It often seems that the most profound, life-changing concepts to occur to me are the most simple to comprehend. The kind of thing that should have been right in front of my face the whole time, I just failed to see it. Things like living in the present and that your thoughts create your emotions instead of vice versa. Along those same lines, it hit me one morning as I stirred around in bed wondering what kind of day I was going to have, that I was going to have whatever kind of day I decided to have. Duh, lightbulb. This whole time I have been operating under the assumption that day-to-day life is something that just happens to me and I have to roll with the punches. It’s not. Every morning when I open my eyes, I now know I must set my intention to have a positive day and stick to it. When you live with intention instead of just reacting to things that are thrown at you, you’re one step ahead and that is a place I always want to be.
It’s easy to write off negative events and emotions as something out of our control. It relieves us of any responsibility and ultimately no one wants to have to own up to the idea that we are the masters of chaos within our own lives. But just like in addiction, the first step of recovery is to identify you have a problem, and 9 times out of 10 we are the source of our own bad luck. Once you recognize where the issues are stemming from, it becomes so easy to correct.
For me, I started that very morning and every morning after. I no longer wake up and wonder what the day will bring. Instead I wake up and think about all the ways I am blessed and what tactics I can employ to make this day the best it can be. As cliché as it may be, there is a reason behind the saying “live each day as if it’s your last.” One day it will be the last one. Did you want to spend it hurting, angry, arguing with people around you about petty things, hating your job or miserable within your relationships? Of course not. I want to spend my last day on this earth with people I care about doing something I love with a smile on my face. So as a preventative measure, that is how I intend to spend every day.
I am not naïve to the fact that bad days happen to the best of us. Sometimes it seems like no matter what I do or how positive I try to be, I will have one of those days where I’m taking hit after hit after hit and there is truly nothing in my control that can be done. When these things happen, all you can do is keep that mindset of counting the blessings you DO have and reminding yourself that nothing lasts forever and this too shall pass.
One thing that has helped me make this switch is creating lists at night. When I lay down to sleep, I open the notes on my phone and make a to-do list for the following day. This goes back to being one step ahead. I am now prepared with a solution to any existing obstacles, and there truly is something to getting things out of your head and in print that makes them more tangible and likely to be achieved. Now when any unexpected problems arise, they won’t be compounded with other troubles, which makes them a little less stressful. There is also a silly sense of fulfillment from being able to check something off a list that makes me feel more positive and productive, even if it’s something stupid like paying bills or getting groceries. This feeling always guides me to make more decisions that make me feel that way.
Every day we face challenges within and outside ourselves. Sometimes the battles we’re facing are interactions with negative people. We’re forced to work with unhappy individuals, and everyone knows that hurting people hurt people. Try to employ empathy in these situations and remind yourself this is an internal conflict that has nothing to do with us. And always limit the amount of time you have to spend around negativity. I firmly believe there are people and situations who will drain you because they need your energy in place of their own which is lacking. Do everything in your power to avoid this and surround yourself with people who multiply your happiness instead of subtracting it. And in the event it is a day where the battle you’re facing is within yourself, get to the root of the issue as quickly as possible, address it and come to the simplest solution. We often complicate things that have a much easier answer. “I am distressed because I don’t like my job.” Ok, so find another one and quit. For every minute you spent wallowing in your misery you could have been applying for a new one on Indeed. Simple.
There is so much joy and relief in taking control and accountability of one’s own life. Beginning the day with intention by saying “I WILL have a great day and this is how,” can change the course of your life. You begin to accept that maybe the whole day wasn’t a crap shoot, that instead there was one negative incident which has already passed and it’s you who won’t let it go, thus ruining the entire 24-hour gift you’ve been given. It’s not cool or edgy or unique to be miserable and negative all the time. I’ve wasted so much of my time being pessimistic and expecting the worst and you know what it’s gotten me? The worst. So I’m trying my hand at this optimism and positivity thing and I hope you’ll join me. Really, what do we have to lose?