Will, when used to express our desire, freedom to choose and willingness is a gift. In grief, or when trying to overcome any adversity, it gives us a more positive outlook on life. On our relationships. On our potential and possibilities.
Having the will to take action is related to our being eager and ready for whatever we want to come our way. To change what we are no longer satisfied with in life. To feel alive and create new dreams when we’ve lost former ones or had none at all. To seize opportunities.
Possessing will is also associated with our needing to feel some amount of cheerfulness. Which may be the reason people struggle to have or maintain the will to push through their difficulties and latch on to something more than just their pain.
What if we aren’t cheerful by nature?
So, what happens when cheerfulness is not an inherent part of our nature (it’s possible people with a cheerful disposition can recover more quickly from their challenges). Or, when we are suffering with a pain that is not so easy to overcome? How can we possibly will ourselves to cheerfully do anything more than just survive? What if we just aren’t cheerful by nature?
When we are struggling with the loss of a loved one or feeling crushed by some other life circumstance (all struggle produces its own type of grief), it is normal to feel incapable of diving into all of our potential and embracing all of what we know deep down we can really do. Especially when we have been experiencing all sorts of starts and stops from our inability to grab the world by its tail and conquer any self-sabotaging emotions. This is especially true for those of us who used to take the world by storm and now no longer can.
Pondering this in my own life to overcome the loss of my daughter, I have more recently been contemplating the power of will. Where it comes from and what makes any of us who can and do keep at whatever is pushing us, to move forward?
I’ve discovered that any will we may possess to make changes in our life first must serve the changes we want for our life. Now, while this may sound like a no-brainer, you may be surprised at how little people may think about what they really want and have sufficient interest in to design a plan to get there. It’s hard enough to do this without struggle. It can feel nearly impossible when we’ve become overwhelmed by it.
How to start making change
To start making any change in our life where there has been or still is any degree of hardship, the focus must remain not on what we believe others expect of us or even what we may be demanding of ourselves that isn’t reasonable. Change must come from what we can feel our heart telling us we need, what we must do and know we can handle. Including any fallout that can sometimes be the result of choosing what we want for our life versus sticking with the status quo.
Having the will to make positive life changes is always the result of us choosing to take that next step, even when we don’t know where it’s leading us. Sometimes it means we must redefine our relationships to save or abandon them. Or, let go of what we think we want for what we know would be better for us.
Having will requires we are always honest with ourselves and others in our life about who we are, what we need and want to become, and what they can expect of this new and improved version of us. It requires that we always take responsibility for what we want to experience in our life, regardless of what others are doing in their own. The power of will means we find the courage to be brave so that we can grow and experience new heights in our life, even when we don’t want to or believe that we can.
What about when we are struggling?
When we are ready to make life changes, somehow, we do find the will and the way. When we are struggling and change feels unattainable, it’s best to remove the pressure and expectations we feel to do, be or think about things differently than what we can today. It’s easier to think about change as those small steps we know we can take that are in the best interests of our healing.
It’s not possible to stay completely stagnant in pain. Behind every act of will lies the power we all have to create something new.
While it is true that all pain that feels unbearable to overcome should not be ignored, we all can choose to learn to go on living differently. To do this, it is imperative we know what we are trying to overcome. Finding the will within us to change is an almost automatic response that every sufferer will acquire when they desire to feel better and want more for their life.
Though admittedly, it takes time to plan and follow through with change given all the starts and stops, I am an eternal optimist that with sufficient will we can do anything. Including heal.
Feature Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash; “I can’t even” Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash; White mug Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash (text added by Vonne Solis)