The Power of Positive

Oh!  I wanted to write a whiny post yesterday.  O.k., I’ve had whiny posts running through my head all week.  I’ve been kind of down about my lack of a job.  Which led me to scroll through Craigslist and Indeed.  Which led me to getting more depressed.

And I haven’t accomplished as much as I had planned so far this week.  Yesterday afternoon I started to have negative thoughts running through my head.  It started with, “I’m not doing very well today.”

But wait!  Stop!!!  I promised myself I wasn’t going to go down the negative road.

So, while prepping dinner, I forced myself to list all the things I had accomplished.

First, I got up on time.  Maybe that sounds silly to list as an “accomplishment” but, hey, you gotta start somewhere.

I got the kids to school (mostly on time).

I trekked out in the near-dark to feed the horses.  I could have waited and fed them when I got back from taking the kids to school but my day goes better when I do it first thing.  Because then, I feel like I’ve done something.  And, it means I can turn them out earlier, which is good for them.

I got some work done on summer trip planning.

I had a difficult conversation with a client, which I had been putting off.  (I do some very, very part-time attorney work.)

And, there I was, at 3:30 in the afternoon, not only with a plan for dinner but actually doing some prep while I helped the 14 year old with homework.  And, I ran Roomba which got some of the dog fur off of the floor.

I felt better after reminding myself of those positive things.  I’m proud of myself for stopping the negative thought process.  It put me on a good path for today.

Positive thinking does work!  And its worth the effort.

 

How I Found Positive

As I said in my last post, I stopped writing for so long because I was tired of hearing myself whine.  I was in such a negative place – lots of negative self-talk, negative thinking, judgement, and criticism.

No more!

How did I turn things around?  Honestly, I had a good friend send me a very strongly worded email that kicked me in the butt.  And, through her example, I found my faith again.  (Don’t worry . . . not going to get all religious on you here.)

My good friend is VERY strong in her faith.  And me?  I grew up Catholic (Catholic school, mass every Sunday, etc.) but have not gone to church in ummmm . . . forever, and haven’t really thought much about it.  My kids are not baptized, which upset my mother greatly and, on some level, upsets me too.  I’m straying from my point . . .

(Wow, and I do seem to be fond of these three little dots . . . in my writing!)

So my friend writes me this email which basically says, “Suck it up, Buttercup.  God has a plan for you, God loves you and all this negativity is the devil talking.”  Really, that’s what it said in multiple paragraphs.  I was sort of stunned when I read it.  Had to read it a couple of times.  But it struck a chord for me.

I have other friends who are strong in their faith.  I’ve noticed over the years that there’s a serenity about them.  I’ve wished for the same.

So, I set out to change my mindset.  Whenever I felt my stress and / or anxiety rising, I found a quiet spot, took a deep breath, said a Hail Mary and asked for the strength to get through whatever I was facing.  Whenever I started being critical, I stopped and consciously made a decision to look for the good.  Every morning when I walk down my driveway in the near-dark from feeding the horses, I look up at the sky and thank God for the day we’re about to have, the opportunities it will bring us, the strength to face the difficult parts and for His protection.  It starts my day off in a positive mindset.

I settled on four words / intentions to focus on:

Gratitude:  I have A LOT to be thankful for but I’ve spent years only thinking about what I didn’t have.  I’m now stopping to be grateful for what I have.

Patience:  This is a super hard one for me.  I’m not patient with myself or others.  Now I remember to be kind to myself, that I’m doing a lot and that I can give myself some slack.  With others, I remember that they’re not being slow just to bother me; maybe they have an unseen reason for not being as quick as I want them to.

Love:  Often it seems like the world is a pretty angry place these days.  I do my best to not contribute to the anger and to, instead, spread some joy.  Smile at folks, give compliments, offer to help.

Faith:  I have to believe there’s a plan.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not using all of this as an excuse.  I’m not saying, “Oh well, I’m not being successful in my new private practice.  God must not want me to be an attorney.”  (I wish!)  I have to work to make positive things happen in my life.  Returning to my faith has just given me a framework for that and a method for staying focused and positive.

Honestly, this switch from negative to positive has been easier than I anticipated.  I think its because, when I feel myself drifting back towards the dark side, I have a set of tools I can use to immediately stop the negativity.

