Thursday, June 23, 2016

Let go of the negative for a positive impact on your life

Thought of the Day:

"Let go of the negative for a positive impact on your life." Penelope Winthrop

How do you make room for all the awesomeness that is you when all you can focus on are the negatives in your life? Yes, I have been in your shoes! I have sat exactly where you sit! I wasn't good enough for this or maybe I wasn't good enough for that. Why didn't he love me enough? Why wasn't I ever enough for him?

I constantly beat myself up over everything. Why did it always seem like the world was moving against me in so many ways that I simply couldn't keep my head up over the water? I was drowning, completely drowning—and I felt like I had absolutely nobody to turn to or lean on for support. In fact, there have been several points in my life that I wished I would just die—right there. Bam! Car crash or freak lightning accident... just something to end my life so that I wouldn't have to face up to the fact that my pitiful and disgusting life was never going to be like those I envied or admired. It's a sad, sad life to live when you see things from that point of view. It's normal to feel bad about yourself at some point in life. It's part of the growing process.

Almost two years ago, I injured my shoulder rock-climbing and bouldering, which I managed to worsen through going inverted with some yoga poses—go figure. This resulted in an injury to my supraspinatus tendon in my left shoulder. It's only a tiny tear, so I opted to try and rehabilitate it without surgery. It took a little more than a year to do so, which was amazing. I started lifting weights again about six months ago and things were looking up. I felt great because I had regained almost all range of motion and wasn't feeling pain.

Then, on one particular day a couple of months ago, an incident happened that reinjured the same shoulder. Because, of course, what else did I expect? (This was my attitude at the time.) I felt shocked with disbelief for about a week or two. I thought maybe if I ignored it long enough that it would go away. Obviously, that didn't happen. Then I was sad and cried frequently for about another week. The past couple of weeks, I've been angry because I worked incredibly hard on my shoulder for a long time. It wasn't like I snapped my fingers and it was fixed. All that work—just for it to be shot in a single moment.

As if that weren't bad enough, I ran into a doorway with my hip. I hit it so hard that my body vibrated with shockwaves. Needless to say, I waited about a week for the pain to subside. Well, I thought it was gone and picked up running again, but surprise, surprise, I managed to irritate my bursa on my outer hip and I'm currently waiting for that to heal.

Basically, I've finally arrived at acceptance. I have to let my body heal, so I'll be getting back to rehabilitating my body starting today. I was sad, but I've learned the past couple of years that the sooner I focus on fixing myself, the sooner I can get back to working out the way I want to work out.

Sure it seems like a simple thing that isn't worth dwelling on. You get hurt. You heal. If you haven't been an athlete practically your entire life, then you won't understand the trapped feelings or the discontentment with not being able to work your feelings out through sweating or the calm that washes over you when you do yoga. Being physically active is much like breathing to me. I absolutely need it in my life. It is essential for my survival because it helps me attain peace of mind, not to mention that it's good for your body.

Anyway, my point is that I could have continued to be angry and only think about all the things I can't do right now. However, I've found that I only feel worse when I hold on to the very things that are upsetting me. Now, you might be thinking, "Penelope, you make it seem so easy, but it's not easy at all and you really don't understand what I'm going through." You're absolutely right, I can't possibly know exactly what you're going through. For starters, I might not even know you at all! What I do know is that once you begin to let go of the negative things you're holding onto, you make room for all the positive things to enter your life.

Consider these tips:

1. It's a choice. You have to actively let go of whatever is holding you back. Be prepared to run into your own resistance. If you feel it creeping in your head, acknowledge that it's there, and then find some way to let it float away—almost like a balloon or a leaf floating off in a strong breeze.

2. You can't change the past. Stop playing the "What if?" game. Everyone makes bad decisions, but you don't have to punish yourself for the rest of your life. If a former love left you for someone else, stop imagining that he/she is coming back because chances are they're never coming back.

