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Persistence: Playing a Poor Hand Well

By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 27, 2011

Are you allowing the hand you were dealt to determine what you do in life, or are you willing to make the best of a poor hand?

"Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well." – Josh Billings, 1818-1885

Research indicates that holding good cards is actually of great benefit in life. People born into wealthy families, who are emotionally and financially supported to become all they can be, have a great advantage over people from poor and emotionally unsupportive families. People who have to overcome childhood abuse have a much harder time in life than those who were loved. While some challenges do make us stronger, huge challenges such as severe childhood abuse can take such an emotional, spiritual and physical toll that the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” doesn’t always hold true.

Despite all that, each of us has the opportunity to play a poor hand well. Each of us has the opportunity to learn and grow from the big challenges in our lives.

I look back on the poor hand I was dealt, and I’m so grateful for the little bit of role modeling I received regarding persistence. I think it’s this one quality – persistence – that has enabled me to turn the poor hand into a very fulfilling life.

  • Since I was born into a very poor family, I learned early how to earn money and become self-sufficient. From an early age, I persisted in earning and saving money.
  • Since I was a lonely only child, with emotionally unavailable parents, I learned early to make friends and connect with others.
  • Coming from a narcissistic mother and a sexually abusive father (my father was also the nurturer and the one who taught me persistence) I began my learning, healing, spiritual journey early in my life.
  • I stuttered badly as a child, having inherited this from my father. But I had a lot to say, so I persisted in learning how to overcome this to become a public speaker. Wanting so much to overcome this severe disability led me to learn about and implement many different modalities into my life – from diet to spiritual surrender.
  • Having been a very sickly, allergic child and hating being sick, I learned about nutrition early in my life to create the healthy body that I now live in at 72 years of age.
  • Being a naturally empathic child and experiencing both my parents suffer so much, emotionally, in their lives, led me to co-create the profoundly healing Inner Bonding process.
  • Desiring to share Inner Bonding with all those who are suffering and seeking relief, led me to spend the last 13 years developing the SelfQuest computer program that teaches the Inner Bonding process. There were so many huge challenges along the way, that if I hadn’t learned persistence, I would have let it go a long time ago.
  • If I had not spent 30 years in a very challenging marriage, I would not have learned how to help others heal their relationships.

Would I have persisted in all these things if I had been born with a silver spoon in my mouth? I don’t know. Certainly there are many people who are born with huge advantages who do wonderful things in the world. What I do know is that the good hand is not a prerequisite for manifesting yourself into being all you came here to be.

We all have the opportunity to take the hand we are given and put forth persistent effort toward manifesting what is important to us. We can spend our energy blaming our past or our current circumstances, or we can spend our energy taking persistent loving action in our own behalf.


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