Exactly one month from today, I will be celebrating..that's right..celebrating, 16 years of living life paralyzed. I can still remember the pain, the suffering, anger, devastation, hopelessness and fear that I felt when I really realized that my life was not going to play out exactly how I had planned. I also remember what it felt like when I learned, why I wasn't moving forward and rising above the negatives in my life, was because of the way I was CHOOSING to respond to what was happening. It was liberating!! In life, attitude is EVERYTHING! In this blog, I will share with you some of the tools that I use to CONSCIOUSLY change my response and rise above the negatives that happen in life.
During the first several years after I became paralyzed, I remember having feelings of despair, anger, depression, etc. and constantly asking myself and the universe, when those feelings were going to go away so I could start my new beginning...if there was one. No matter how hard I tried to put on a happy face for everyone around me, I was in complete turmoil and darkness on the inside. It wasn't until I started sharing my story on Myspace.com and started getting positive comments and messages that I realized, that my greatest life set-back had the potential to become my greatest come-back! I received messages telling me how I had motivated someone to make an important life change, and how reading my story helped get someone "unstuck" from a bad personal situation. I started to see that I could use my struggle to empower, not only myself, but others. It was not an ending to my future...it was just the beginning. My new perspective gave me the drive that I needed to take my first official step forward. I was now focusing on the positives, the silver lining if you will, and even more importantly finding purpose and light through my darkest time.
The last (almost) 16 years have not always been what my audience sees today. In fact, I still have my share of struggles daily. By documenting them, I am able to use my challenges to give others a different perspective on how to overcome whatever is holding them back from what they desire in life. At times, I find myself actually silently talking to myself and working to create new thought patterns within my own mind, to keep myself POSITIVELY focused on my goals and the areas in my life I am working to improve. The brain is just like a muscle, it desires to be exercised, strengthened and to grow. Here are three of the "mental exercises" that I like to use when I am feeling negative about a situation or a challenge that is in my way:
- Change your RESPONSE to what is happening- Find the silver lining. In EVERY situation there is a positive. Make it a point to focus on the positive, even if it is a very small positive.
- Changing your THOUGHTS, "Nothing is wrong."- That's right! Something as simple as reminding yourself, that NOTHING IS WRONG can transform the entire situation you are facing and make you feel better, even empowered enough to set out to conquer the challenge. I know right now you are reading this and thinking I am crazy. It can't really be that simple...or can it? The truth is, nothing is ever wrong in our lives. Everything is just as it should be, which is why it's happening! We are the only ones that create the thought that something is wrong in our minds, and it's usually because things are not going our way. We are, after all, human and we really like to get our way and for things to work out as we think they should in our own minds. In the process of trying to get what we desire at that moment, we create turmoil in our brains when things don't work out quite as we had expected. In reality, things are just as they should be and are predicated by the choices we are making each moment in our lives. In order to grow and learn, we have to choose to change our responses to life.
- Meditate- Meditation is ALWAYS my go-to practice when I can not do the steps mentioned above. I mediate literally ANYWHERE. Meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes, taking deep, slow breaths and focusing on just BEING. Simple yet very powerful rest for your brain to reset and focus on a positive feeling.
Using the tools I have listed in this blog are not the only ways to start working on maintaining your a good thought pattern, but they are a good and simple way to start. Sometimes the first step to change is the hardest, but once you start new, positive habits that are self-improving, I promise your world will begin to evolve and change, giving you the space to keep moving forward towards your goals and creating YOUR story. Remember, it's not what has already happened to you in life that counts, but rather your RESPONSE that sets the course towards the outcome.