Monthly Archives: September 2014

Saying Goodbye to Negativity

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By nature, I am a negative person. This may come as a surprise to people who know me now, but it’s the truth. Between my depression and some unfortunate experiences in my life, I got to the point where all I could see was darkness. All I could see was bad. I was empty, angry and bitter. I had lost hope in happiness or anything good. I had hit rock bottom and it was reflected in all aspects of my life.

People started to walk away from me. Friends disappeared. I withdrew and ignored those trying to reach out. I enclosed myself in negativity and shut out the rest of the world.

And I spent many years like this.

Then I realized I had to make a choice. I could continue to isolate myself, focus on the bad, keep a tight grip on my anger. Or I could choose to overcome the anger and the pain, forgive those who had treated me poorly, face the trauma from my past, and pursue the good.

I chose the latter. I made a conscious decision not to let the negativity overpower me. I actively sought out the good. I worked daily at adjusting my attitude to be positive.

I didn’t change overnight. It took years to overcome my demons  and let go of all of the anger and pain built up inside me. It took years to defeat the negative and let the positive in.

But I did. I made the choice to do it and I worked very hard to make it happen.

I don’t want a life cloaked in negativity and unhappiness. I don’t want to focus on the things that go wrong. I don’t want to live with anger.

I want to be happy. I want to find joy. And I want to be someone who is a positive light for others.

There are still times when negativity gets the better of me. There are times when stress and frustration weighs me down. There are bad days.

But there are a lot more good days.

Because of how hard I have worked to be positive, and how hard I’ve worked to be able to focus on the good, negativity can only get so far with me before I spring up to fight it. Now I naturally see the good first, and even in situations that seem awful, I can usually find something positive. I can find some light.

When saying goodbye to negativity, I had to look at the people in my life and also say goodbye to those who are negative or cynical. Though I have changed my whole outlook, I am still susceptible to getting caught up in negativity if I spend too much time around it.

Negativity triggers stress, which triggers my depression, so I can’t afford to have it around. Nor do I want it around me.

So I was forced to make some hard decisions in my life when it came to those I spent my time with. There were some I had to say goodbye to, despite how much I cared about them. They were bringing me down, and I knew their negativity was dangerous for me.

I now only surround myself with positive people. People who look for the good in life. This doesn’t mean they haven’t faced struggles and terrible things in life. It doesn’t mean they don’t recognize reality, and it doesn’t mean they live in a fairy tale.

They are amazing people who live in the real world, have faced tough times, chosen to focus on the good and overcome their trials.

They are people who have chosen to focus on the light instead of the dark. They have chosen positive over negative. Just like me.

And in troubled times, we are there to lift one another up. To remind one another of the good. To point out the light at the end of the tunnel.

I still sometimes have the habit of getting involved with negative people. Because my heart breaks for them. I see their misery and I want to help. But a friend recently reminded me of how dangerous that can be. My desire to help is not a bad thing. But it is impossible to help someone who doesn’t want it. They have to acknowledge their negative attitude and choose to do something about it. The same way I did. No one could help me until I decided I needed to change.

And I have to be conscious of the risk that comes with starting a relationship (whether a friendship or more) with someone who sees life negatively. Although my desire is to help and be a positive influence, I have to recognize my own limitations in what I can handle.

And the truth is that I can’t handle being around negativity.

As I’ve already said, I made a choice a few years ago to change my outlook on life and focus on the positive. And it changed my life for the better.

Life is short. Don’t waste time in anger. Don’t focus on what is wrong or negative.

Find the good. It’s out there.

And you can be someone who helps create positivity.

You just have to choose to.

 

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Distractions

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a post. It’s not that I have been actively choosing not to write, but that distractions have been getting in the way.

Distractions that include, but are not limited to, working too many hours, stress, tiredness, moving, a longer commute to work, more commitments, dating, social media, and I admit, a show on Netflix that has taken up too much of my time in the last few weeks.

All of these things have added up to me not writing for a few weeks. I let these distractions, most of which are not that important, get in the way of what I love to do most.

Even as I write this now a sense of peace has come over me. This is what I love. Writing. It’s calming, it centers me and it brings me joy. It is my passion.

So how did I go for weeks without doing it? Better yet, how did I go for years before starting this blog, without writing consistently. How did I let my passion get pushed aside?

Because life happens. Distractions surround us. Stress wears us down. We get caught up in the day to day routine and necessities, and we put our passions on the back burner. We put our dreams aside to deal with every day life.

And too often, we forget about them all together.

