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.
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.