Category Archives: Reflections

How To Decide When To Let Go

Are You Hanging On Too Long?

by Wendy Keller

Yesterday, my business consultant – a man whose wisdom I admire – suggested I simply stop trying to force something to work in my company. This “something” has worked a little bit, now and then, partially, with enormous effort, for almost no profit, for two years.

Now, I come from a long line of stubborn people. In my family, we will just keep chipping away at something until we force it to go our way.  But in the case of the business effort I was making, it was draining resources – energy, attention, money – and giving me close to nothing in return. I don’t believe in quitting, but in this case, that belief was hurting me.   DSC_03511

Is there something in your life that any rational, calm person would tell you to let go of?

The instant the consultant said that, I felt an incredible lightness and relief.  After two years, I’m free of the struggle and I feel GREAT! When I faced the truth squarely, I had to admit it just wasn’t working despite everything I had been trying.I remember I felt the same feeling once I’d finally made the decision to get a divorce.

I remember the same feeling when I let go of trying to control my daughter’s life choices after she turned 18.

In our culture, we encourage people to “tie a knot and hang on” and to stick with it.  That is useful advice in many situations.  But somewhere deep inside, we all know that sometimes, it’s smarter to let go and begin anew.

  • The career you hate that isn’t paying you what you deserve
  • The relationship that hasn’t worked for years
  • The doctor or therapist you’ve been seeing who isn’t helping you feel better
  • The small business that’s still struggling all these years later
  • The parents or children who cause you more misery than peace
  • The depressing place you’re living
  • The part of the country you live in
  • The amount of work it takes to keep up your lifestyle
  • Something else

“Don’t Quit!” is a great credo to live by.  But sometimes, we are so blinded by it that we can’t see the facts.  My consultant pointed out that perhaps in the future, when I have come up with a better way of marketing the business component I gave up, I might try it again. Or maybe I won’t.

Here are 5 questions to ask to help you decide if it’s time to quit or not:

  1. How much energy does this situation drain from me and my quality of life?
  2. Am I so lost in the drama of it that I can’t be rational anymore? (If so, get a qualified outsider’s perspective – and seriously evaluate their perspective!)
  3. Have I become so overwhelmed I’m not able to be clear about this or other parts of my life right now?
  4. Am I working a definite, focused plan toward the resolution of this matter? (And can you see measurable progress?)
  5. In my heart of hearts, do I believe things are getting better?

If something’s not working in your life, and you keep doing your very best to make it work, chances are your best isn’t good enough.  You need some allies, some support, some knowledge or perspective that you don’t have right now. Find a way to get help – a clergyperson, a therapist, a book, a workshop, something.  It isn’t fair to yourself or the people who love to you to struggle if there’s a way to fix things.

If you knew how to make it better, it would be by now.  Or at least improving visibly.

Only you can decide if you should keep struggling or let go, but get an objective perspective and then making the tough decision might be the best thing you can do for all concerned.  Be brave enough to let go.


Wendy Keller, author

Wendy Keller writes and speaks about healing, inner strength and surviving. People have applauded, thankful and blessed by her hourlong webinars. Join them here:  Stop Hurting and Start Healing

3 Steps To Heal A Broken Heart

How to Get Over Getting Dumped by Someone You Love

by Wendy Keller

I had dinner recently with a girlfriend whose boyfriend of 2.5 years just dumped her. To her, the decision was completely out of the blue. Now she’s wondering if he’s already with someone else. (I doubt it.) She wishes he would just tell her why. (He has.) She asks me when she’ll stop crying. (No one knows, but likely sooner than she thinks.)

In the early stages of being dumped, the only thing you can do is pour over your feelings. Talk about it to friends. Write about your feelings. Go through the roller coaster. Cry a lot. Express grief, sadness, anger, confusion – all that stuff. That’s normal. That’s healthy. But the key word… in that string of typical reactions is “grief.”broken-heart-with-staples

Losing someone you love is like a death, except you know that person is still alive…and has the potential to be happy with someone besides you. So it’s grief with a painful twist. Luckily, there are some proven ways to deal with grief. After the initial roiling emotions subside a little…

Try the following 3 steps to help you get your self back together:

1. Take out a sheet of paper and make a good ol’ pros and cons list. Accurately list everything you loved and didn’t love so much about the person. Be realistic – don’t make them a demon or an angel. Add to it from day to day, as you think of more things. Do the same for yourself. What were the pros and cons you brought to the relationship? And make a third list for the relationship itself. This process will help you get your head clearer.

