. Anyone who tells you to smile until you believe in it can’t understand how you’re dealing with your emotions.

But changing your attitude towards your misfortunates will make them infinitely easier to handle.

The fact is that when bad stuff happens, there isn’t always a reason. As nice as it would be to believe that there is purpose in life’s misery, it can be impossible to see it that way. Things don’t always round off nicely like they do in fiction. There’s not always a happy ending that makes the struggle worth it.

At least, not one you can see when you’re caught up in the middle of everything. If there is one at all, you might not see it for a long, long time.

So you have to make your own.

When you write your own story, it automatically becomes the right way to tell it. Don’t let other people make decisions about how you approach your life. Don’t let them tell you how to celebrate or how to grieve.

When things go wrong, it’s up to you to see how you’re going to fix it, how you’re going to change it, how you’re going to live with it.

It’s up to you to find a way to make the unbearable things bearable, in whatever way you can.

Forge your own meaning. Find your own silver linings. Make up whatever you want to make it all better.

Because the world won’t. And the things that other people might tell you are up to you to accept or not. You’re much more likely to believe something you’ve come up with yourself.

All the events in your life are yours to take however you want. Just because other people think you have to be made miserable by something, doesn’t mean you have to.

Own your problems in the same way you own your achievements. Their value is up to you to determine.

They’re yours to use, to learn from, to make into something better.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.