So, that’s what’s worked for me.  Mind you, I’ve only been at this a few weeks.  So far, its working.  And I have faith that its going to continue to work.

Trying to Get My Week Together

Yep, its Friday and I’m still feeling like I’m just trying to get my week together.  Its been a week with a lot of interruptions . . . Mom-type things like orthodontic wires stabbing cheeks, sore teeth from braces tightening, “Mom, can my friend spend the night?”,  “Wait, no, I don’t want her to spend the night.”,  teenager studying for finals, blow-ups in my son’s Scout troop (for which I, happily, am not the Scoutmaster), and so on and so on.

On top of all this, we have our (last) annual swim party tomorrow, daughter’s 8th grade “promotion”, friend’s son’s high school graduation, Scout events at my house . . . it just seems to go on.

Sound familiar?

I’ve tried my best to get a few things done.  I signed up a new Scout for my troop of girls (Yay!!!).  I’ve written a few blog posts.  Mostly, I’m being gentle with  myself.  Not beating myself up for not getting more done.  Focusing on what I have accomplished versus what I have not.  Because, realistically, its all stuff that can be done next week (not that I’m advocating procrastination).  Everyone is healthy, clothed, fed, and gets to where they need to be mostly on time.  And that’s what’s important.

Its ok for me to take the time to write blog posts, sit here with my coffee and watch birds out the window and spend a few minutes too long scrolling through Facebook and looking for a horse to buy my daughter.

Yep, its ok.

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Rainy Day Struggle

I love the rain.  I love to just sit in my quiet house and watch the rain.  Here’s the view off my back porch . . .

20190116_141643  Our rain always comes from the west, which, conveniently, is the direction my view is.  So I just sit and watch the rain roll across the valley.  Its quite lovely.

And that is what leads to my struggle.  I get very, very little done!

I’ve sat here and stared out the window.  I’ve checked http://www.bayequest.com for new horses to buy.  (I do not need another horse!)  I’ve checked http://www.wunderground.com to see how much more rain is coming.  I play HayDay on my phone.  And, the piles of things I should do, need to do, keep getting higher.

I decide I’m hungry so I wander to the kitchen and find something to eat.  Great, now I’m getting fat while getting nothing productive done!

I consider things to write about for future blog posts.

I get upset that I’m not getting anything done.

Its supposed to rain more tomorrow!!  I do love watching the rain.

Applying Yesterday to Today

I had a really good day yesterday.  As I’m sitting here at my desk, munching a bowl of tortilla chips (hey, at least they’re in a bowl – I don’t just have the entire bag), I’m wondering why today wasn’t quite as productive and what I can learn from all of that.

So, what made yesterday successful and why didn’t those things happen today?

  1.  No work yesterday; had to work this morning.  After work, I had some errands to run so I didn’t get home until after 11.  I grabbed something to eat and then had to run to Pilates.  After Pilates, I ran back home, finished lunch and just had a few minutes before I had to pick up kids from school and run kid-related errands.  I just got back home a few minutes ago.  So, today’s schedule was busier; I didn’t have all that free time to myself.

2.  Diet:  I ate better yesterday (no bowl of chips).  I’ve done pretty well with no sugar today so that’s one win.  Fridays are hard because Pilates is at noon exactly.  So I’m not really hungry before I go.  Afterwards, I’m starving so I come home and eat whatever is quickest, which often doesn’t equal healthiest.  I need to come up with a plan for Friday lunch.

3.  Horses got out yesterday and I played with my pet duck.  Today it rained.  Not much I can do about that.  And, with my schedule today, I didn’t have time to spend in the barn.  I do still need to go throw everyone hay.  I could spend a few minutes with Hazelnut the duck when I’m in the barn in a few minutes.

O.k., so there’s a few things I can change and a few things that are just out of my control (time at work, rain, errands – well, errands are sort of in my control).  But either way, I’m not feeling bad about today and that in itself is an accomplishment.

Things I did well today:

  1.  Went to AAA to get some DMV stuff sorted out that I had been dreading.  It wasn’t as bad or difficult as I had made it up to be in my head.

2.  I’m taking the time to post here in my blog.  Even if no one else reads this, its important for me to do for myself.  So it counts as a “me” thing, which I’m terrible about making time for.

