Choosing positivity

An Oak Tree

Often in our own lives, it is so interesting how we allow past experience to define who we are and therefore our current state of mind.
So often, we allow bad experiences to mould us, and shape our frame of thinking , which then influences our own actions and sense of self.
I am learning that the human mind is a powerful entity. It is influenced by so many factors, including our own upbringing, childhood, life experience as well as our own genetic susceptibility to how we deal with life events around us.
It can be an amazing source of power in terms of knowledge, creativity, success , ambition and other qualities, but it can also be our greatest adversary. If we allow, it can become the most dangerous and deceptive part of our own being that we are bound to.
I always tell people, that the greatest barrier to anyone’s achievements or successes or development, isn’t anyone else, but themselves. ….self doubt, low self worth, low self esteem…the list is endless.
The interesting thing is most of these feelings are shaped by our own thinking, which has been moulded or chiselled into our own schema and has become so concrete it is difficult to realign.
Lately, I have visited some animal sanctuaries to take abandoned dogs out for walks, they have been rehomed because they were either found neglected or mistreated. It is interesting to note that when they are first taken on by the volunteers at the sanctuary, the most prevalent behaviour is a mistrust and timid presentation which is often an illustration of past abuse /neglect. But, it is also an interesting observation, that after several months; much care, love and nurturing, the dogs seem more responsive, brighter, affectionate and happy animals and are often not recognisable as the frail, vulnerable animals that first appeared several months prior.
I also wonder about the capacity of an animal’s retention in it’s historic episodes of abuse. Some animals remain weary and some, not so weary. One thing that is very clear is the value of care giving and love from the carer’s perspective in helping the dog rebuild it’s trust and sense of worth.
I think this is an important illustration and a theory that can be applied to the concept of how fragile we all are at some point as human beings.
It is very easy to allow experiences in childhood, or teenage years, such as being bullied or perhaps not feeling loved or respected, define our sense of self worth. They especially are delicate years where our own sense of identity and frame of thinking is being developed, therefore difficult or complex relationships can possibly disjoint our frame of thinking and create an unstable sense of self worth. This often creates a ‘snowball’ effect, in which our self esteem is low and our own boundaries become fragile so we allow the wrong types of relationship into our lives which can erode our sense of self worth even further and so a ‘domino’ effect can be created and as humans we can lose our sense of true self. When we are mistreated we feel this is all we deserve because we don’t even know our own value or sense of self worth or we would never have allowed such mistreatment in the first place.
Thoughts are a powerful phenomena, because they guide our own feelings which map our actions in life. But the most important thing that influences our thoughts is words spoken over us. So I feel it is so important to sieve negativity out of the mind.
It is so easy to dwell on past negativity, unkind words or criticism spoken over us, which if we ruminate upon too much can swamp the mind and have a detrimental impact upon our own self perception and self worth.
This is why the value of encouragement; encouraging ourselves and encouraging others is so vital in our lives.
Criticising someone is as destructive as felling a tree. It quells the life/the potential the tree had.
A tree gives out beauty from its everchanging leaves through the seasons, it also brings shelter in the storms of life, it is a nesting place for many species of life and most significantly it’s purpose is to deplete the atmosphere of it’s sources of carbon dioxide, which has a detrimental impact as we know on environment, hence the tree has a purpose and needs nourishment , not destruction!
We can liken ourselves to a tree by producing fruit in our own lives as we too are nourished as humans through kindness and love that surrounds us. And overcoming hurts, negativity and bitterness surrounding us that would extinguish the beauty we have the potential to exude.
An encouraging kind word is like a tree planted by water, that is nourished and quenched at the very roots in order to grow , flourish and blossom. The branches and blossoming leaves are an outward reflection of the health of the root of the tree.
I think the portrayal I try and illustrate is evident, the objective is how to achieve positive thoughts regardless of our past and upbringing and how we allow our thoughts to shape our own lives.
In life, I think through meeting people with complex lives and from my own experience it is the value of truly letting go of what has gone before, forgiveness and not looking back on life. But living in the present here and now, starting each new day positively, hanging onto positive thoughts, memories, kind words that linger and nurture a positive spirit and forgetting negativity and bad experience. I think the most valuable gift is in forgiveness and trying to see positivity in each individual , goodness in those we have met in life, despite their apparent failings or misdemeanours and learning to see own self positively, managing our own sense of self and having an inner identity as firmly rooted as that of an oak tree and that is a daily choice of meditating on the goodness in our lives , forgiving and forgetting the things of the past and embracing the future and believing in the power and greatness of love that exists beyond our own imagining through the gift of faith.