2. Every Sunday for the next 4 Sundays, take time to hand-write a letter to this person. Make sure to date it – but DO NOT send it, no matter how tempting it is. (Even if you did lure them back now, would you really want them? Probably not really. And you’ll look pathetic. It takes a lot of energy to break up with someone – they wouldn’t have done it if they weren’t serious.) Tell them how you’re feeling, exactly what you’re feeling and why. End each letter with the simple words, “I release you. I release myself. Good bye.” Sign each one. On the 5th Sunday, go back and re-read them in order. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve healed and how much insight you’ve gained into the relationship! (Insight you can apply to your next romance.)

3. Invest in something you love. Remember that old hobby you had? The friends you’ve neglected? The family you haven’t visited in forever? Remember how you used to like to lie in your hammock and read a book or go shoot some hoops in the park? Have you always wanted to take a watercolor class but there was never enough time? Go ahead. Now’s your big chance. Even if you have to stop every two pages of your book to dry your teary eyes, do it anyway. Life can be rich, full and delightful with or without a partner – with or without that partner. But you have to put in the effort. You can’t just sit home and mope.

Using these simple 3 steps and giving yourself time to feel and heal is the classic best recipe for recovering from being dumped. And as all your friends will tell you – you will survive this and you will find love again.

Sending you a big hug as you go through this experience.




Wendy Keller, author

Wendy Keller writes and speaks about healing, inner strength and surviving. People have applauded, thankful and blessed by her hourlong webinars. Join them here:  Stop Hurting and Start Healing


7 Proven Steps to Beat Back Depression

by Wendy Keller, author, blogger, friend

When you set a goal and move toward it, even if it is only baby steps, you give yourself a “small success.”  Each small success gives you a little booster shot of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in your brain. You really can use the power of “Small Successes” to help yourself feel better.

Small successes could include:

  • Taking your vitamins today
  • Saying no to a second helping
  • Summoning the energy to go for a stroll or even to exercise
  • Ticking one task off your to-do list

Here are 7 quick things you can do regularly to give yourself the “small success” feeling:

1.  Clean and organize your home.  You can start with just one part of one area. For instance, if you determine to tackle the bathroom, start with your tub.  Scrub it until it is shining.  A clean, fresh place to live enlivens your spirit and gives you a sense of deep satisfaction.

2.  Stand up straight.  Sounds silly but just walking with your head held high, as if you had all the confidence in the world, can “trick” your body into feeling good about you.  Square your shoulders, imagine that your vertebrae are a string of beads and you want to keep them perfectly straight by pulling up on an imaginary string that comes from the top of your head.  Posture dramatically influences breathing, mood and movement.

3.  Eat something healthy – and refuse just one thing “bad.”  Instead of chips, choose an apple.  In lieu of chocolate, have a yogurt.  Making just one switch can begin healthier habits, and in that first moment of choice, cause you to feel powerfully happier.

4.  Finish a task.  Just do it now.  Do you have a pile of laundry that you never get around to folding?  Dishes that you never seem to slip into the dishwasher?  A long email you just have to read and respond to?  Make a game of it!  Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and see how much you can get done in the time allotted.

5.  Tell someone something positive about themselves.  Better yet, compliment 3 people. Pick 1 person you love, 1 person you suspect is sad or depressed, and 1 stranger.  Give each person a sincere, from-the-heart compliment and then pause for a moment to listen to their response.  Watch how your kind words affect them.  Reflect on how giving yourself compliments instead of criticism might affect you.

6.  Do something physical.  You don’t have to join a gym to start taking care of your body.  When we move our bodies, neuro-chemicals get released that change mood. All you have to do is get your heart rate to go up a little. Start with 10 Jumping Jacks. Move a little, mood increases a little.Move a lot, mood increases a lot.

7.  Draw.  Even if you can’t draw, get you kid’s box of crayons, some markers or even just a pen or pencil. Copy a pleasant scene, a famous painting, a fish, a flower, your child’s school picture.  You can throw it away when you’re done if you want to, but something about the physical act of concentrating your eyes, brain and hands on drawing lets your body, mind and spirit take a break from feeling sad.

