How do you reframe your perspective life’s toughest moments

Let’s look at three (common) examples of life situations that are challenging and painful and show how you can change your outlook on them today:

1. Someone you respect snaps and yells at you. This person is hurting, frustrated, or angry, and is taking it out on you because you’re close to them. They’re reaching out, wanting to be saved from the uncontrollable, and of course they’re not succeeding.

Can you empathize with this?
Have you ever been in their shoes?

There is beauty in our parallels, our joint struggles, our interconnection as human beings. Empathize with this beautiful, hurting human being, feel their pain as they deal with the change in their life, give them your compassion, and then carry on without taking their struggles personally.

2. Your three-year-old (or thirteen-year-old) refuses to listen to you. Remarkably, your child is maturing and asserting her independence. She’s thinking her own thoughts, and proving that she is her own human being, not just a little minion who follows orders.

Have you ever been in her shoes—perhaps at work or earlier in life with your own parents?
Have you ever been irritated by someone else trying to control you?

There is beauty in this kind of growth and independence, this fighting spirit, this coming of age. See that beauty and smile. Appreciate it. Give your child some space to learn and grow.

3. A close friend or family member dies. This one is tough, because we all grieve differently, and it takes time. When someone you love suddenly dies, you don’t lose them all at once. You lose them gradually over weeks, months, and years—the way a person’s scent slowly fades from an old jacket they used to wear. Yes, death is perhaps the most painful life change. We’ve dealt with the loss of siblings and best friends, so we know from experience that when you lose someone you can’t imagine living without, your heart breaks wide open. You never completely get over the loss, because you will never forget them. However, in a unusual way, this is also the good news.

Death is a beginning, because while we have lost someone special, this ending, like when we lose something we cherish, that’s important to us, is a moment of reinvention. Although deeply sad, their passing forces us to reinvent our lives, and in this reinvention is an opportunity to experience beauty in new, unseen ways. And finally, of course, death is an opportunity to celebrate a person’s life, and to be grateful for the beauty they showed us.

Truth be told, inner peace begins the moment you take a deep breath and choose not to allow an uncontrollable event to dominate you in the long-term. You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to become in this moment. Let go, breathe, and begin again…