Helpful Hints

Taking Control of Your Life

Attitude is everything. This phrase has been around forever. What does it mean? For me, this means that in uncontrollable circumstances, I choose to focus on what I can control. When I had to move back from living abroad, I was angry and beside myself. It felt like my life was stolen from me, but it wasn’t. It changed drastically but I was about to go to one of the best medical institutions in the world for treatment. During this time, I chose to focus on the negative but after a month, that got old. No one wants to be unhappy but finding happiness in dark times is hard work. So I started shifting my focus. I was getting great medical care and I was living with people who loved me. The more my perspective changed, the more I realized how many things were going right. This is how I took back my life…

  • Find the Things You CAN Control

This was quite difficult at first but I went to the bare essentials. I could control how much water I drank, what food I chose to fuel my body, and how well I followed treatment protocol. I know, this feels like nothing and it can be painstaking at first but it makes all the difference. There is always something you can control, even if it’s your attitude.

  • Adjust Your Mindset

It will be a long process taking back what you’ve lost. It won’t be easy and it will come with new challenges everyday. If you can accept that and move forward being grateful for what you have. Your focus will be on what you can control and the time will breeze by. Soon your baby steps will be long strides. You got this!

  • Attitude is Everything

This is 100% true. You control your attitude. Whether you put yourself in your circumstances because of poor choices or you were thrust into them with no choice, you decide what the takeaway is. I want to learn and grow, so I look at my day and ask what could I have done better. Focusing on who has wronged you or what you didn’t get doesn’t serve you. There will always be something negative to dwell on. On the flipside, there’s always something to be grateful for. It’s that simple. Pick what you want from your day and you will find it but please don’t let it be something negative. 

  • Learn From Your Mistakes 

It’s easy to wallow in self pity. It’s easy to shift the blame to others. Take responsibility for yourself. Even in a chronic illness situation, you can always do better. I need to learn more patience. I get frustrated and struggle to listen when I have decided I’m right. Yes, I would like to believe I’m right all the time but the simple fact is I’m not. Admitting that I was wrong and that I can do better in the future is vital to move forward. (Even though it’s not fun)

  • Set Goals and Meet Them

Goals are a huge motivator for me. I know this isn’t universally true, if you aren’t a fan of goals, I would suggest finding what motivates you. There’s an excellent podcast entitled Happier that divides personality types into four groups. I would suggest it, if you are struggling to identify what motivated you. If you are a goals type person, set micro and macro goals and start working. It won’t be easy and you won’t always have control over the outcome but don’t give up. The only way to fail is to not try.

I will be the first to admit, I have very little sympathy for the victim mentality. I don’t think it serves any purpose. I am the enabled populations worst nightmare. I believe that anyone can reach their goals but most often it’s our own fear that keeps us from achieving them. It’s horrible to watch people give up because it’s “too hard.” Life is going to be hard. This mentality is what sealed the deal for me on Buddhism. Accepting that life will be challenging, will make it less challenging. It’s the same concept as radical acceptance. Take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and don’t give up. If you don’t believe you can do it, I do. We’re all in this together and my win is your win, just as your win is my win. We will succeed together.

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