[dropcap]T[/dropcap] his year was a rude awakening for me. Many lessons in tough love, and more importantly, self love. Things I thought I’d known for thirty years but was wrong about. I had to sit alone with myself and get real with myself to find out what was causing the stress and pain in my life. So I asked myself two simple questions: Who am I? What do I want out of my life? You may be asking yourself those same questions and it’s okay if you don’t have an answer. But those questions play a valuable role in your happiness and are vital to a healthy life. If you can’t answer those questions honestly because of negativity you’re surrounded in, then this article is for you. Here are tips for removing the negativity from your life.
Until this year I had never used the word toxic when describing a relationship. I didn’t fully grasp how family, friends or even lovers could be toxic. Now I understand. When people want more from you than you have to give and you are constantly spreading yourself thin gaining nothing in return that is toxic. Because the more you allow yourself to be unhappy, burdened, inconvenienced or hurt by someone that isn’t serving you right the more you punish yourself, hold onto bitterness, resentment and anger. Carrying around these emotions daily are emotionally draining and damaging to your health. When I finally accepted the truth about people weighing me down I had to end those relationships. If you don’t sever your losses now you may live a shorter life as a result of the agony and stress on your body. Say goodbye to toxicity in your life.
Toxicity from overextending ourselves to be a good person is one of many negative things we suffer from, but worrying is another. I am a worrier. I have always been. This is something I struggle with and constantly have to focus on. Just recently a friend put worrying into prospective. He reminded me the things that I was stressing over hadn’t happened yet. That they may never happen because we don’t know from minute-to-minute what is going to happen in our lives. No matter how prepared we are for our futures things change. As he went on in more explanation he had a point. The things I was concerned with may result the way I feared them to, but in this moment it’s possible they will turn out just fine. Worrying about things out of our control isn’t going to change them.
Not being able to control your future may scare you. But fear is not having faith and not accepting change. Letting go and accepting things as they are gets easier the more you work at it, but there is the occasional moments of doubt. Like when someone criticizes you. When they make you feel bad about yourself. The good news is the only thing that matters is your truth and how you feel about yourself. Who cares what anyone thinks of you? One of my favorite quotes that I live by is this quote from Gary Oldman, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” I learned this lesson from my brother. He’s always been confident and remained true to himself. He never lets anyone get the best of him because he knows his self-worth and value. If you have self-respect others will respect you.
When you learn to love yourself you take control over your life. For the longest time I was obsessing over how people treated me. I thought because they weren’t loving me the way I wanted to be loved I was doing something wrong. They weren’t making me happy. Until I realized one simple principle. No one can make me happy besides me. People can love us, do nice things for us, compliment us, et cetera, but they are not in control of our state of bliss. We decide what we want out of our life. We choose to live in the circumstances we accept by our choices.
When I learned I was in complete control over my destiny and happiness a light switch turned on. I came into this world alone and I will leave it alone so I must ensure all of the things I want to achieve and experience I make possible. Relying on others to complete us is lethal. Because no one owes us anything. Not your family, spouse, best friend or boss. If you separate your expectations from your reality and focus on your independence you cutout a lot of unwanted stress. And you realize how strong you are when you can give yourself pure satisfaction. I haven’t mastered this technique, but the less I expect from people and the less I compare those peoples lives to mine the happier I am. Taking a few minutes daily to recognize the things that you have and you are grateful for really helps.
Remember when you wanted the things you have now? How easy it is to forget. Don’t let your dreams slip away because you’re complacent and cannot make the time. There is always time. Hey, Oprah has the same 24 hours in a day you have! Be humble and grateful for what you have but if you want more don’t let doubt or fear creep up and steal your joy. And don’t let anyone hold you back. This is your life and it’s the only one you get. I remember a few years back I was working on a TV show and the director offered me a role. Small day player role. Out of fear I didn’t accept the offer. This is most actors dream and I was scared. Don’t let your nerves talk you out of doing something you are dreaming about. I promise you we are all afraid.
When you are afraid be still. Practice meditating and breathing. Listen to your body. Your intuition. A lot of our negativity is brought on my unnecessary stress. When you listen to your body and follow your gut you can’t go wrong. Our bodies know what’s best for us. It’s when we try to control them and go against them that we beat ourselves up. Trust yourself. You are your best advice. Sometimes listening to yourself can be tough. We are constantly seeking approval from others. Heck, I still call my mom daily to run ideas by her. But only you truly know what you need.
Negativity is hard to remove completely but with a little acknowledgement and understanding of what you want in life it gets easier. Find time for the people and things that make you smile. The things that lift you up. They are out there but it takes work to find them. Retrain your mind to stay positive and not hold onto negativity. Start by not taking things personally. Everyone is in the same boat only some contain it better than others. We all have flaws, we all have struggles. The nest time you get down on yourself reflect on your qualities. Stop yourself from going deeper into a negative spiral. You create your joy by being mindful of your words. The affirmations you speak are your reality so spread positivity and positivity will follow you.