Ever Wonder Why You Encounter Negative Experiences?

If you are undergoing a negative experience, think of it merely as a life situation. Situations change. Sometimes, it is hard to see what good might come from a negative circumstance—an illness, a death, an injury—but there are things you can do to grow from each and every one, no matter what life dishes out.

Although your beliefs may lead you to a place where it is inconceivable to see the situation in a good light, you can shift your thinking. You can change your mind. Realize that whatever you are going through is temporary and that you can ease the emotional discomfort.

Understand the Purpose of the Circumstance

We encounter challenging situations because we are meant to grow. Without that situation, with everything going well, we would miss the opportunity to learn. Further, some situations force us into action, and without that experience, we would miss out on some of the good things life has to offer. When you are unhappy about a circumstance, ask yourself:  What am I learning about myself at a deep level? Your answer will lead you closer to understanding its purpose.

Assess Your Response

When you confront a negative situation, examine your response. Are you sad? Are you confused? Are you angry? Figure out what you are feeling, and then examine whether your response is desirable. For example, you become angry at your boss because he gave someone else the promotion you wanted, and while you might think your reaction is appropriate, the anger only hurts you, so change your thinking. If you consider that maybe the other guy deserved to be promoted too, and your boss had a tough time making that decision, you will achieve greater clarity. By examining circumstances, and understanding them better, you will be effectively turning down the emotional intensity.

Change Your Focus  

You need not focus on a troubling circumstance, even if it seems important. You can place your attention elsewhere. Our advice may appear rather flippant. After all, we don’t know what you are going through, but we do know that when we are experiencing challenges, we need a shift in perception. We go to the park, or watch an inspirational film, or visit a friend, and we are in a better place emotionally so we can handle the situation with clarity. On the other hand, if we dwell on the situation, it keeps us from enjoying the day, and nothing improves.

Experience the Joy

Finally, think about things that bring you joy and make sure to put more of these activities into your life. While this sounds rather difficult to accomplish when you are confronting a major life issue, making small moves away from negativity can go a long way to provide momentum to create a better life.

How well do you know yourself?

In a guest post we did for Daily Muse, we wrote about how we see self-love. Today, we begin a series of blog posts to help you love yourself. There are many roads to self-love, but there are a few things you can do to connect with it, and the only way is to really know who you are. We will give you the tools to get to know yourself better in the coming weeks.

Understanding who you are at the core, and knowing your true preferences, and the reasons for your choices, is not as easy as it seems, because getting to know yourself is a process. It takes time. To get you on that road, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you like?
  • Do you like something simply because someone else likes it?
  • Do you look to others for advice for every decision you make?
  • When you make a decision, is it what you want, or is it a decision that is aligned with someone else’s preference?
  • What are your values?
  • Are your choices representative of those values?

Looking closer at your likings and examining your decisions is just the beginning of self-discovery. It is important because if you say yes to every invitation or every request without proper consideration, you may end up doing things you don’t like and making decisions that are not aligned with your values.

For now, just keep this in mind: if you do the right thing for you–not necessarily what seems right to others–you will begin to make decisions that lead to a more authentic life. And you cannot make a mistake. Every decision you make paves the way for personal growth. Knowing yourself, and doing what is right for you, is the beginning of self-love.

Surrender: Our Thoughts on Lisa Williams’ Send it Out to the Universe Post

We were reading psychic medium Lisa Williams’ blog post titled “Send it Out to the Universe” where she wrote about the idea of acceptance and surrender. She wrote that surrendering to whatever is happening is very powerful. Lisa went on to explain that sometimes we blow things out of proportion. It is true. At the moment something is occurring, we think that it is the most significant thing that will ever happen to us. Of course, we know that is not true, but that does not get in the way of our obsessing about it.

Still, surrendering seems impossible during difficult times. But if you can get there, surrender can be liberating.  We especially like this line in Lisa’s post: ” …when you just release it, your journey will take you where you need to go, and with who you need to go with. ”

How do you get there when things look dismal? There is no simple solution. Surrendering  is possible only after processing a situation. You are presented with a problem, you think about it, you question the truth of it, you work through it, and you get to a point where you can let it go. Don’t hold tight to negative thoughts, but don’t ignore them either, and realize that distraction does not work.  Work through the issue. Once you have gotten used to the circumstance, thought about it, entertained possible outcomes, and considered potential actions, you will be more inclined to fall into surrender mode.

Surrendering seems almost the opposite of purposefully navigating your life, but that is not true. Live your life by your values, be aligned with your soul’s purpose, and set intentions, but realize that you cannot force things to happen. Simply allow life to unfold like a flower with your eyes wide open and you will get a taste of how to let go.

What to do about life’s little interruptions

Interruptions are inevitable. When you want to get something done, and you live with others, there will be times when your plans are thwarted. Sometimes, you really can accomplish what you set out to do no matter what, but it is less enjoyable and the intrusions lead to frustration. How do you recover from being interrupted? Do you keep going back to it after each pause, or do you give up? There is no right or wrong answer for this, but living in the “now” can really help.

Pema Chodron once said: “Every moment is unique, unknown, completely fresh.” In one of her talks, she discusses the fact that even when you fold laundry, it is a unique experience. Housework appears repetitive, but it is not. Recognizing that every moment is new and precious and that you really never know what is going to happen next, may at least help you deal with the nature of change. After all, the interruption may not have been part of your plan, but it is life. It is what is happening at the moment.

And there are practical things you can do too. Plan your tasks and do them in spite of what is going on around you. If you do not finish what you started—unless you have a hard deadline, schedule it for another time. If you do have time constraints, arrange your environment so you are not interrupted again. But when you plan to do a few ordinary tasks, and they don’t get done, lighten up. As Scarlett O’Hara famously said “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Sometimes, we have to just call it a day and start again the next.

Don’t Get Caught Up in the Season

While you are preparing for Christmas don’t forget yourself. How do you manage that when you only have 24 hours in a day? Streamline your activities. Write a list of everything you feel you want to get done by the holiday, and then scratch off anything that can wait until next year. As for the rest, decide what to keep. For example, you may want to nix the holiday cards or say no to a few invitations in order to create space in your calendar, but hold on to the activities you most enjoy. Do what you absolutely must, and what you really want to do, and enlist the help of others when possible. Streamlining will leave more time to take care of yourself.