As Printed on iCan ONLINE, the Leading Disability Community:

Coping strategies: Unitarian Universalist
Originally posted in 2000

We should cope with our circumstances because life can be wonderful and probably the one and only life we'll have (at least the only one we know of now). We do have control over our experience in this world and can help our experience by thinking positively and then doing what we need to do to make our life more tolerable and enjoyable.

Realize that you were created (by God, the Great Creator, Mother Earth, or whatever) with special gifts and talents, besides a special challenge, and you need to find these and use them to your advantage to give your life meaning.

Hope for the future - you may find new ways of expressing yourself, using your gifts and talents; there may be new inventions and medicines that could make life more tolerable and enjoyable for you. There are so many possibilities in this life - you can never experience them all - learn everything there is to learn, meet all the interesting people, etc.

Life can be its own reward, but if we need more than that, no matter what your religion you can have hope for the afterlife. Even if you're not sure of Heaven or reincarnation or some similar experience, the afterlife for an atheist is what they've shared with others. Every life a person touches has meaning. People remember the smallest things - even if they don't remember your name, they may remember the smile that brightened their day, your ability to have courage and hope that gave them courage and hope during a hard time (and they in turn could be passing it on to others.) Whatever your gifts and talents, they could effect people in a way that can remain for many lifetimes.

Additions: Quotes that can inspire (they may not all work for you, but maybe one or two will):

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart, I can find a quiet assurance, an inner peace, in the core of my being. - Paul Beattie (Unitarian Universalist minister)

A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself. - May Sarton (Unitarian Universalist poet)

I know a 'please', a 'thank you', and a smile will take me far;
I know that I am you and you are me and we are one;
I know that who i am is numbered in each grain of sand;
I know that I've been blessed, again and over again. — Ysaye Maria Barnwell (Unitarian Universalist singer)

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death. - Robert Fulghum (Unitarian Universalist minister & author)

That Creation is too grand, complex, and mysterious to be captured in a narrow creed.
That is why we cherish individual freedom of belief. At the same time our convictions lead us to other affirmations . . .
That the blessings of life are available to everyone, not just the Chosen or the Saved;
That Creation itself is Holy -- the earth and all its creatures, the stars in all their glory;
That the Sacred or Divine, the Precious and Profound, are made evident not in the miraculous or supernatural but in the simple and the everyday;
That human beings, joined in collaboration with the gifts of grace, are responsible for the planet and its future;
That every one of us is held in Creation's hand -- a part of the interdependent cosmic web -- and hence strangers need not be enemies;
That no one is saved until we All are saved, where All means the whole of Creation;
That the paradox of life is to love it all the more even though we ultimately lose it. - William Schultz (Unitarian Universalist minister & former President of the Unitarian Universalist Association)

“Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by its breathtaking moments.” - Michael Vance, speaker and chairperson of Creative Thinking Association (not a UU, but still a great quote)

Joyce Dowling
an agnostic Unitarian Universalist
Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church
7400 Temple Hill Rd.
Camp Springs, MD 20748

Also, check out the Get Inspired Project which I participated in as #25.

You may also be interested in these writings.: Peace Thoughts | Saved by My UU Faith | Confessions of an Introvert | Social Justice Work - My motivation and overcoming problems

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