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3 reasons to hold onto positive vibes, even when you've hit rock bottom

It's easy to smile when things are good. But what about when life gets hard and everyday's a struggle? Here's why positive vibes are worth holding onto.

It's easy to be positive when things are good. When life gets turned upside down, when nothing seems to go right, and when everyday's a struggle… much harder. Like a lot harder! But as much as I hate to admit it, those positive vibes have some serious power. And can be the “make or break” when life is tough. Too bad it’s during those times that it’s the hardest to smile! But you know, I really don't think positivity is just about smiling. And I’ll admit, it’s not always the positivity within myself that gets me through hard times either. Because quite honestly, there are times when the only positive thing I have to say about the day is, “Thank goodness it’s over!”

So why does a positive attitude seem to be the key to turning our hard times into powerful growing experiences?

This past pregnancy was a rough one. Heterotopic pregnancy, rough recovery, bed rest, selling our house, and all the minor struggles in between. Truly incredible that our little miracle baby was just that… a miracle. Healthy. Beautiful. Close to perfect. Bringing our little Naomi home with us felt like the moment of triumph. We’d overcome so many obstacles to get to this point and now we were going home. All four of us healthy and happy. Whew! We made it!

The truth is (fortunately and unfortunately), there’s always more to learn. I just wasn’t expecting another major medical ordeal so soon. Our baby was only three weeks old when a week of unexplained pain had sent me to get another ultrasound. I drove home from the appointment in total unbelief.

Long story short… there was some kind of mass still in my uterus - probably placenta or blood clot - and it needed to come out before it caused some real problems. Surgery was scheduled for two days later. Seriously?! It felt like deja vu. Except for this time I had two days to prepare, rather than 20 minutes (not sure which is better). If I hadn't been so scared out of my mind to have another surgery I would have laughed.

Past the immediate shock and after a few phone calls for some needed reassurance, I sent out positive vibes. “Everything will be fine. Just an ‘in and out procedure.’ No big deal.” I must have been holding onto the hope that these positive vibes held enough energy to will it to happen. With each bit of positivity, I reassured myself. “Everything will be fine.” I reassured my sweet husband. “Everything will be fine.”

However, our experiences have taught us to expect the worst... or at least not the best. And despite all the optimism I had talked myself into having, the best case scenario definitely wasn’t meant to be. A 30 minute procedure turned into a 3 hour surgery involving 3 surgeons and 4 new, unplanned incisions on my stomach. They had unintentionally perforated my uterus and had to do extensive checking to make sure that was the only perforation that had happened.

A hole in my uterus wasn’t good but miraculously enough, they’d missed my bowels and averted more disasters than one. I honestly don’t even remember how I felt or what went through my mind when I woke up in a hospital room and my husband explained to me what had happened and that we wouldn’t be going home that day after all. What I do remember is my mom walking into the hospital room shortly after.

The only thing I could say through my tears was, “It didn’t work.” I said it over and over again. Those positive vibes and all that optimism hadn’t done anything. Complications still came. We were in the middle of another unexpected hospital stay. And I had yet another long road of recovery ahead of me. Later that night, the surgeon came in. He took the time to talk everything over with us again - what had happened, how it would affect us in the future, and how amazed he was that nothing more had gone wrong after the perforation had happened. Then he turned to me, close to tears, “I’m so sorry.”

My bruised IV’d hand reached for his, and we both cried as I made him promise me he wouldn’t feel guilty about what had happened. I'd cried so many tears with the shock of this unexpected complication, yet it was so easy to give him reassurance. This was the man who had saved my life nine months earlier during another surgery, who I trusted and knew he’d done his best.

I guess positive vibes are sometimes easier to give to others than they are to give to yourself.

It took four more days in the hospital to get past some additional complications before I was sent home. I wish I could say it was all uphill from there, but it wasn’t. What came next was another major complication (enough to write an entire blog post on... maybe someday I'll be ready to write about it).

Needless to say, it took me weeks to be healthy and strong enough to be home alone taking care of my two kids. At first I felt so guilty for needing help from people who had already given so much. But I learned that sometimes the true power of positivity comes through accepting the positive vibes of others and allowing them to soak into your being - accepting love and help without letting guilt or resentment diminish their influence. And realizing that regardless of your circumstances, there are people you have the ability to touch and help, and that you’re surrounded by people that can do the same thing for you.

Maybe an upbeat attitude and optimistic outlook can't change reality, but positivity can shape our experience for the better.

  1. Because accepting the positive vibes of others doesn't make our tears vanish, but it helps us smile through the tears.
  2. Because sending out positive vibes to others, even when you feel you have none to give, provide proof that there’s positivity still within you, underneath all the hurt or sad.
  3. And because, as crazy as it sounds, acting as if you’re positive is sometimes what it takes to turn the hope and the smile from pretend to genuine.
Positivity is rarely carefree happiness, but rather the difference between feeling despair, discouragement, and doubt and being overpowered by it.

More on positive vibes:

Let love in - a note on receiving with grace - when it feels harder to accept than to give

Brighten someone's day (in 9 words or less) - you'll feel brighter too!

When you know you should feel grateful... but you don't - on finding positivity within you when there doesn't seem to be any left

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