Remove the Difficulty from Starting Over

Some people are blessed with not having to concern themselves with too much change in life. Everything has pretty much gone their way. Others might have gotten married and remained that way until one raised the question of divorce. Or one spouse lost another to accident or illness. Or the family lost a child. Maybe you lost a job. A new beginning for some followed a tumultuous life in one of the armed forces


Chess symbolizes the transforming of our mind.


where they served in a war-torn country with a possible loss of limb, brain damage, and fellow soldier, or the ability to return to a normal life without consistent medical care and or mental health treatment. Addiction is another issue that is touching families all over this country. How does one go forward from all of this? One learns to remove the difficulty from starting over! We learn to relish the opportunity. It is never too late, even when faced with a terminal illness.  Please do not infer that the above image means that life is only a game. Life is actually a series of games, plays, and choices to be made over and over. One day we lose and the next we win!

“It hurts, because we wanted a different outcome, but then we make it hurt even worse by creating a narrative around what happened. So, instead of creating that debilitating narrative, I think we’re better served realizing that now, we have an opportunity to pivot – to take our life in a different direction.”
Chris Hill

Going Forward

Start over with determination and courage.Yes! You can do it. You can take on a new and different armor by redefining yourself. So, you ask how? And no, it is not that simple. The first thing you have to do is to look at your situation as a definite opportunity for a new beginning and rejoice in that. Remember how it felt to get that job that was so important to you? That was the feeling of success! That feeling is always waiting for you especially when you fail at something.

Failure at anything is simply another opportunity for success. Yesterday you failed, perhaps through no fault of your own, and tomorrow you will achieve success. Remove all of that blame and guilt  and attach achievement to the situation. The next question is how am I going to go forward when quitting would be easier for me? Admit that you are

  • at an impasse.
  • going to put the past where it belongs.
  • ready to move forward and will use any help you can to get there.
  • sad for now but that you will get over it.

How to Move Forward


Death is different to each person, and it is almost impossible to accept one person’s instructions on how to deal with it. Your relationship with the individual largely determines this. Most of us have friends and other family members who have been in this situation,  and these are the ones we are most likely to turn to. Very often, they think that they have all of the answers. Unfortunately, well-meaning people think they know what you are going through. Some ways to avoid this are:

  • If you do have a friend or relative who listens without giving a lot of advice, that would be a good person to speak to.
  • If you are a religious person, get some recommendations for pastors or other church leaders to speak with.
  • Seek organizations that have a grief sharing meeting on a scheduled basis.
  • Seek counseling. Some counselors see clients individually and conduct a grief group.
  • Ideas are produced for starting over in journals.Audio books can be helpful and are much easier to listen to than to read.
  • Start a journal about your loved one. Define the relationship you had. If it was a great one, write why. Include some pictures of the two of you together. If not always a pleasant relationship, write about that as well, but add why you’re struggling with that. If you wish, write about all of those things you feel guilty about. When finished, you hopefully will want to ask yourself for forgiveness and let it all go, remembering only the good things. When you are tempted to revisit your guilt in this relationship, also revisit your request for forgiveness.

“Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here’s what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grow longer. Then, when you do remember to miss them again, it’s still with a stabbing pain to the heart. And you have guilt. Guilt because it’s been too long since you missed them last.”

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, The 13th Sign


Downhearted following job loss. Move on with determination.Losing a Job

Whether it be because you had to quit or because you were fired, the results can be the same. Our identities can easily get wrapped up with our job sometimes. Losing a job can be similar to experiencing death; however, it can also be invigorating if you were having difficulties on the job. Regardless of the reason, try looking at it as an opportunity for starting over.

“There is something beautiful about a blank canvas, the nothingness of the beginning that is so simple and breathtakingly pure. It’s the paint that changes it’s meaning and the hand that creates the story. Every piece begins the same, but in the end they are all uniquely different.”

