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Television for the soul

When characters teach us how to handle life’s challenges.


Photo credit: BigStock images

t We at Chicken Soup for the Soul are thrilled to announce our exciting new relationship with TV Land and the cast of their brand new comedy, Jennifer Falls. As part of this unique partnership, Jaime Pressly’s character, Jennifer Doyle, seeks my help as Chicken Soup for the Soul’s publisher, editor-in-chief and author and I will be regularly offering my best advice to Jennifer through Chicken Soup for the Soul’s social channels and outlets. Having held a variety of high-powered positions in business, and having published thousands of stories from people going through tough times, I become a mentor to Jennifer as she reboots her life.

t Though Jennifer Doyle is a character on TV, her situation is all too real and I’m excited to be kicking off my SheKnows series with some advice for Jennifer that I think will have meaning for many of us.

tAccept the unexpected

t Rather than expecting the unexpected, at times in life, we may find ourselves simply having to accept the unexpected. Jennifer Doyle lost her high-paying executive job, she lost her condo, her beach house and all her other possessions and was forced to move back into her mother’s house with her disgruntled teenage daughter. Now she has to endure the indignity of working as a bartender for her brother. Jennifer finds herself in a place she never expected and, like many of us, is left with a choice resent the circumstances or accept the changes.

tFind a connection

t Through support groups, peers, or even stories you read in books, understand you’re not alone. When I heard about Jennifer, I immediately thought about a story by Kristen Eberhard called “Endings Are Beginnings” that we published a few years ago in a book about tough times. Kristen had been living large in Manhattan, with an opulent lifestyle funded by her investment advisor husband. As she describes it, she had “nannies, a driver, a housekeeper and all the so-called ‘comforts.'” When it turned out that her husband had been lying to her about everything, and had stolen millions of dollars from his clients, he went to prison and she and their young son went to live with her parents in upstate New York.

t Kristen’s new reality was a world of lawyers, depositions and court dates. At first, Kristen was understandably devastated. She says, “Our bank accounts were frozen, our assets were seized and our demise was played out in the media like a soap opera. I remember the terror of standing before the ATM at the bank unable to access even a dollar. Court-appointed trustees were suddenly marching through our home, taking an inventory of personal items.” Though Kristen and Jennifer’s circumstances are unique to their respective lives, they share a common experience of loss. Finding this connection to Kristen’s story, or to other’s who, like Kristen, have experienced similar events, can ultimately prove valuable to Jennifer as she seeks to make peace with her new circumstances.

tSee the silver lining

t Kristen has a lot to teach Jennifer Doyle. She took a good long look in the mirror and decided to stop feeling sorry for herself. As she says, “We are never quite familiar with ourselves until we are brought to our knees. Looking back, I realize that I needed to experience the deconstruction in order to prepare for the reconstruction of my life.”

t And this is the advice I pass on to Jennifer Doyle, via Kristen Eberhard: “Choose to recognize the gifts around you. All endings give way to new beginnings.”

tRemember, life will go on

t Robert Frost said it best: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” Jennifer has a wonderful chance to get on with life now; to rekindle her relationship with her family and friends back home, to set a great example for her daughter and to embark on a new path to success, one that is founded on meaningful work and relationships. I’ve seen so many people just like Jennifer find a new purpose and joy in their lives after taking a hard fall. It just takes focus on what is really important.

t What would you tell Jennifer? Let me know at

t Watch Jennifer Falls on TV Land Wednesdays, 10:30/9:30C and sign up to receive Jennifer’s story and daily inspirational stories from Chicken Soup for the Soul.

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