I was talking to my son today, trying to give him some advice. He admittedly has had a very bad year. Like really bad. There’s been a break-up which resulted in a broken heart for the first time with his first girlfriend. He got a ticket or two which has resulted in the loss of some freedom and money. He had his dreams dashed when he moved away to his first apartment of his adult life——with the girl that broke his heart— resulting in him having to swallow his pride and move back home. He lost a job when he moved and hasn’t replaced it, broke his foot and got stuck in another state when his car died and it took days to order parts to repair and get him back home. Oh and his tire went flat last weekend. Just writing all of this makes me feel so bad for him. . .and wonder what can I say that will make it all ok? I know it’s NOT “I told you. . .” or “You should’ve done (or not done). . .” Those types of statements don’t serve to help anybody.
I ended up saying the only things that I could:
“You are right, this is a really horrible thing to happen to you”.
“Yes, you have had a terrible year”.
“It could be worse”.
“Things will get better, just keep moving forward”.
I said all of those things, but as I was saying them I knew he was thinking “yeah right”. I don’t blame him. A lot of those phrases are just the things we say when we don’t know what else to say to help someone. We say them when we agree that the situation sucks and we also don’t know how the problem will be solved. What do you say to someone who experiences one bad thing after another?
I also told my son one other thing. The one thing I truly believe that will help and that if used, will resolve the situation. This is my ONE THING—-my go to advice to be used when you don’t know what else to do or say.
Changing things starts with your mindset. The first thing you need to do is to develop a positive affirmation and start saying it over and over.
I agree that a person down and out could perceive that advice as absurd and may even be angry when you say this to them. In fact, my son’s reply was a curt “That’s what you always say”. Yes, it is because the times when you feel the most powerless are the times to try and take some of your power back. The way to begin to take your power back starts with you—-in your mind.
We can’t control what happens to us. But we can control how we respond.
When something bad happens to us our immediate response is often to take some form of action. However, that action should first start on our mindset. To begin, develop a positive affirmation and repeat that over and over and over. I like to recite my affirmations all day long: I say it to myself in the bathroom mirror, I say it in the car as I am driving and I say it while I’m making dinner. When I catch my mind focusing on my troubles, I bring myself back to my positive affirmation. I keep saying it until I feel better.
I’m not telling you this is going to work for you. I can only tell you that it works for ME and that it is a small step that can have a big impact. There’s a ton of material on the power of affirmative thoughts. My reason to use it, however, is quite simple. Through trial and error I found that nothing changed when I focused on my troubles. If I sat on the couch and cried, “why me?”, the couch God didn’t grant me what I wanted. BUT, if I started with a very small step, something I had absolute control over—-my mind—-I could shift my mood and even, the outcome. When I shifted my mindset I started to shift my actions, doing different things. Little by little my spirits soared and I began to make different things happen. Different AND better—-which led me to a more ideal outcome.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
As positivity takes over your mind you become aware of the fact that life isn’t trying to beat you down. Life is happening around us and well, there is no guarantee that it will be easy. But how we respond to what happens around us is everything. If we respond with a strong and forward looking mindset, likely different and positive things will happen.
My son doesn’t yet believe me that a powerful and positive affirmation will change his life. But he will when it begins to work. For my part, I will keep giving him the same advice. I do notice my kids little by little reiterating some of the same phrases I use. Thus, I believe that if I keep saying the same things over and over it will sink in. It’s kind of like the thought that if your kids don’t like a certain food you keep giving it to them and by the tenth time they will begin to eat it and like it. I figure if it works with broccoli, the same method can work with positivity. In fact, how many times have you caught yourself sounding like your mother? (good or bad!)
Until then, we will just take this one day at a time and tackle each problem as it comes up. . . .with a positive mindset of course.