Piper Payne

Consider starting something new when looking for a job. Constructing a resume to include all the things you are capable of that can be applied to a workplace can be very helpful. Apply for as many as possible, even those that seem to be a stretch. Often, the job scenarios are standard and don’t really depict the position accurately. Look forward to the new you. Maybe it’s the person you always wanted to be. Maybe it is the fulfillment of a goal to be someone you would be happy to settle for now.

Fear runs our lives. It doesn’t matter who you are. You have to understand your relationship with fear. Whether you’re scared of getting into a relationship; or taking the new job; or a confrontation – you have to size fear up. Chris Pine

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Life After Traumatic Injury or Illness
If you learn that you have a terminal illness, take a close look at the many who have gone before you, especially those brave men in politics like John McCain, Ted Kennedy, etc. They fought a brave fight doing what they loved best, helping others. The following also faced death and did so with dignity, courage and resign: Elizabeth Edwards, Patrick Swayze, and Steve Jobs. And then there are those who are suffering from Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s. You know who they are and you see them fighting. Most of these people had or have hope–the kind that hopes for the ability to make every day count in some way.

A comment from an NIH project report:

“I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and facing life as it comes to me. I don’t worry about dying. It’s coming and I just don’t want to rush it.”

Recovering from an illness or traumatic event is different. It becomes a matter of rediscovery, healing, acquiring new coping skills, and making huge adjustments. Your friends treat you differently sometimes. Please take a look at this short video for some perspective on what these people go through and learn how you might be helpful in their lives.


Most of us have faced some form of starting over in our lives for various reasons. And in no way should that be diminished. It happened, you have suffered, and the future is better than you think. Make it the most meaningful future for yourself and those around you. Be grateful for what you have had. If you are having problems now, look at your event as a blank slate, an opportunity to reinvent. Turn a sorrowful event into an enjoyable journey, improving your life and inspiring others. I did not cover divorce and addiction in this article but will address those in the future. My wish is that you will seek the help you need, whether it be from family, friends, organizations, church leaders, or mental health professionals.

“Sometimes life requires more of you than you have to give & demands you plunge into the reinvention of yourself if you truly wanna live.”

Curtis Tyrone Jones


I would like to hear from my readers, find out if they were helped by this article, and learn about their experiences with starting over. Please use the comment section below for these things and to make suggestions to others on this important subject.


How Do You Improve Adult Family Relationships


Family is where you need to learn and should have been taught how to think for yourself, express yourself, and how to be confident that what you think may be the right way to go.  Instead, many of us learn that speaking up against a family member or not going along with the family as a whole is disloyal and that that equates to “You don’t love me.”  Not feeling loved by a family member can be traumatic. Not only do you suffer a great deal from this rejection, you are likely to become alienated from other family members to the extent that you have none left.  I’m talking about aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.  You will also acquire an increased amount of anxiety, especially when a family member emotionally attacks you if you attempt to disagree. You can forever exist in an “underdog” position or you can do something about it.


Be happy with yoursef with no regrets.Loyalty to family members who “gang” up on you results in a lower, unhealthy differentiation. That is so unfair! You definitely don’t feel good about yourself. But it is something you can control. I wrote about differentiation in a previous post but wanted to explain it in more detail.  Cami Osten says it best,  a “high level of differentiation means a strong sense of self.”  When you are able to take actions that you are comfortable with, not because you are being coerced, and that are in the family’s best interests, you are using your intellectual skills and displaying confidence.

When I was an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, taking my first class in the upper division, a graduate-student instructor asked the class to individually propose three improvements for the campus.  I stood up feeling confident that I had three good ones, and after I presented each, she would put them down.  Yes, I was devastated, feeling shame and embarrassment in front of my fellow students, and I was extremely disappointed in this type of treatment.  I chose to react this way, but I did not know that then.  A healthier reaction would have been thinking that she didn’t know what she was talking about and that she had not learned how to communicate to students. I am happy to report that as time progressed, all three ideas were implemented—not as a result of my introducing them, but because they just happened to be good solutions to the problems that I had identified.

