I’ve been through it all… if I told you everything you’d think I was lying — family members addicted to drugs, rape, single parent household, a nasty divorce —- cry me a river! No matter what I go through I always remain positive and keep an upbeat attitude. I had a conversation with one of my old coworkers and she asked, “How do you do it? No matter what is going on in your life you still remain so sweet & keep a smile on your face!” She was going through a tough time, so I decided to answer her and share with the world what I told her:
1. Realize that the only person you can control is yourself. Human beings have free will and they do what they want/when they want. You cannot make another person do anything without consequences. This is especially true in romantic relationships. Let him go! The last thing you want is a “sympathy” relationship where someone just settles with you or uses you as a benchwarmer until his star player comes along. If you have to force something, it’s probably not meant for you!
2. Tell yourself that everything happens for a reason & try to learn a lesson in everything. This is especially true with hurtful or tragic experiences. I usually tell myself that God wants me to learn something or is testing my character/will. Tragic circumstances are easier to deal with when you look at them from a spiritual rather than worldly perspective. When things don’t go the way I want – I really withdraw inside of myself to “process” the situation or experience. What was my role in making it happen? How can I ensure that this never happens again? What are the steps that I need to take to improve myself or this situation for the future? If there are wounds, lick them, bandage them and move on.
3. Stay AWAY from negative/pessimistic people – no matter who they are. As easy as it is to remove someone from your friends list on Facebook, or unfollow someone on Twitter, it’s just as easy to remove people from your circle/network. The old saying “birds of a feather, flock together” is so true. No matter how close you are to someone, if all they do is complain, whine & blame, eventually their “funk” is going to rub off on you. Get rid of them and surround yourself with people who are positive and like minded. Sometimes you can’t totally avoid these people (especially if you work with them) but you can deal with them from a distance and have limited contact.
4. Let go of the past! Our minds and our hearts only have so much space and if your “hard drive” is full, you won’t have any space to save any of the new experiences you’re having. The past can weigh and hold you down – especially if you’re bent on revenge or recovering something that is totally broken. The amount of emotional and mental energy that it takes to hold on to painful memories or experiences is better spent planning for the future and enjoying the time in the here and now.
5. Motivate yourself! Listen to inspirational music (which for me is often femcees & neosoul. Eve’s song “Satisfaction” was my theme song for the longest time). If a negative thought comes into your mind quickly engage in a positive conversation with someone or dismiss the negative thought. In Buddhism we call that “mindfulness.” You have 18 + years of programming, so it’s not always easy to “reboot” but if you’re aware of the negativity that you allow to course from your mind throughout your body (no matter the source) then you can identify it and immediately eliminate it. You have to give yourself a “mental transfusion.”
6. Do what’s right at all costs! I truly believe in karma. If you do the right thing and follow your instincts, most of the time you’ll be okay. Be careful what you put out! If you always have a nasty attitude – don’t be surprised when you get that or even worse in return. If you engage in gossip (an independent movie that I saw recently said “gossip is the devil’s radio”), don’t have hurt feelings when you learn that people are talking badly about you behind your back. If you find a wallet or keys and it doesn’t belong to you return it/them, so that when you lose your digital camera or something of value you’ll get it back.
7. Keep It Moving! When you’re feeling down or sad, usually all you want to do is lay around & totally withdraw. Don’t do it! Get up and do something – even if it’s a monotonous task like cleaning out your e-mail or doing laundry. If you’re searching for a job and you receive a rejection letter, don’t quit! Take the lessons learned from that job interview to keep searching and looking for something else. Don’t ever sit still! Keep it moving!