Don’t get distracted! Stick to your plan and don’t waiver from your standards. You have worked hard to learn and grow from the past and create healthy boundaries. Stop making exceptions to your rules only to quickly realize it isn’t making you happy. It just creates more work sometimes to engage in conversation with a person you know is not in alignment with what you want. It is possible to be nice and still say no. It is okay to completely ignore a random private social media message. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I can be too nice sometimes. I never want to be rude or disrespectful. However, there comes a point when you realize that some people are just no longer in alignment with the path you are on or maybe they never were. If you stay focused usually they fade out in time, but sometimes we feel obligated to keep re-connecting, maybe out of guilt, habit, or memories of a shared past. These friends, family members or romantic ties can be unhealthy and always leave you feeling drained and disappointed because they are no longer in alignment with the version of yourself that you desire to be. How do you let go of unhealthy relationships and not feel guilty?
You can take a moment to really refocus. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day of life and lose track of the bigger picture of what we are working for. We all have a bigger plan in life with goals and dreams and some people can lose sight of those goals and dreams when they get mixed up with the wrong people. People, places, and things can happen in our lives that leave us on auto pilot. If we don’t purposefully stop and question ourselves we can end up months, even years down the road wondering where things went wrong. How did I get so off course? This was not what my plan! How am I this old and not accomplished anything I said I would?
I often think of the GPS in my car when I get off course and she states “rerouting”. This is a perfect analogy for what we should all be doing in our lives regularly. Check-in with yourself and make sure you feel good about where you are and clear about where you are going. Be honest with yourself and address areas of your life that do not agree with how you see your best self. Do not just keep pushing through in relationships, jobs, and situations that do not agree with how you want to see yourself. Reassess and make a plan that puts you back on the road to reaching your goals. This is true in every aspect of our lives, diet and exercise, home and self care, our careers and school, devotion to family. Are you taking time to check in with yourself and make sure you are on a path that leads to a happy and healthy version of yourself? On this Monday I ask you to check-in and see where you might need a realignment.
We all have a past and we all have had crappy things happen in our childhood that have imprinted on us to some degree. We have all had struggles in relationships with friends, family and especially romantically to some degree. We have all had sad moments in life from losing a job, a loved one, or a relationship to divorce or break-up. No matter how tragic or extreme the lows and highs have been in your life there is a time when you have to take inventory and ask how you plan to move forward. Acknowledge and feel those emotions attached to past events, give yourself time to sit with them but don’t wallow in it and keep asking why me? There is healthy time for healing and then there is time to ask if you really want this to define you moving forward.
I have a close friend who had a bad childhood. His father was a drunk who would go on tirades throwing things and yelling and would hit him and his mother when he was growing up. He would be embarrassed when his father would show up to school events drunk and sometimes even had wet his pants. He was later bullied in school for being the son of the town drunk. He did go on to college and ended up becoming successful. He had the nice home and cars, a place on the lake and a beautiful family but in time his workaholic ways caused his marriage to dissolve and they ended up in a divorce. Depression took over when his children left for college and started their own journey. Contact with kids was few and far between and he was living alone for the first time in years. When he did finally start to date again he was stressed with work and the financial toll the divorce and paying for two kids in college had taken on him. So he let out his frustrations in the new relationship. When things got bad he would frequently refer back to not just the current stress in his life but the past abuse and negative experiences growing up in his home and the bullying in school. It was obvious that all the negativity was consuming him and adding to his depressive state.
So how do you pull away from this thought pattern? Depression, anxiety, worry, stress…these feelings can follow us around like a dark cloud and be hard to shake. It takes small steps to slowly pull yourself out of the darkness of this thinking pattern. Sometimes it may even take the help of medication while going through counseling to address old hurt, anger, insecurities and other negative feelings. However, if you find that you are not completely consumed then maybe you have just found it easy to blame the past when you succumb to bad behavior. Maybe it has become a crutch or an excuse, like a get out of jail free card to be an asshole to those around you? You say something ugly in the heat of the moment and then apologize later using your difficult past as the reasons why you lash out. This may work for a while but most people around you will begin to grow weary of this cycle. Only you truly know the truth, but I encourage you to be really honest with yourself because in the long run you are only hurting yourself.
If you are aware enough to recognize that your past is the reason you lash out each time at what point do you start doing something about it? Saying your sorry means you understand something is wrong and you plan to change the behavior. If you continue to apologize but the behavior never changes, well then are you even really sorry? Take responsibility for your words and actions towards those around you and take an active role in making the hard but necessary change to be better. There are people in this world who use their past struggles to learn and grow and do better as they move through life and build a better future. Then there are those who continue to use their struggles as an excuse to be angry, selfish, and ugly in life. Be honest with yourself and address these negative patterns. Each day is a new day and a new beginning. Don’t let your past dictate your future.
The first step in addressing the negativity is to stop focusing on it. Change your perspective and you can change your life. Find things in your life that you are thankful for, count your blessings before you go to bed each night and again when you wake. Meditate and let your mind retrain itself to let go and be still to stop the cycle of constant worry. Stop referring back to your past when you do wrong in the present. Take time to pat yourself on the back by taking pride in how far you have come and all you have accomplished. Take time in your day to relax and do something that brings you joy. Start complimenting and finding things you appreciate in those around you. Look for the positive first instead of the negative in every situation and person you encounter. All of these things may seem simple but when practiced daily they can change your entire life.
I cannot stress enough how important it is for every person on the planet to learn the art of meditation and practice the power of positive thinking. If you can train for a marathon, body building, yoga, or any sport then you understand that the mental aspect is just as important if not more than the physical. To achieve it you have to believe it. Even if you have never trained for anything in your life it doesn’t matter because it is guaranteed that you still have thoughts and feelings on a daily basis. So ask yourself what do your primary thoughts and feelings consist of?
I have been doing my routine of being thankful throughout each day on a regular basis. This has grown into me giving thanks over my food before I eat and asking it to benefit my body in the most positive way. Then learning to go through each daily activity with intention, whether it be washing my hands or the dishes or simply saying hello to a stranger. Being in the present moment throughout the day and not on auto pilot. Stoping occasionally to ask how my body feels, take a deep intentional breath and mentally check in and be aware of myself and my surroundings. Understanding that the only point and time that really matters is this moment right now. All of these things are, to some degree, a form of a meditation practice.
It is also important to be aware of how you think, speak, and feel in day to day life. Are you avoiding gossip, removing yourself from negative people and places and negative conversations and situations? Are you trying to focus on more positive aspects of life and learning to avoid complaining to your friends and family about all the things you wish were different or things that caused you frustration? Retraining the brain to focus more on positive thoughts and feelings can be the first step in healing.
I am a big fan of Jason Stephenson when it comes to finding good healing and positive meditations or a soothing sleep meditation. The practice of meditation to sit and breath and let your mind clear and just be still is hard at first, but with continued practice the results are amazing. With all the amazing apps for smart phones I cannot believe everyone isn’t taking advantage of the guided meditation lessons! I love Calm and Headspace! Incorporating meditation into your morning and evening routines can be very beneficial and help with focus and productivity throughout your day as well as reduce stress and anxiety. The long term health benefits of daily meditation are endless and even more beneficial when combined with a regular yoga practice and a Ayurvedic diet. Try the positive meditation with Jason Stephenson that I shared with this post and let me know what you think!