Choosing to stay positive

I have often heard people say, that our feelings our guided by our thoughts.

Each day we make different choices in our lives, but liimageke a pebble that skims a lake surface, there will always be a ripple effect.

The same can be said of our actions.

I have a variety of CDs that I listen to as I drive to work. The Cds provoke different emotion.

Evidently, powerful music provokes powerful emotion and often allows expression. It is well known that what we listen to affects our feelings. Classical music induces relaxation, Dance music may provoke adrenalin and a serotonin boost, and so on.

The point is, that despite our circumstances, we make a choice to remain positive despite adversity.

Choose the positive , happy CD that inspires hope and happiness, self confidence.

Nobody else is responsible for our own happiness. We need to make that choice for ourselves. Each day. Every day. Writing a gratitude list.

Recently I started beginning my day with a quiet prayer of trust in the day.

And ending the day with gratitude. Learning to be grateful for things that are so easily taken for granted but so precious.

Health, Family, Friends, being alive I am so grateful for today.

It is so easy to question the meaning of existence, when we survive in a highly pressured, 9 to 5 culture.

But if we take a step back, in a quiet moment , set aside each day, to reflect, there are always things to be grateful for, things we could have done better and things we will learn from.

Life is a journey. Full of stepping stones. But we each choose our destination.

Often, it is easy to become so absorbed in what we think matters, to what actually matters the most.

So many people have to endure the pain of acquiring wisdom through the virtue of hindsight, looking back on life’s emotional rollercoaster,.

But we don’t need to endure that if we make wiser choices.

Choosing to forgive, instead of harbouring a grudge, will set us free.

Choosing to love, even when we don’t always feel like loving somebody.

Choosing to change our perspective to a higher perspective.

Choosing to open our minds to people around us, accepting others as they are, without our own bias or prejudice.

Choosing to see beauty in each day. Choosing to see the good in people, instead of the bad. Nobody is perfect.

Persevering in life, through hardships and pain, even when there appears to be no other way out,

Sunshine always follows rain,

A harsh winter is always followed by the fresh inviting evolution of a bright spring, daffodils and newborn lambs bleating in the fields.

Sunrise always follows sunset

And I truly believe out of bad, always comes goodness.

One of the most profound experiences of my life was working nightshift on an oncology ward, because I spent lots of time with people facing terminal illness.

After I had dished out a variety of anti sickness medication and pain relief to alleviate symptoms of this ferocious illness, I would often engage in the most meaningful of conversations I have or will ever have in my life. I treasured this time. I will never forget those quiet times at night, the feelings of fear expressed by those suffering and the hopelessness at leaving behind a life they adored and a family they cherished deeply.

It invoked a sense of powerlessness within me. Because there was nothing I could do or say that would ever pacify this situation. All I could do was listen. And enable it to change me and my perspective.

Often in life we face situations and we are desperate for resolution, or for something or someone to change, we all we actually need is change within ourselves.

I have found much solace in the value of acceptance. There will be things I can control. There will be things I cannot control. But the greatest ability I have within is to accept when I have no control and make a change in myself to allow growth in the situation.

Comfort does not promote growth.

A flower does not flourish under a constant shower of rain or a blast of prolonged sunshine, instead it withers and dies.

Our spirits lie within us, in a similar fashion, in order to grow, we need to embrace change and growth and adapt to the conditions around us even painful and challenging situations because they enhance the greatest growth within us.

Working in the oncology ward changed me, it gave me insight into my abilities as a person, what I found fulfilling, what I did not find fulfilling and where I wanted to make the most difference. It also instigated a transition in my concrete mindset that ensured I would always embrace life to the best of my ability, people, places , things.

Never wasting a precious day or moment. Attempting to try and live on good terms with those around me at all times, attempting to strip away any negative feeling within me, through the power of forgiveness or choosing to ask forgiveness to those I had hurt.

I would rather swallow pride than live in regret. It is a very hard lesson to learn. And nobody really need to wait until it is too late to make that mistake. A fight and negativity can last a few days/weeks/even years but regret stays with you for a lifetime and an eternity. It is a choice.

So too is our choice to live in a positive mindset , being grateful for those things around us and valuing everything around us.

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