Is your life perfect? That’s a trick question—nobody’s can be. Everybody has some issues. Whether you’ve got a little chubby, your bank account’s empty, your kids smart-mouth you or the dog’s running riot, you’re in good company. We’ve all been there, done that, and collected the scars and fines (me, probably more than most people).
- STOP, AND STEP BACK: When your world is full of sound and fury, it’s impossible to get a grip on reality. Get right away from the conflict zone, if only for a few minutes. You need to clear your mind. Then take a long, cool look at the situation. Accept your part in it, then work on finding a way out. You eat too much? Then don’t shop when you’re hungry, stop buying junk food, and join a slimming class. Money runs through your hands like water? Check every line on your bank statement, and make sure you’re only paying out on necessities. Open a diplomatic dialogue with your angry kids—it’s the first step in resolving any war. Book yourself and your dog into training classes. There is always a solution. For years, I was subjected to violence of both the domestic and psychological kind. I kidded myself that the person involved would change. It was only when the bully started on my child that I realised they never would. Violent people grovel and promise things will be different next time. They might truly believe they mean it, but that feeling never lasts for them. It passes, and they start inflicting pain again. When that simple truth became clear to me, this worm turned. From that moment on, my life started to get better. It was tough to begin with, almost impossibly so, but I made it, and so can you.
- FIND HELP: Victims of DV need to grit their teeth and talk to their doctor. Patient confidentiality will keep you safe, and get you the help you need. Whatever your problem, know that you can regain control of your life. That’s the key to making things better. You’ll find it hard to believe, but no one’s troubles are unique. Medical practitioners, The Samaritans, and Citizens Advice Bureau spend lots of time talking to people with exactly your problem. That’s the thing—when we keep things bottled up, it isolates us. Silence is the enemy of a quiet mind.
- TAKE ACTION: once you’ve got the support of professionals (and with luck, those closest to you), you can start to turn your life around. You have the power to influence your future. Believe in it, and use it. Be very clear about your own shortcomings and accept responsibility for them, but always be careful that in doing so, you don’t become a victim. The words of Eleanor Roosevelt are a powerful reminder; “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”