3. Yes, it's scary. Anytime you step out of your comfort zone, it can be frightening. The future is uncertain and that makes many people uncomfortable, which is also why many remain exactly where they are—no matter how bad the situation. The past is easy when the future is unknown.

4. Don't deny your feelings. When you begin to let go, you can't deny your feelings exist. Often, we lie to ourselves to make us feel better about our true feelings. Once you can be truthful with how you feel, then you can begin to move beyond those feelings. Eventually, even though you probably won't forget them, you will no longer feel overwhelmed by them.

5. Find an outlet. Meditation and yoga are excellent methods for focusing on the present moment. It requires focus. Exercise, such as running, swimming, and biking, is also good for letting off some steam. Or perhaps martial arts or kickboxing is more your thing? Physical activity increases your endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.

6. You don't have to forgive to let go. There is a misconception when it comes to letting go versus forgiving. There is a huge difference between letting go and forgiving the person who has wronged you. For example, I thought for a long time that I had forgiven my biological mother for being a shitty and selfish parent, but I'm not quite so certain I have forgiven her. I cut her completely out of my life and let it all go. I don't want her around at all. I don't need her drama and lies. She'll never change and I'm OK with leaving her to live her life—without me and my children in it. And yes, I'm completely at peace with that decision. She rarely crosses my mind, to be honest. It was a healthy move and I won't apologize for it.

7. Talk about it and face it head on. Find someone you trust that will be there to let you vent. You have to get it off of your chest. Otherwise, it will eventually explode. Again, once you've started to let go, you won't want to talk about it as often. Also, by staring it in the face, you can figure out how to tackle it instead of avoiding it.

8. You have to fight for it. More people are resistant to change than not. In most cases, individuals find that change is extremely difficult because every ounce of your soul moves against you in the beginning. Put your gloves on, and get ready to fight. In fact, there are days that I still struggle when I'm having a bad day, but the difference now is that when I experience the resistance, I see it immediately and it makes it easier to keep pushing forward.

9. Make time for you. If you have to schedule it, then do it. Don't avoid taking care of the most important person in your life. Psst... That's you!

10. Learn to love yourself. Think about it, when you love someone else, you don't want to cause them any pain, right? Well, it's the same principle. Someone who loves you will never emotionally or physically abuse you. Don't abuse yourself and don't allow others to do it either!

11. Think positive thoughts. Yeeessss... these do work! They work even when you don't think they're working. It's a process. At first, you're going to think it's the stupidest thing you could ever do. Keep doing it, though. You'll find that it changes your mind for the better eventually. Positive thoughts don't necessarily turn you into a bubbly, happy person, but they open your eyes to the possibilities around you. Don't expect it to happen right away. Patience, my child, patience.

12. Surround yourself with good people. If you have toxic people in your life, family included, cut them out—like I did with my biological mother. It took years for me to do it, but it feels so good without her. Find those good people and hold onto them. You want them in your corner.

13. Never compare yourself. You can't possibly compare yourself to others because you can never be them—no matter how hard you try. You can only be you. How can you be the best version of yourself if you're busy comparing your achievements to another's? You can't be them so stop doing it. Accept who you are—flaws in all. This goes hand-in-hand with learning to love yourself.

14. Examine your expectations. If you expect that you're going to be happy when you do this or do that, you won't. When you accept who you are, then you won't feel like a complete failure when you don't achieve something.

If you want to find your future, then you have to stop living in the past. When you finally let go, you can focus on building something more amazing than you could have ever imagined. I can't promise that it's going to be easy—because it won't. It's going to probably be fucking hard, but it will be worth it. Just don't give up before you get there. On days when you feel like quitting, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you're a fucking warrior taking on life one step at a time. If you have already hit bottom and have gone through hell, then I ask you—what do you have to lose?

Thanks for reading!

If you want to connect, I frequently post motivational memes, among other pictures, on Instagram.

A photo posted by Crystal (@penelopewinthrop) on

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