Quite often the hardest thing about starting any project is knowing where to start and those all to important first steps. In fact, one of my biggest stumbling blocks that I am always working to overcome is getting to far ahead of myself and becoming overwhelmed. So where to begin if you find your life to be in a rather dark place? What if you have never made an effort to consciously live a more positive life? Even if you are just looking for a simple basic step to add to everything you already are trying. Remember different things work for different people. Try as many as you can. This next one comes from a very close source…my mother. As we were discussing ways to be more positive she came up with what I think is an easy and straight forward method to help nurture and develop a positive outlook and bring more joy into your life. The complex tools needed for this task? A pocket-size notebook and a pen. The time required for this project? A few seconds every day for about a week. Here is the game plan. Pick a day, any day, be it Monday, or Sunday or Friday. The day only matters as a start and end point. Now the night before you are going to start make sure you have a pen and paper handy. Put it on a table beside your bed, so you see it first thing in the morning. Now upon waking that day grab your pen and paper and put it in your pocket. Throughout the day whenever something good happens to you write it down. It doesn’t have to be an exact description, just enough to remember what it was. “Traffic good on way to work” would do. This is just for your own viewing so as long as you understand it is all that matters. Repeat this throughout the day as you notice anything positive occurring for you no matter how small or silly it may seem at the time. “Heard a joke and it made me laugh” “Coffee tasted really good” If you forget something at the moment or don’t have time that second, write it when you do. There are no rules and the only one seeing this is you. Now before you retire for the evening, review your list. Try and remember the moments and how you felt. This does two things. One, it will probably do wonders for your dreams that evening. Also, it helps us put life in perspective and shift our attention to the positive. So what happens if you only have one or two things that first day? Nothing. That is beautiful. You stopped to appreciate two beautiful moments in your life. Repeat this for about a week. Note what happens. By focusing on the positive things in life, it helps reduce stress and increase joy. Without getting too much into how the law of attraction works, I would say it would be a safe bet that your list will be longer on day 2, then on day one and longer on day 7 then on day 5. Now you will excuse me I need to go buy a pocket-sized notebook
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear”
Now some of you has let me know you enjoy my blog, but say “that stuff doesn’t work in real life” Here is a prime example of a women who overcame not just her own challenges, but the challenges facing an entire nation. Still think you can’t turn your life into one that is positive and rewarding both for yourself and those around you? Having an end goal in mind and staying focused on that goal makes everything if not easier, at least bearable. You make a mistake, fall down on the path to your goal? Get up, dust yourself off at get back at it! It has been said airplanes on their way from point A to point B are off course a full 90% of the time. Constantly making minor adjustments to correct changes in wind, currents, air pressure and a million other factors I know nothing about. How, if they are off course so often do they arrive, usually close to on time, at their destination? The easy answer is ‘radar’. True, but what good is technology if you do not have a clear destination? So decide on your destination. Develop that resolute purpose so demonstrated by Rosa Parks. If one woman could challenge the thinking of a majority of an entire nation, we can certainly overcome our challenges! like the airplane with its radar, we have an internal radar. It is called our feelings and current state of mind. Have you ever noticed when you are engaged in an activity designed to bring you closer to your goal that even if it appears not to be going so well at the moment it seems easier to stay focused? So make a clear decision on a goal, write it down, find or draw a picture of it to hang in the bathroom mirror. Whatever you have to do to keep it in your mind. Then stay focused and marvel at the great things you will accomplish. Whenever doubt starts to creep in, just think of that single woman sitting on a bus and all that she conquered.
Normally I don’t advocate focusing on things you do not enjoy especially about yourself. Lately though I have been learning through a lot of great people strength in looking at things from a totally opposite perspective. This is one fine example. Like the title asks, what do you like least about yourself? Why would we want to think about that you may ask. Well, it was pointed out to me, that things we may like least about ourselves is something others may give the world for. Think of the person that just seems to be unable to lose those last few pounds, with someone who’s life is compromised because they can’t store any body fat. The example the person who shared this idea with me used was freckles. She grew up disliking the fact that she had them. Through the years listening to people tell her how much they love them, she has grown to as well. (side note, they do look amazing on her). So as I often do, when a great bit of knowledge or a deep thought is presented to me I tend to share it with those around me. Much like I am doing with you here. There is a young man who comes in to the post office I work at. He is a veteran of Iraq in his late twenties. He mails small boxes from a veteran group he started after he returned. I was sharing this story with him and he seemed quite riveted, which I must confess is unusual for people listening to a story I am telling. Suddenly when I got to the heart of the story, about how the thing you love least about yourself somebody else would love to have, he started to tear up and get quite emotional. I apologized and asked if I had said something to offend him. The next course of events took me a bit by surprise and made me emotional as well. He asked if I could come around the counter. Well, considering the story I had told him was the reason he was so upset I thought it was the least I could do. When I did come around he took me by surprise by instantly giving me a huge hug and crying on my shoulder. He apologized as he composed himself and lifted up his pants leg to reveal a fake leg. “Ever since I have returned from Iraq after having my leg blown off I have cursed the fact I only have one good leg.” he went on to explain while he was in the hospital both over there and back here he saw men younger than him who had lost both legs, an arm and a leg and other conditions. “Those kids would kill to just have lost half a leg, but do you know what beats that?” he asked in a mix of laughter and tears. I kind of nodded as I was left speechless at the moment. “Do you know what I send in these boxes?” he asked. “T-shirts to families that have lost someone over there. The men that died would have given anything to trade places with me. To be able to hug and talk to their families. Here I was just being selfish, I should be grateful for all I have” he said. For hours after that man left all I could ponder was how wonderful we have it. How each of us has so much more that we should be thankful for then we know and all we do is worry about what we like least. I’m still not sure who got more out of that conversation, and quite honestly I do not care. So tonight remember the things we like least about ourselves someone would love to have. So be grateful, hug your family while you can and while you are at it, thank the brave men and women who keep us safe. Thank you