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Bliss Life

be bold. be brave. be remembered.

Madeline’s Guide to Finding Opportunity in Adversity

Sep 16, 2019 11:51AM ● By Kristy Mc Lean
“It is a privilege and an honor to represent Asheville in the Miss North Carolina pageant this November. As I roll onto that stage as the first wheelchair user to compete in a Miss USA pageant, I will wear my Miss Asheville sash with gratitude and pride. Thank you, Asheville, for giving me the support system and the safety net that carried me as I overcame countless obstacles and faced my fears head on. You will always have my heart as I travel the world seeking new, bold, boundless adventures.” - Madeline Delp

“My mindset about what I could and could not do was becoming more of a disability than my injury ever was.”

Wheelchair user or not, we all have some sort of disability in our lives, something that literally disables us from reaching our fullest potential. No injury, no lack of money, no lack of family support, or any other past hurt can stop you from reaching your fullest potential and living an amazing life.

Follow these step to break away from the mental and emotional bounds that are holding you back. Fears, doubts, and self-destructive thoughts will be replaced by a positive attitude, gratitude for your life, and the courage to pursue your dreams and goals.

Step 1 –Acknowledge and Overcome the Pain from Your Past

Whether we want to admit it or not, one of our biggest bounds is past experience. It can be very easy to hide from the pain of the past and not deal with it.

It is so crucial to acknowledge the pain that you’re going through and get it out!

First, write down everything you’re feeling. You may not even realize the emotional scars and resulting blocks they have created in your life until you sit down to write. Write whatever comes to mind. If that’s pain, betrayal, sadness…write it down on paper.

This helps you acknowledge that it’s ok to feel that way, it’s normal. Then, when you have flushed out some of this pain and resentment on paper – talk about it with someone you trust. A friend or loved one is great if you feel safe and uninhibited with them, but don’t be afraid to go to therapy. I highly recommend everyone see a psychologist periodically for optimum mental health.

Once you get these emotions off your chest, a weight lifted from your soul and you will be ready to begin the healing process.

Step 2 - Let Go of Your Regrets

Now, Being the humans that we are, we make mistakes on a daily basis. We also harbor guilt and regret for things that weren.t even our own fault. It would be really easy for me to sit and wallow in the what ifs. But, you simply cannot let yourself stay in that mindset because it will just eat you alive.

If you focus on the lack of something in your life, then that’s all you will continue to feel.

Instead, focus on the good that you want to attract in your life, identify your goals, and make a plan for tackling them one at a time. But, first, you have to give yourself permission to let all of the regret, all of the negativity, all of the past transgressions go. Just let them go.

The fact is you can’t do anything about the past. It’s over. It’s done. All you have is the present. Right now…today. TODAY is your chance to fix those, to change your life. TODAY is your chance to stop the cycle.


Step 3 - Forgive Those Who Have Harmed You

Now, this is the hard one. You have to actually forgive the people who have hurt you in your past.

Let’s be honest, people can do some pretty hideous, atrocious things to each other. And to protect ourselves we build up these walls; anger, hatred, vengeance toward these people. We think that if we forgive them then we accept it, that somehow what they did was ok. But it’s not that at all.

You can acknowledge that what they did was very wrong but then try saying this:

 “I’m going to let go of these negative emotions I have toward them and instead of wishing them any ill will, I’m going to wish them good and hope that they can change for the better. If they do or don’t that’s none of my business but I’m going to forgive and forget.”

Remember, forgiveness doesn’t need to make you a doormat. I’ve had several people in my life, who I was very close to, who did some pretty horrible things to me. While I was able to find the strength to forgive them, I still had to keep boundaries with that person to make sure that their toxic spirit couldn’t continue to hurt me in my life. It’s absolutely ok to do that – everyone needs boundaries and you have to make a conscious decision to not let negativity into your life.

Step 4 - GRATITUDE! Draw Your Awareness to the Good in Your Life

Gratitude is so essential to overcoming pain from your past. Gratitude basically says, “I’m going to focus on the good of the present instead of the pain from my past.” Gratitude helps you see that your past doesn’t have the power to curse your happiness in the present.

My mom and I used to play this little game right after our car accident, during the time when we were just really, really struggling. We would challenge each other, for X amount of minutes, we had to list off everything that we could think of that we were grateful for – ranging from serious to silly, from the fact that we had companionship in each other to toilet paper and tortillas. It didn’t matter how hard our day had been or what we were going through, we would always manage to end up laughing and feeling better. This taught me that while what I was going through was very difficult, I still had to look at everything in my life that I was thankful for and realize that I am still blessed...I deserve to experience joy. Play this game with your loved ones, or at the very least, start a note in your smartphone or keep a notebook and label it “I am grateful for…” then every day write down at least 3 things that you are thankful for. You will have an overall attitude of gratitude in no time, and you will be on your way to attracting positivity and manifesting opportunity.

Manifesting Opportunity - Letting Go of the Past Clears the Path

I don’t want to mislead you, this process will not happen overnight. It takes time. However, as you go through these steps, put in the hard work, and truly begin to heal, you’ll inevitably develop a sense of gratitude for the very thing that once weighed you down.

Imagine what it would feel like to take that pit in your stomach and just fill it with gratitude, joy and happy thoughts, new friendships, and love.

Or how about that lump in your throat? Just melt it away the with the warmth of forgiveness and the realization that you really can draw a line in the sand and start fresh today. Your new attitude of gratitude begins NOW!