These 7 strategies will help you chip away at depression, PTSD, sadness and a general lack of vitality.  Try ‘em and you’ll see…you have the power to chip away at your negative state and move toward a positive one…starting today.




Wendy Keller, author

Wendy Keller writes and speaks about healing, inner strength and surviving. People have applauded, thankful and blessed by her hourlong webinars. Join them here:  Stop Hurting and Start Healing


Seven Steps To Handle Sad Days

What to Do When You’re Feeling blue.


Everyone has sad, blue days sometimes. When the burdens of life pile up, or you’re exhausted from dealing with some seemingly-never-ending crisis, feeling blue is normal.

Here are some strategies and tips for coping with those kinds of days and putting yourself into a sunnier disposition:

1. Know that they happen to everyone. Nobody is cheery, upbeat and happy all the time, even if you’ve never seen them a little bit down.

2. Give yourself a break. It’s OK to not be Little Miss Sunshine 24/7. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re not “bad” or “weak”. But sad feelings that go on all day, or day after day, might mean you have depression. For that, try the techniques offered here and then seek medical attention.

3. Do a secret nice thing for yourself. You don’t have to tell anyone. You don’t have to involve anyone. It doesn’t have to cost money or even take much time. But do something just a tiny bit different, a tiny bit more self-loving, a tiny bit more self-caring. Some examples of what I do for myself when I’m feeling blue: Give myself an extra 10 minutes in a hot shower; take a walk in the garden in the middle of the work day; make myself a cup of tea; buy myself a bouquet of my favorite flowers; take extra time putting on my makeup and wear an outfit I know makes me look good; spend 15 minutes reading a book I love; or calling a friend.

4. Take a few deep breaths and realize that nothing ever stays the same. We ALL want the good things in life to last forever, and the bad things to go away – or not happen at all. The only real guarantee is change. If it’s bad, it will get good. If it’s good, well…you know already. This too shall pass.

5. Reach out to someone else. Sounds so incredibly dumb, but most of us know someone who is also going through a rough time. A divorce, a difficult child, a difficult life. Pick up the phone or sit down and write an email or a card. Showing compassion toward someone else is an amazing way to lift your own mood. I’ve no idea why this works, but it does.


6. Do One Thing Differently. Break your own routine. If you usually take the freeway, take a side street. If you usually go to lunch with the gang, go alone or eat at your desk. If you usually dress conservatively, wear something bold. If you usually cook dinner, order in. Why this works is fascinating: whenever we break our routine, our brain ruts get shaken up a tiny bit. They panic a little bit, like “Hey! What’s happening here?” And that shift in focus might be just enough to make you literally forget you’re feeling blue!

7. The 60 Second Homework Assignment. The effectiveness of this technique will freak you out! Take a sheet of paper – real paper, not on your computer. Using your opposite hand – the one you DO NOT write with – write down 5 things in your life that you are grateful for. It’s trippy – believe me! You don’t get extra points for penmanship on this one, so don’t worry. Just write down the 5 things that you are most happy about in your life right now. Even if they’re simple things. Air, water, food, sunshine. Friends, family, a job, a home, a car. Doesn’t matter. Make them things you really can be happy about, even for a microsecond. This works by scrambling your neural pathways. It’s super important you do it with the opposite hand, though, or it won’t work.

That’s it! Try it. See if it doesn’t bring a smile to your face, even on your blue day.




Wendy Keller, mother, author, survivor

Wendy Keller writes and speaks about healing, inner strength and surviving. People have been thankful and blessed by her one hour webinars. Join here:  Stop Hurting and Start Healing


The Man Who Chose Happiness

Written by Justin Gammill

[Some adult language were used in this article. We believe these words are an integral part of the story. Hope you enjoy reading like we did! — Positive Outlooks Blog Team]


Writer / Blogger. As a full-time Texan and a part-time mountain man, Justin believes that a man does not grow a beard, but that a beard grows a man…whatever that means.

