My entire life, I’ve “hated” everything.
Hated people. Hated school. Hated my house. Hated my body. Hated my life. Just a ridiculous amount of HATING everything. Why? Why would I spend so much time, putting so much effort into being unhappy? I mean, don’t get me wrong, things have happened in my life that were mentally and physically traumatizing — I’m sure we’ve all had that to an extent. I’ve been put into holes so deep, I never thought I would be able to climb out. To dig myself out of those holes, I turned to alcohol, drugs and living a loose lifestyle, cause hey, who cares, right? People did this to me, it’s not my fault. But all any of that ever did, was take me deeper and deeper into my hole.
Then, my first son was born. He kind of gave me the push, and the clarity to get onto the path I needed to be on to get my head straight. With him, I finally gained the mental strength to eliminate one of the largest pieces of toxic filth from my life, at least to the best of my ability. Which leads me to my first point,
Remove Toxic People:
The old saying, “you are the company you keep” is so, so true. Surround yourself with people who are going to bring out the BEST in you. The ones that make you smile and laugh. The ones who will hear you out, and be honest with you. Who make you feel valued, and have your best intentions in mind — the folks who honestly give a shit. Anyone who makes you feel significantly bad about yourself is not someone you should keep around.
After weeding out those people, your circle may be large or small — either way, good for you. I’m naturally an introverted person. I play a good extrovert, but honestly, I just like to keep a few close and keep to myself. I know a bunch of wonderful, bright, awesome-ass people, but what makes me happiest is sticking close to my home base, and my family.
Now that you’ve gotten the toxic folks out of your life, it’ll be a bit easier to concentrate on yourself. Which leads into greater things. In loving yourself, you love your body. So, why not,
Focus On Your Health:
God, this has been a HUGE one for me. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes me feel better than a day of *somewhat clean eating and a killer fucking work out. In addition to the release of natural endorphins (the little neurotransmitters in your brain that are responsible for all of those awesome pleasurable feelings), it leaves you feeling confident, accomplished, and strong — who wouldn’t want to feel that way?!
By eating *somewhat clean, you’re also helping your body feel a certain way. If you eat garbage, chances are, you’ll feel like garbage. Being conscience of what you’re putting in your body pays off in the long run.
[*I say somewhat, because who doesn’t like the occasional slice of pizza or beef sandwich every now and then?!]
In addition to my exercise and eating changes, I’ve also made efforts to cut out alcohol and cigarettes. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have a beer or social cigarette here and there, but again, you are what you put into your body. Limiting that stuff will do wonders for your skin, your hair, your lungs, and most importantly your mental clarity.
Stop Caring So Much:
This point has also been quite an eye opener for me. I’ve always been plagued with anxiety about the outcome of situations, or what so-and-so is thinking. But really, who cares? Focus on YOURSELF. Focus on improving and bettering yourself as a human being, each and every day. The rest will fall into place. The people who are meant to be a part of your life, will. The ones you lose along the way — well, that’s their problem, isn’t it? Taking the steps and learning to love yourself changes the perspective in everything.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and a lot of chatting with self-help writers and self-manifestation whizzes. They all share one common denominator for living a happy, fulfilling life – gratitude is key! Be thankful for the things you have in your life, and it will shift so much of your thinking around. It really makes it hard to hate anything. It is amazing, all of the things we have to be grateful for. Every night (well, mostly), I document three things I am grateful for that day — it helps to refocus my mind and center myself back into that mindset. Especially after a stressful day. One day, I wrote, “I am grateful for my beautiful, healthy children.” Another day I wrote, “I am thankful for sweet potatoes. They are so delicious.” Ha! The spectrum of gratitude is so wide, and never-ending. Giving a little bit of focus to that everyday will do wonders for your mindset.
As previously mentioned, the majority of my life was spent hating everything and being miserable. My thoughts were constantly circulating around, how I wasn’t good enough, how I would never be happy, how lonely I was, how I never had enough.
The negative thoughts were clogs in my mind — how could anything good come through? In case you didn’t know, it’s fucking amazing how the mind works. It’s a muscle that needs to be, and can be, conditioned and trained like the rest of them. Now, I speak positively to myself. And when I feel old bullshit sneaking its way back into my brain, I pause for a minute and counter it with something uplifting instead.
“WHATEVER YOU FOCUS ON EXPANDS”
This is one of the truest damn things I’ve ever heard. If you continually shift your focus in one direction, chances are, that’s where you’ll end up. So, why not turn that focus to a bit of happiness, instead? Life can be hard, but really, it’s meant to be enjoyed — we’re not here that long. Take the steps you need, to make it happen. Everyone has their own formula that works for them. Just remember where your focus is.
If you want to make gratitude and positive affirmations into a daily practice, you’ll love The Five Minute Journal.
Ariel is a mama of two with a passion for self-improvement; including, but not limited to: self-love, fitness, self-manifestation. You can find her over at Nourish And Flourish .
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