What does this African proverb mean? Let us take a look. Several times in this blog we have discussed the inner battle we fight. From doubt, to negative or defeating self talk the greatest enemy can often lie between your own two ears. So how important is it to win this battle? Let us take a look.

A friend of mine and I were discussing people, more to the point members of your own family not supporting you or what you do. It can be extremely difficult to hear things about yourself that are negative or hurtful. It can be even worse when those things are not true. Add on top of that the pain of having those statements coming from family or close friends who should be the very people on your side.

So what can we do when this happens? Here is the bad news right up front, if you live long enough and take any chances or have an opinion it is going to happen. Whether it be out of jealousy, intimidation or any other emotions the other party might be feeling people will attack you. Quite often this may be for doing the very best you can do. Again this can come from their own feelings of inadequacy. What can we do when that happens? Truly it is a painful experience. There is almost a feeling of betrayal. The first thing we must understand is that what they are saying is their opinion. Les Brown, one of my favorite speakers once said “Do not let other people’s opinions about you become your reality”. They can sight all the facts and figures they want. They can mention as many other people as they want, but it does not have to define us.

How can we make sure it does not define us? By getting right with ourselves. What do I mean by getting right with ourselves? Become the kind of person you can be proud of. Whatever you are currently doing, do it to the best of your ability. Always be kind. Be the kind of person other people want to be around. Know and accept your flaws. If you can work on them, then do so. Be the best version of yourself that you can be. When you bring greatness into the world than all of the critics can do is offer you their opinion. Know that if they are judging you on a mistake you made yesterday that you are committed to work on and correct from today forward than they are convicting an innocent person. Most importantly know the only two people who are fit to judge us are ourselves and our higher power because those are the only two people who truly know who we are.

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Ok, I know what must be going through your head. “Isn’t the point of an amazing life to reduce the pain and increase the pleasure?” Normally I would agree, however we are talking about using pain to your advantage.  That is one of the tricks of living a more productive and positive life.  We can’t always control every situation in our life, but we can use it to our advantage.  Let me give you an example.  Just a few days ago I learned my current position at the post office will end in the first week of September.  Now in the past my reaction would have ranged from anger to frustration and even a little worry and sadness.  Well my reaction this time surprised even me.  When the lady informed me of this situation I greeted it at first with a sense of indifference.  I was just collecting information and not taking it personally. Then I thought to myself “ok, I have no control over this situation so what can I find that is good in it?”  All this happened in my head without any conscious effort on my part.  Ok, so I must confess the next thought was “Holy s#$t this stuff I am preaching works!”  Which gave me one good point there.  It provided me with proof in my own beliefs.

What about the pain?  Great question.  Obviously no body likes to feel bad, be it anger, sadness, fear or any negative emotion.  In this case I looked at the situation and had to realize in the next two and a half months my future is very uncertain.  So what to do with those feelings of uncertainty.  Surely that is not something you would want to feel in an amazing life.  Hold on, not so fast.  In this case I realized perhaps this uncertainty was just a reminder to finish my book I have been falling behind on.  Perhaps there is someone out there who could really use it and without the motivation of losing my position I would have not completed it on time?  Pain of any nature is a warning symbol.  When we touch something hot the pain tells us to move away so we don’t become further injured.  The point here is to ask yourself “what is this painful experience trying to tell me and how can I use that to my advantage” This may sound a bit far-fetched for some of you, but trust me it works.  What does the anger and hurt you feel after arguing with someone you care about tell you? First it tells you that you do care or it wouldn’t hurt so bad.  Also there was some hurt that developed between you two and you have to learn what it is and how to prevent it in the future. It also presents you with a chance to increase your connection with this person by how you address and solve this problem. How about the sadness of the loss of a loved one?  In 2010 I had unfortunately had to attend 5 funerals. Four of which were for people under the age of 40.  What good can you possibly take away from situations like that?  How about the fact that you should let people know you love them while they are here.  That you really can question yourself on what is worth being upset about and what legacy you want to leave behind before it is too late.  It has been said that in the pain of every failure lies the seed to our greatest opportunity.  So next time a painful situation arises in your life, or if you are in the middle of one right now.  Ask yourself these two important questions. What is this pain trying to tell me and how can I make it work for me?  Have an amazing day filled with passion my friends!!!