“It’s not the end of the world”
“Don’t give up”
“There are a lot of people who have it far worse than you”
How many of us have heard these phrases when we were feeling down? I’m sure all of us have. Do they immediately pick us up and make us feel better? No. In fact, at that moment, we feel that those phrases are so far away from the truth.… and that’s okay. It’s okay to feel low sometimes. It’s okay to feel discouraged when things don’t work out the way we want them to. It’s okay to want to give up when we have failed so many times. However, the most important question that we must ask ourselves is… How do we overcome these negative thoughts and feelings? How do we develop a positive attitude and mindset towards life? How do we keep going despite all the obstacles and challenges?
Well, I would like to share something that has helped me. I will speak from personal experience and give examples of situations that I have personally encountered in my life. I have realized that as you get older in life your perspective changes. You slowly begin to realize that you’re starting to set different goals. For example, you’re no longer interested in making a lot of money, but instead, you begin to appreciate the small things in life a little more. You stop comparing yourself to others and you start living your life according to your circumstances. You begin prioritizing your mental health and peace of mind. You begin to appreciate your parents and loved ones. You stop taking the small moments that make you happy for granted. And most importantly, you begin to learn from the experiences of those around you.
One day, you hear about your university colleague developing breast cancer at the young age of You see her go through chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a double mastectomy. Just as she is about to finish her treatment, she starts developing headaches in the morning. CT brain reveals that she has metastatic brain cancer.
You hear the story of a lovely family, who you knew very well, on their way to the beach for a family vacation, when suddenly they get hit by a drunk driver at the intersection. Both parents die and the children are left alone.
You hear about your very ambitious friend who completed a bachelor’s degree, 2 master’s degrees and has opened his own company all by the age of 25, suddenly die in a car accident.
If you’re working in the ER, then I’m sure you’ve seen and heard your share of tragic stories that have shocked you. I’m sure everyone has experienced this, and of course, the stories that are more personal, hit harder.
Eventually, slowly, but surely, you begin to realize how FRAGILE this life is. You accept that life NEVER goes according to plan. The things that once worried you start to seem so trivial. You start seeing the bigger picture. You start looking at your problems and asking yourself “are they worth all the pain and suffering that I’m putting myself through?” The answer is, NO. With that mindset, you start accepting that there are certain things in your life that you cannot control. There are circumstances that just arise out of nowhere, but regardless of what they are, instead of worrying about the things you CAN’T control, you decide to focus on what you CAN control, and you work hard to make the most of these situations. In my humble opinion, this mindset, combined with a positive attitude, is the key to living a fulfilling life. You learn to enjoy your journey. You learn to be flexible. You learn to absorb whatever comes your way. You learn to persevere through all of life’s challenges. You develop resilience. You develop strength. You grow.
I’m not saying you should surrender to everything that life throws at you. On the contrary, you need to fight. You need to challenge yourself. You need to believe in yourself and create a beautiful future. However, don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes you a little longer to achieve your goal. Don’t aggressively chase your dreams at the expense of truly living life and enjoying the happy moments that it has to offer. There is no rewind button in life. We only get one shot, so let’s adjust our attitude and mindset to make the most of it. Let’s enjoy life while we work on our goals. Let’s relish every chapter. Let’s embrace all the ups and downs. Let’s acknowledge how far we’ve come. Let’s help each other grow. Let’s appreciate those around us who make our life a little brighter. Let’s fulfil our purpose. Finally, let’s not regret not living our life to the fullest.
Dr Dana Shaltoni
PGY2, Rashid Hospital
” I am originally Palestinian, but I have lived in 6 different countries so far. I am doing
my residency in emergency medicine because I love the nature of the job, I love
helping patients in an acute setting, and I love the fact that I learn to work, think, and
analyze under pressure. I am an advocate of mental health and wellbeing. Hoping to
live my life to the fullest and to making a positive impact on peoples’ lives”.