We are all human and as perfect as we think we might be, we all have our faults. Life is not about finding the negative, but about embracing ourselves as a whole, accepting others for who they are, and empowering the past. The life you have lived can be either a foundation for the future or an anchor that holds you back. A great way to achieve this is to focus not on the facts of the past, but on how you relate to those difficult situations lived. To help you achieve this, here are some suggestions:
“If a problem can’t be solved within the frame it was conceived, the solution lies in reframing the problem.”
One thing I often tell clients is that you cannot change the past, but you can change your perspective on it. When an event happens, your perception on it is really your interpretation of what happened. This interpretation leads to the meaning, decisions, and conclusions you draw. But remember, we are all different people with different personalities… We see things differently. Therefore, our interpretation of what happened isn’t the only possible interpretation.
I remember speaking to a client who was upset about something that happened to him and how this had affected his social life. We were working on different ways to work through it, and I said, “Don’t allow yourself to talk yourself out of working through this if you don’t see the improvements you are waiting for right away. Take it one step at a time and look at the improvements so far, instead of looking at what you haven’t achieved so far.” He had a face of revelation and said that he had never thought about looking at the glass half full instead of the glass half empty.
In order to begin this change in perspective and set yourself up for a better future, take a look at past events and focus on how you have been framing things. Do you feel that you have been able to look at events, even negative ones, and have felt uplifted by them? Encouraged? Or, do you feel that they have brought you down? Empower yourself to rewrite your perception to a more positive one.
Find the Lessons
“There are certain life lessons that you can only learn in the struggle.”
It is hard to imagine that difficult experiences have something to teach us, yet if you pay attention you will find lessons. The situation might have not been a positive experience, but the lesson to be learned will always be positive and life affirming. It is from these difficult times that we often find the most and biggest lessons.
A client once told me that she had a difficult time growing up because her mother, although very nurturing, never was encouraging of her as an individual. She felt constantly dismissed, and as a result, felt that she had no personality. When I asked how she thought this had affected her, she had many negative things to say. When I asked how she thought this had affected her positively, she had to pause and think about it. After awhile, she said that it was due to this that she began seeking attention from other kids at school and the way she did so was by imitating characters from popular movies or TV shows at the moment. She said that if it weren’t for this, she might’ve not discovered her love and talent for acting.
Take a look at memories from your past and try to find the lessons learned from it. If it becomes difficult, ask yourself first how did it affect me (it’s easier sometimes to think of the negative)? Then, think about how it affected you positively. Also think about, how can I handle this differently in the future in order to obtain better results, or simply to feel about my decisions and actions?
“I can have peace of mind only when I forgive rather than judge.”
Forgiveness is one of those things that is sometimes easier said than done. Yet, the act of forgiveness has so much power, and it’s extremely liberating. You don’t have control over others, you only have control over yourself. Keeping this is mind, you can’t control others hurting you, but you can control how you react to it. Forgiveness keeps relationships clear, honest, and open. It keeps you true to yourself, while lack of forgiveness can be harmful. Have you ever felt bitterness, anger, and resentment build up when you have not forgiven someone? Have you ever felt guilt and remorse when you haven’t apologized for a wrongdoing? Lack of forgiveness doesn’t allow you to feel right with yourself.
As you go through the memories that you’re working on to set yourself up for a better tomorrow, can you think of some that require you to forgive someone? Is there anything you need to apologize for? You might not have very big situations that are in need of either of these, but it’s the act of getting it off your chest that will help you feel lighter and better about yourself.
“Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order.”
Life is tough and situations will continue to arise that will test your limits. During these times, it’s important to remember to appreciate and be grateful for all that life brings you. No matter how difficult life’s curves are, you can find things to be grateful for. Be grateful for your health, even if you are struggling through an illness, appreciate the level of health you do have. Be grateful for friends and family, as difficult as they may be. Be grateful for today. Be grateful for what you have.
Looking back at past events, be grateful for how they have helped shape you to be the person you are today. If you don’t like the person you are today, be grateful for the ability to be able to change. Be grateful and appreciate all of the positive things you have done, including empowering yourself for a better tomorrow.
If you would like help in empowering yourself to make the necessary changes to achieve a better tomorrow, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our Orlando mental health counselors.