Ask the right questions the right way.So, what were the instructor’s options that might have resulted in a better outcome for me and for the other students?  She could have asked, “How did you arrive at that conclusion?” Or  said, “That is a solution that might work.” Or she could have offered her own solution to the problem by saying, “How do you think this solution would work.”  Truth is that she probably lacked a solution.  Had my level of confidence been higher, I might have said, “I regret that you don’t think my ideas would work.  Do you have any of your own?”

We expect teachers to be leaders, just as we expect parents to be leaders and teachers.  I was 30 years old at the time, married with two children, and I later analyzed her behavior and decided that she might have had many problems with her own mother and without thinking recast me in the unenviable position of a substitute mother.  Whether or not that was true I will never know, but it sure as heck made me feel better!  And that is an example of alternative thinking.

Enjoy your family.


Alternative thinking is a great solution to practice when you are offended by a family member.  This is really another way of giving the person the benefit of the doubt.  We don’t always understand what is behind their way of thinking, but it is good to imagine and consider it.  It can be healing.  Have a conversation with yourself:  Did I really understand what the person was saying to me?  Was she trying to be helpful or mean?  What else could she have meant?

Learning to express yourself whether in your family or not is something that should have started there, and I covered how to do this on my Aging Gracefully page.

Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.     

Emma Thompson

What is a healthy disagreement?Healthy Disagreement.  Disagreement does not mean hate, does not mean disrespect, and does not mean superiority.  People who chose to look at disagreement in this manner are close minded, to say the least, and a person with a highly developed sense of self does not view disagreement in this manner. This is a problem with communication.   If you have trouble communicating, practice disagreement by giving and receiving it, by learning how not to overreact to it and by understanding that disagreement is extremely healthy. If you discontinue relationships because of disagreement and an inability to communicate, you have committed a most egregious act to yourself and to others.  You have put others on the spot, causing them to be fearful around you.  We all need to be willing to say, “We can agree that we disagree” and move forward.  But sometimes it is just not that simple.

So, what are some good ways to disagree without offending someone?

Listen and make sure you understand what they are saying first.  Paraphrase by repeating back to a person what you understood him or her to say.  “Let me see if I understand…”    Listening shows respect, love, and the desire to want to understand what another person is thinking.

Be prepared with knowledge of the situation and the facts surrounding it.  This might require a little work on your part, like researching or talking to other people first to get an even better opinion.

Always lend credence to the other person.  Telling them that they don’t know what they are talking about is a good way to bring about harm. You have lost without going further.

Don’t yell and scream.  Calmly explain why you disagree and state that you have a different way of looking at it.

Both parties should either be sitting down or standing up unless one is in a position of authority.  Even if someone is in a position of authority, it helps to keep things on an even keel.  If you are the one initiating the conversation it is easier to assume the position the other person has.

Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.  Rather than say, “You did such and such,” say “I understand that you want to…” or “I wanted to express…” or “I feel…” “I know you meant well, but I…” or “I think differently about…”  That is your way of taking responsibility without accusing the other person of wrongful doing or thinking.  He may be right, or wrong, or just simply different!

Consider the results of immediate disagreement.  If you cannot freely communicate with another without fear of reprisal, be aware of this and consider what your response might be to reduce the friction.  Thinking ahead can save the situation if the other party gets upset.  “Maybe we need to have this conversation another time.” “I feel bad about upsetting you, but I think I am entitled to an opinion.”  This can be soothing to the other person and a way to gain agreement for you to continue.  Some people consider disagreement as immediate dislike for their person.  You are disagreeing with an idea, leaving the person intact.



Armed with the knowledge that you can achieve the above results, you should be feeling very good about yourself right now. Practicing it will help you to feel more confident and will engender the respect you deserve.  Continue to set boundaries, when people don’t appear to know that you have them, and you will sail through abusive situations.  If you absolutely cannot achieve resolution with a particular person who continues to be a thorn in your side, it is okay to live your life without that person.  You will be so much better off.

“There’s folks you just don’t need. You’re better off without em. Your life is just a little better because they ain’t in it.”
William Gay

Please leave your thoughts in the Comments Section.  I would like to know if you liked the article and what suggestions you have for improving it.