Life Is Not How Others Paint It, But How We Color It

Life is not how others paint it, but how we color it

Life is not how others paint it, but how we color it. Because it will always be our attitude that will make us act as the best brush, capable of offering us shades of light when we feel the need. It will be our will to make us choose to paint our days with smiles, rather than being pervaded by bitterness.

One fact we need to be clear about is that sometimes life itself brings us gray days. Moments of pitch darkness. These are moments in which, although we think we can control everything and be a sort of strategist of adversity, something always happens that reminds us how vulnerable we are.  

The French neurologist, psychiatrist and ethologist Boris Cyrulnik offers us, through his books and interviews, a truly useful and interesting concept of happiness. Let’s talk first of all about that well-being that a person achieves after having known the whole range of chiaroscuro of his own existential palette.

No one is ever ready to suffer. A happy childhood does not guarantee us a tomorrow that is immune to emotional pain. Similarly, a traumatic childhood does not determine our maturity and our future, exactly as Cyrulnik himself explains in his book “The ugly ducklings”.

Life can get dark at any time, we know. We have lived it. However, far from submitting to these facts, these traumas, we must stop being victims of our circumstances and work every day on our personal reality. Because we know, we are all worthy to be loved, to be happy. We all have to choose the best colors with which to paint our horizon.  


How to face the chiaroscuro of life

Even if we don’t realize it, each of us has a particular way of painting our daily life. We talk about our attitude and those special psychological remedies with which we face adversity, interpret reality and, at the same time, create it.

Nonetheless, this is precisely where the dilemma arises. It is often said that it is genetics that give us those roots that push us to more or less demoralize ourselves frequently. It leads us towards depression or a distorted vision in which we are able to see only gray days when a bright, immense and bright sun shines in the sky.

We need to be clear about one thing: genetics predisposes, but does not determine. What really matters is the will and our attitude. So much so that Dr. Rafaela Santos, author of the book “Levantarse y luchar” (getting up and fighting), tells us that resilience is a combination of genetic, social and psychological factors. However, there is nothing more powerful than a conscious and constant exercise to be able to face any difficult situation in a positive way.

All this leads us to reflect on different personal realities. It is well known, for example, that children can inherit the predisposition to suffer from anxiety and depression from their parents. They do this because they share the physiological characteristics of these: a hyperactive brain circuit.

What determines who we are is not a structure in itself, but a series of metabolic functions that can be modified. With proper activity, psychological strategies and mindful training, we will paint life our way.  

It is a time of resilience, a time of overcoming

Resilience is like a port that inspires life. It is the art that gives us a certain feeling of control in the face of difficulties. Far from being eternally marked by an unjust childhood, a dramatic loss or an unforgettable failure, we have the opportunity to choose new colors with which to paint our horizon.  

Experts in personal overcoming tell us that, to achieve this ability, it is necessary to develop the strategy of domination. We know, for example, that the word resilience comes from physics,  and defines those materials capable of recovering their original shape despite having been deformed. Well, in the psychological field it does not happen in a completely equal way.


When something deforms us, we will never recover our original shape.  We will never be the same again. However, being a different person does not imply being a more fragile, darker and more wounded person. It is precisely on these occasions that we must apply the strategy of domination.

Resilience is not the ability to come out of a battle unscathed, but the art of mastering our way of thinking to create new emotions. It is the challenge of keeping one’s self-esteem, independence and the value of choosing which colors to paint the future intact.

Three sentences to be repeated every day

Dr. Edith Grotberg, known for creating proof of resilience factors, focuses on self-healing skills based on three verbalizations that we can put into practice every day. They are the following: 
  • I have  the ability to cope with difficulties. I have values, rules of conduct, self-esteem and people who love me.
  • I am  a person who believes in hope and who has self-confidence.
  • I can  solve problems, communicate, defend myself, have good relationships and strive for happiness.

These simple thinking strategies are worth putting into practice. It costs nothing and the results will be positive.  

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