I’ve struggled my whole life with the concept of happiness, sometimes more than others. Happiness is such a purely situational condition that it is sometimes as fleeting as it is elusive. Any time I get on to pondering about happiness and how to find my own, I think back to an experience from about 10 years ago…

At the time I was living in San Antonio and had an entire group of friends that were either in the military or worked for one of the several Air Force bases. In the early days of Intrepid Fallen Heroes (IFH) there was a group of volunteers that would literally unplug their Xboxes and Playstations and head up to the Brooke Army Medical Center and hang out with soldiers returning from battle with amputated limbs or severe wounds that required serious rehabilitation for them to learn to function, walk, feed themselves, etc. As a 21 year old kid, counseling 18-19 year old kids missing limbs was gut-wrenching. I think that’s why in the beginning we kept it as simple as just playing video games, and trying to keep some semblance of normalcy.

Anyhoo, I was wandering around one day, and poked my head into a room where a 20 year old corporal (who has asked to remain unnamed) was sitting staring at the stumps of his legs. Without even really thinking about it, I just poked my head in and said “Hey man, you up for some Madden?”. The eyes that I made contact with froze a significant portion of my heart to a temperature that liquid nitrogen would have been proud of. So much hurt. So damn much hurt. So much was spoken in that stare that all I could do was mumble “Sorry man”, and retreat.

The next Saturday visit, I was rambling around the same hallway in way too good of a mood, and without thinking, I popped into the same open door. To find the same corporal now staring at a pair of prosthetic limbs next to his bedside table. Before I could even say something stupid, Those eyes flicked up to meet mine, and had somehow developed another layer of hurt. One of Defeat. When I tried to bashfully apologize, a knot tied it’s self in my throat, and I just kind of croaked when I pulled my head out of the door. This time I walked down the hall, found an empty room and just cried for a minute. You can insulate yourself to that kind of hurt to an extent, but it eventually eats you up.

Fast forward another week, and I’m a little less jovial. Same hallway-but this time I remembered the room, and just quietly walked past the door. As I did I hear a voice call out “Hey A–hole, No Madden today?” I stopped and walked backwards into the door frame with that look on my face that a dog makes when they hear a new noise. Expecting that haunted stare, I found eyes that were completely void of grief. They were hopeful. They were bright. “Uh, sure man, let me go grab an Xbox.” I said, and as I walked away he called out “And a beer, a–hole”. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing football and never once even broached the subject of our first two encounters.

It wasn’t until a few months later when I asked the corporal, who was now up and walking (badly) on the prosthetic limbs, what had changed.
“What do you mean?” he asked when I brought it up.

“Well, I said, the first couple of times I went into your room, you didn’t even have to say anything-I could just tell you were miserable, and that there wasn’t anything short of growing you a pair of new legs that would change that”.

“You can grow legs?” he said laughing, “To be honest Gammill, (one of the only times in our friendship he’s ever called me anything other than a–hole) I WAS miserable. In fact, I appreciated the fact that you didn’t stick around and try to play Molly Motivator.”

“Okay, I said, back to the question: What changed?”

“Well”, he started “While I was sitting there contemplating what I thought was the end of my world, it occurred to me that the ultimate factor I was worried about was happiness. I thought that surly I would never be happy again. The more I thought about that, the more I thought ‘Why Not?’, And I couldn’t answer that. So, ultimately I just decided to be happy.


“You just decided it?” I asked.

“Yep, a–hole. I just decided it. It’s a choice, I chose.”

Even to this day I get goosebumps when I think about that conversation. A man who had his legs blown off by a home-made bomb half-way around the planet had just made one of the most poignant statements about happiness I’d ever heard. My dad had told me the same thing when I was younger, but I don’t think I ever believed it until I heard: “It’s a choice, I chose”.

So many years later I hold true to that sentiment. Happiness isn’t some mythical creature. It’s not some confection cooked up by an alchemist in a secret government lab. It’s just something you choose to be. Sure, shit is going to happen in life, and we all have our burdens to bear. Life has a funny way of kicking your ass, but the notion of “grin and bear it” isn’t one that involves showing people your ass. It’s a philosophy of bearing those burdens with a smile on your face. With all the dumb things I’ve done in my life, I am usually thankful just to have the opportunity to face adversity. Can’t fight back if you’re dead.

So I say to you all: embrace the struggle, Love the journey, and Choose to be happy. No one else can choose it for you.


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