Living your own life well during hard times isn’t easy.
Gustavo Galvez, a medical student in Mexico, had to dig deep when he found himself suddenly arrested for a capital offense just a couple of years ago.
He certainly hadn’t intended to commit any crime. He just wanted to make enough money to study overseas. So he sold an old Winchester rifle to an acquaintance in the neighborhood. He was young and wasn’t aware that this is a federal crime in Mexico.
Yet he found himself suddenly facing 10-15 years in Mexican prison. In his own words, Mexican prisons have a reputation for being dangerous and unjust.
Having gone through his time in prison, Gustavo transcended a very difficult time. He shares eight strategies you can apply for living your own life well in the face of adversity.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon
Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared. ~Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
Decide, today, to face life courageously. As a Christian, I find courage in my God, like David in I Samuel 30:6.
Gustavo decided to be brave.
When we take actions of courage, even though we’re terrified, we grow.
Accept terror. Accept fear. But don’t give in to it.
Find courage by reading Tess Marshall’s blog, The Bold Life Blog: Inspiration for Fearless Living.
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism [or any other situation/condition], I could not stay sober [or serene]; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes. Alcoholics Anonymous, page 449.
Reality is the unvarnished truth of what is going on in life now.
We human beings go into denial when we seek to defend ourselves from pain. But the sooner we can accept the truth of reality, the more quickly we can move into problem-solving and solutions to help us work with reality instead of trying to ignore it.
Are you trying to escape realities in your life? Drinking, drugs, entertainment, binge eating can all be forms of escape. Resolve to face and accept reality as your friend, not your foe.
There are positive and negative aspects in every situation.
Which aspects are you paying attention to?
Ask yourself the right questions to unlock the opportunities in your circumstances.
Journaling is a powerful way of excavating the significance of your own stories and experiences. It’s a very effective way of coaxing out thoughts, questions, and insights into your patterns of behavior. LaRae Quy
There is something about writing things down that triggers learning, acceptance, and serenity.
Gustavo Galvez wrote every single day, through the darkest days of his imprisonment.
Journal online or offline daily.
Record the lessons you’re learning in the midst of adversity.
Here’s an article from Michael Hyatt, 7 Benefits of Keeping A Daily Journal , to help you get started.
Gustavo’s father visited him shortly after Gustavo started his prison sentence. He told his son, “I’m not going to tell you what to feel or think. You may be angry at God, angry at the government, bitter, sad, scared. But whatever you do, Never Surrender.”
I recently read a powerful book written for kids who are grieving, Don’t Despair on Thursdays. All of us going through grief will have grief attacks, when we’re overcome with sadness, anger, and raw nerve endings. When those attacks come, Dr. Moser suggests, we can allow ourselves to feel the grief. The key, however, is not to despair. Despair means, literally, loss of hope.
Gustavo shared that in prison, suicide was the ultimate solution to despair. His father was imploring him not to surrender to despair. Gustavo wrestled with his decision, but chose to live, no matter what. After making that decision, he was filled with a determination to keep on living well.
Have you decided you will never surrender to despair, no matter how hard life gets? Here is an international suicide hotline resource you can rely on anytime you are tempted to give in to despair.
Do What It Takes
Gustavo’s imprisonment nearly immobilized his mother. But she resolved to do whatever it took to get her son out of prison. Every single day she did something to argue her son’s case. Whenever his lawyer needed another piece of information or a call to another government department, she did it.
We can feel we are running through jello when facing hard times. But we can do what it takes, one day at a time, to live our lives well.
What habits are you developing to serve you well when life gets hard? Do you have a morning quiet time? Are you reading spiritual material? Are you cultivating your relationships? Are you staying physically fit? Are you balancing your checkbook? Do you eat nutritious food?
Choose How To See The Situation
Two men look out through the same bars: One sees the mud, and one the stars Frederick Langbridge
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. The Apostle Paul, I Corinthians 9: 24-27.
Tony Robbins taught me the importance of choosing metaphors that help me see life constructively.
You can see life as a prison, or you can choose to see life as an adventure, for example.
Choose constructive metaphors for your life today.
Here And Now
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]? Jesus Christ, Matthew 6: 25-34, the Bible.
Today is the only day we have.
Life is here and now.
When we can be fully attentive to the wonder of life around us, we have discovered the secret of living life now.
Learn how to deal with anxiety and worry. Choose to enjoy living life in the present.
This is the video that inspired this post. Enjoy!photo credit: Kelly Mari