3.  I spent a little bit extra time at work today chatting with some friends.  We continued our conversation from the other day about how we’re going to make this year different and focus more on ourselves (we’re all wives, moms, working, etc.).  I realized that they really can be a good support for me (I struggle with feeling like I have friends).  On Monday we’re all going to report to each other what we did for ourselves this weekend.  I don’t want to let them down!!!

The biggest thing I accomplished today was not  beating myself up and maintaining a positive attitude.  Baby steps!

New Year, Same Goals, Same Challenges

So, its ten days into 2019.  I’m struggling with whether or not that really matters because, let’s face it, my goals are the same as they’ve been for years and so are my challenges.  That strikes me as sort of obvious because clearly I haven’t yet accomplished my goals.

I spent yesterday being fairly depressed over this.  Thoughts like, “what on earth makes me think this year is going to be any different??” kept running through my head.  I’m fabulous at making goals, making plans, coming up with new schemes to motivate myself, etc.  I suck at actually following through.  I’ve got no idea how to change that.  I mean, change that over the long run.  I can manage motivation for a day or two, sometimes even three!  But then, my “life” seems to get in the way and I’m back in the same rut.

I spent some time considering whether or not I’m actually unhappy.  Or whether or not the goals I have stuck in my head are really the ones I want to accomplish.  I didn’t really come up with answers to either of those questions.

What I do know is that I’m feeling better today.  I didn’t have to work today (I LOVE  not going to work) and I’ve managed to stay focused and get some things done.  Plus, its not raining so I was able to turn my horses out.  Working my way down from 30 some emails and getting through the pile on my desk always makes me feel better.  So why can’t I manage to do that every single day??  Not doing what I know makes me happier strikes me as insane but, that’s what I do.

Today I’ve tried to focus on the things in my life that I can control.  I can’t always control the weather (that affects work with the horses) and I can’t always control what my husband is going to drop on my desk for me to do.  But, I can control what I eat – that’s important because I struggle with my weight (I’m probably not overweight but I think I am) and I know that how I physically feel is directly related to my diet.  In other words, eating sugar all day makes me feel crummy.  But I LOVE sugar!!!

So, don’t eat a ton of sugar, right?  Right.  Seems simple enough.  (But so many things SEEM simple.)  So far, so good.  Breakfast was the egg bake casserole thing I made – a few potatoes, eggs, sausage and spinach.  Snack was some super yummy cheese and a tangerine.  Lunch was black beans, cheese and avocado on a tostado.  I have a plan for a cabbage and chicken salad for dinner.

Today is pretty simple because I didn’t have to work and I’ve had a lot of time to myself.  Tomorrow is busier and that’s when my struggles really start.  But, I’ve found my way through this morning.  Hopefully I can find my way through tomorrow too and feel o.k. about it at the end.

Quieting My Head

Lately its been really noisy in my head.  There’s a lot going on in my life – squirrels chewing through our main electrical line, school board issues (Husband is president of our local school board), trying to find a new tenant for one of our rentals (don’t get me started), sick horses (they’re better), difficult cases and people at work . . . plus all the “regular life” stuff like house, kids, etc.

If you’ve read even a single one of my posts, you know that I struggle with self-confidence, feeling lonely, feeling overwhelmed.  I’ve been working super hard to change the negative automatic thoughts running through my head to positive ones.  But the past few weeks, nothing has really been working to quiet my head down.

On Sunday, I decided to try a new strategy.  I decided to wear my cross necklace every day this week.  I’m Catholic . . . went to Catholic elementary school, Mass every Wednesday and Sunday morning.  Its important to me but its not something I talk about much.  Unfortunately, its not something Husband’s family is super supportive of.  (O.k., they’re not at all supportive.)  I actually carry a rosary in my purse and prayer definitely centers me.

20181025_090351   Like I said, its not something I talk about.  So, the decision to wear my cross was sort of a big one.

I have been amazed at how its has quieted my head.  Really!  Its worked.  Its a constant reminder that everyone of us has “stuff” going on.  Its a tangible reminder to slow down, be grateful for what I have and to find the positive.  The past few days, I just simply feel quieter . . . there’s really no other way to explain it.  I had to write about this hear because, unfortunately, there’s really no one in my life I’d feel comfortable expressing that aloud to.