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What does that mean? I struggled with that thought after speaking with a counselor to whom I had posed the question: If I was your client and you could tell me ONLY ONE THING to help me change my life, what would that ONE THING be?

What was my picture? Did I see myself content, with fulfilling work, loving and being loved, having my needs met and experiencing the joy of meeting the needs of others? Did I see myself enjoying life, being surrounded by friends and loved ones?  OR did I see myself as depressed, unfulfilled, un-loved and

un-loving, with a shortage of even basic need supply draining my life, my happiness and influencing all of my relationships.

We can all answer those questions pretty quickly because we live daily with the “fruit” of our picture. If the picture that we carry in our heart and mind is sweet and filled with good things, for the most part, so will be the painting of our life. If the picture that we carry in our heart and mind is ugly and filled with bitterness, for the most part, so will be the painting of our life.

Don’t get me wrong. I do realize and have experienced the reality of bad things happening to good people. Life, in itself, is not always, controllable.  Sometimes things happen which hurt us so much that we consciously – or subconsciously want to give up, to implode, to lie down and die quietly because we are not sure we have the courage to face another day – especially if it is like the one we are presently trying to make it through.

How do we make it through black, hurtful days?

First and foremost, we MUST SEE ourselves making it through them.  We must nurture a picture of walking out of the darkness and into the light.  We must nurture a picture of the sun rising on a NEW DAY. We must remind ourselves that every morning is a new morning, a blank canvas, on which we can paint any picture we want; then realize that it truly is ONLY US who can paint that picture.  Sure, in most cases, others are involved and always will be involved.  Still, you and I are ultimately responsible for the knowledge which we gain or do not gain and the choices which we make for our lives.

If we choose to see ourselves as lowly, unlovely victims for the whole of our lives, a victim is what we will be.

The very act of our holding onto that particular picture of ourselves will re-create similar scenarios over and over again for as long as we live. In this scenario, how could we ever escape depression, heartache, grief, and retain a strong will to live?

If we choose to see ourselves victimized, but are absolutely unwilling to let that victimization define us, then and only then, will we begin to overcome the depression, the low self-esteem, the feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and rejection (whether true or merely perceived) that accompany the victim’s picture.

From here, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel, a way to a better life, and because we can see it, we will slowly, but surely begin to make choices which are congruent with that picture. These better choices, one at a time, will infuse our life with a better “fruit”.  As they accumulate, they will produce a more lovely world for us to live in, a more beautiful picture.

It will follow, then, as we become more and more able to see ourselves as loved and loving, creating rather than destroying; nurturing and being nurtured rather than poisoning and being poisoned; that our lives and love, our world, will expand and become more beautiful than it was, or ever could have been, had we not made the choice to change our picture and change our life.