Earlier this week I was reminded of how important it is to chase your dreams and pursue your passions.

We only get one life.

And I know I don’t want to come to the end of mine and have regrets. I want to know I lived life to the fullest. I want to have pursued my dreams and passions. Even if I fail, at least I will know that I tried.

I spent the last decade getting distracted. I still had my dreams of becoming a writer, but I wasn’t doing anything to pursue it. I wasn’t even writing.

Last November I started this blog and began to write regularly. It made me feel alive again. Not that I felt dead before, but a part of me felt snuffed out. My passion candle hadn’t burned for some time.

And I felt that again these last few weeks. Something was missing. I didn’t feel whole. Because once again, I had allowed the distractions of every day life to get in the way of what I love to do most.

I am grateful it was only a few weeks and not a few years this time.

In life, we have responsibilities and things we must do. We must work and earn money in order to survive. Some have families to feed, kids to take care of, mortgages to pay, loans to pay and so many duties that seem to take up so much time.

People give up on their dreams because they don’t think they can do it or have time to do it or the resources to do it.

Some put their dreams on hold for “another day”, but that day never comes.

When you are young you think you have all the time in the world. As you get older, you realize how quickly time passes and how little time we have in this life. You are also very aware that your time can end at any moment.

I want to live each moment as if it is my last. I want to pursue my dreams, live passionately, help others and be happy.

I don’t want to spend my days on Facebook, reading gossip magazines, watching TV or stressing over things I can’t control (I’m getting better at this one).

I want to spend my days doing what matters. Fulfilling my purpose in life. Pursuing my dreams. Serving others. Spreading love and joy. Spending time with those I love.

I don’t ever want to give up on my dreams. I have many that I want to pursue and I plan on chasing after each  and every one.

I don’t ever want to stop dreaming.

Because anything is possible.

Don’t put limitations on yourself.

Dream big and go after your passions.

Don’t let anyone stop you.

And don’t let distractions get in your way.

 

 

Lucky

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Today, as I was driving to my church gathering around 4:30 in the afternoon, I was suddenly overcome by feelings of pure gratitude. I thought to myself “I am the luckiest girl in the world.” It is a feeling that has stuck with me all evening. I am blown away by how lucky I am. My life is so good.

I’m not saying my life is perfect. Nor am I am saying it is without struggles. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I have had struggles, made mistakes and dealt with tough times.

But I am so lucky.

The last couple of weeks have been wonderful. Today I was overwhelmed by the support and kindness of a bunch of friends who took time out of their busy lives to help me move all of my stuff into storage. These are friends with lots going on in their own lives including school, crazy work schedules, an upcoming wedding, a recent injury and more. And they put all of that aside to help me.

Then after all of my stuff was moved and in storage, we headed over to Boston Pizza for beer and appetizers. We spent over an hour eating, drinking, watching football, talking and laughing. Then we all met up again at our 5pm church gathering. It was a perfect day with incredible friends.

I am so lucky.

Over a week ago I spent just over 4 days in Newfoundland with friends I have known for more than a decade. These are friends I met when I was 19 years old and our friendships have thrived through moving, relationships, job changes and more. During the 4 days in Newfoundland, I made new friends and met so many wonderful people that I hope and pray I’ll see again someday.

I am so lucky.

This summer saw some bumps in the road and I stumbled a few times. I had a situation with my apartment where I had an allergic reaction to something in the apartment and had to move out and back and then out again. Not a fun experience.

I had some struggles and major stress at my job that left me questioning if I should stay with it or look for something new. But instead of bailing, I spoke up, expressed my concerns, changed my own attitude and now things are much better. I feel valued and appreciated in my job, and I work with some lovely people that I have developed great relationships with.

I am so lucky.

A month ago I finally let go of a relationship that I had held on to for too long. That has freed me to concentrate on other, better relationships. It has allowed me to redirect my focus and get back to my passions, my friends, my family, and my faith.

I am so lucky.

For a while I got caught up with focusing on what was going wrong instead of what was going right. But I am back on track now. My positive self has once again emerged and I am seeing the good and pushing aside the bad.

For a while I forgot how good life is. I forgot how lucky I am.

I am so grateful for all that has been given to me.

And I never want to lose that gratitude. I never want to forget how lucky I am.

What are you grateful for today?

I encourage you to focus on all of the good in your life. Let the bad go. Let go of the hurt and the anger. Stop punishing yourself and blaming yourself for things in the past.

Take a moment and think about what you are grateful for. I bet you will suddenly feel like the luckiest person in the world too.