love, attitude, self, motivation, midlife, stress, language, worry, the power of positive thinking, abuse, norman vincent peale, reframing, thoughts become things, gratitude, worry, angst, verbal abuse, anxiety, life meaning, power
Note to self: the past 24 hours have provided, yet again, a reminder that it is oh-so-important to fill oneself up with the good, the lovely and the positive.
Let’s see, we have the dear friend of mine who ran into her ex and felt terrible about herself ‘all over again’; the neighbor who can’t seem to get in shape and told me ‘to hell with it’ because she doesn’t have the time to focus on herself (four children under the age of six); and, the client who was in total (and I mean total) distress as her computer crashed, furthering her missed deadline on a long running, time sensitive project that could jeopardize her promotion.
And then there is me: anxious about pending client work, a wee-bit of Mom-nervousness because the last little bird is leaving the coop, and my overall direction in midlife as I play with patches and creams and the meaning of ‘why am I here, rabbit, oh why?’ I find myself searching out for the good to feel better. It’s something I actively do and it has served me well.
And so I realize that these words, these vehicles that transmit meaning, and care, and information, and assessment, all play such a valuable role in our lives. It is these words that we read that can shock us, surprise us or simply soothe us. I prefer the latter, remembering my first read of Norman Vincent Peale’s ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ and the combination of words and positive feelings.
That was my first step into this motivational, let’s-look-at-the-good-side-and-help you-out world. This has only grown for me, after suffering (ok, I admit, bad choice of words here, I hate the idea of victimization) through a verbally abusive marriage that was so tough on my psyche that I began asking friends and family, ‘am I that bad? Really, you can tell me the truth. I have been told that I don’t walk right; that I am a mess and don’t make enough money, blah, blah blah.’ After years of therapy, and a determination to master what was happening to me, I realized that I took these words thrown my way and incorporated them into the fabric of who I was.
I took back my power, left, and started over. It was then that the wah-lah! hit. I needed to feed myself full of positive – anything, to help me reframe my experiences. I incorporated into my daily world – words in music, words in books, words in quotes, words in articles – all helped me feed that void of knowing that life is actually quite a fabulous entertaining ride and that we are all here to love and be loved. The coolness of realizing this was game changing for me and I now work to share this with others.
So these negative words, whether they are thrown our way or shared with us on an email or told to us by ourselves (often the worst at making us internalize and feel bad), I call this your Jiminy Cricket; that little voice that tells you just awful, terrible things that are happening or about to happen. They have HUGE power over us.
As a marketer, I am well aware that people think in pictures and words do the painting. Think of the difference of how you feel after reading, ‘Life is difficult, challenges are many’ and then, ‘You are loved.’ Wow, right? As I hear friends,colleagues and family share their angst, I realize how a slight change in these word combinations could change their day. Seeing one’s ex and managing through that moment is not something I would recommend but hey, it could be worse. These people that provide us such pain are really our best teachers so if you can think of seeing them with a ‘thanks for teaching me’ and ‘now I am on my way, thank you very much,’ it’ll help you realize that you are back in the driver's seat and on the mend.
For the Mom who has frustrations with her weight, a quick ‘thank you universe for these four healthy children’ combined with a quick reminder, ‘this too shall pass as they will grow, you are doing great and don’t be so hard on yourself’ puts the yuck of the frustration with the lack of free time in place. The worker bee with OMG galore turned her world around with a realization that she has a job (!) and her delay actually pushed her to get some help (including purchasing an online back-up system) and in the oddest of ways, she was grateful for the panic as it forced her to deal with an issue she has avoided for years. She used her words of ‘moving forward in my career, no matter the obstacle,’ to understand the not-so-unusual issues that work often brings.
For moi? Perhaps the best for me is what I always share with others – we are indeed, not alone and there is no need to take oneself so damn seriously. Mr. Jiminy Cricket can stand by, hat in hand, full of gratitude for all that life offers us. Or, as I often remind him, right now, this very second, as you think about things, or read this, or get ready to go out the door, right now someone new is being born; someone is passing away; someone is falling in love; someone is getting wretched news, and someone is laughing with delight. Here we are, all experiencing this together.
Now that kind of thinking changes one's day. Those are the words that paint the picture I treasure: gratitude. So, here's a gentle reminder to watch what you take in and what you allow. Here’s to your words, your thoughts and your day. Enjoy.
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