Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to Fix Your Life in Three Easy Steps
I love seeing the "Life is good" character smiling more frequently on car bumpers and t-shirts. My favorite ball cap (given to me by a dear friend) has that infectious grin, along with their totally true motto. 

Life IS good! Sometimes you have to work at it a little. Sometimes, it seems like everything sucks at once. But, never fear, dear hearts, there is a way to get your mojo pumping again.

1. Fall in love with your life. Remember when you were so stoked about that job? The one that you hate now? What happened? One problem may be that you've been there awhile and everything seems boring or stressful. Think back about when you took that job in the first place. What excited you about it? When I first became a teacher, I couldn't wait to mold young minds and infuse them with fabulous English skills. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help my students grow and mature, as a reader/writer as well as a person. Of course, there are challenges with any job. It isn't called it "work" for nothing! There were certainly times when teaching got to me. During those times, I focused more on the things about teaching that ignited those original sparks.  I also prayed every morning on my way to school, offering myself as a servant to the kids and other teachers. And, really, isn't that what all job are about anyway? Who do you serve? How can you bring a servant's heart to your workplace?

How's your relationship (spouse, kids, friends, family)? Again, look back on the things that made you "fall in love" in the first place. Drop the nagging and scolding. See the people in your life as the precious gifts they are. Catch them being "good".....and tell them! Express your appreciation for all they do for you -- and mean it. Direct your focus to the positive things about the person or the relationship, rather than harping on the negative. 

What about your relationship with you? Do you appreciate all that your body does? Do you put yourself first or last? Remember, if you don't fill your bucket first, you can't fill anyone else's. Do things you used to enjoy, but haven't done in awhile. Love to dance (like me!)? Put on that salsa CD and go crazy while you cook or clean. Love art? Go to a museum. Do things that bring joy to your heart, and it won't take long before your life doesn't look like the pile of shit you thought it was a few days or weeks ago. 

2. Practice Gratitude I've written about gratitude before, mainly because I really, really believe in it. There is always something to be grateful for, although sometimes you may need to look at things a different way to see it. I found a poster on the internet around Thanksgiving many moons ago that was a perfect example. It listed some of those annoyances that tend to generally piss people off. And yet, the author always found a positive spin on each "negative." It read something like this: Even so, I am Thankful for...the mess after a party because it means I have friends.....the spot on the far side of the parking lot because it means I can walk...the taxes I pay because it means I'm employed. (Does anyone know the author? I googled it, but couldn't find much.)

It's all about the attitude, baby, and an attitude of gratitude is THE way to go.

3. Extend Grace First, cut yourself some fucking slack. Stop berating yourself in your head. I know you do it, because I do it too. I think we all do, although some of us more than others. I was the worst about negative self-talk. I have said things to me that I'd NEVER say to another human being.  Now, that's fucked up. I've made a real effort to cut back on the negative self talk. How am I doing? Let's just say, I'm better than I was.

Now, cut your fellow humans some slack. They're doing the best they can with what they've got at the moment. And so are you. I'll put that another way: whatever the situation, you're doing the best you can with what you've got at that moment. The next moment may be different, but in that moment, you're doing the best you can.....and so is everyone else. 

See? Three easy steps. Simple, but not necessarily easy. Give it a shot and report back. I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Does your life need fixing? Have you tried any of these steps? Did it help?

Have you been there?

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Yes! I've been there, Claire!