~ notes from an uncommon journey ~

Positive Thinking Me-Style

A few months ago while I was having dinner with a friend and we were talking about our lives, I realized a way--that would work for me--that I could start do some positive thinking in my life. (And in case you've forgotten, here's why I "hate" what I perceive to be the typical positive thinking message.) I don't even remember now what exactly about our conversation prompted this realization. I just know that I'm extremely grateful that it came to me.

My whole thing about this topic has long been: If I'm going to think some (new) positive thought, it has to be something I can believe. And what I realized in a new way that evening is: There are already positive things that I do or can believe. There are probably plenty of them in fact. Specifically, I thought of 3 categories of things I could start to note and spend time dwelling on:
  • Things I'm grateful for. Journalling things I'm grateful for is something that two counselors have suggested to me. Sadly, if at the time I did it at all, it certainly hasn't become a habit...yet.
  • Good things that happened during the day. Somewhere in my head I know that really, there are good things that happen every day. Am I even noting them, much less dwelling on them? Obviously not. Of course, that's the deal about depression: You can be so caught up in the sadness and so debilitated by the lack of motivation...that you just don't see those things. They don't even enter your "radar." But--I can make a point to change that.
  • Things I like about myself. Since, in my adult years (mostly the last six), I've finally gained a real measure of self esteem and confidence, there are many things I like about myself. Imagine that. And I'm realizing I could spend a lot more time thinking about those things rather than, say, beating myself up so much for my failures (real OR perceived...the latter probably being the larger portion!).
I didn't have all the above thoughts about this stuff during that conversation--I just wrote down those 3 categories on a notepad in my purse...where it sat for a couple of months, while life went on, while Project: Reclaim hit another low (which I'm choosing not to detail except to a few). But I knew it was there...waiting for me to flesh out.

And--this is just the beginning. Two other experiences in this same vein have happened in the meantime and are waiting for me to give them their full treatment. I'll do so in future post(s). [3/4/11 update: I can no longer remember which experiences I was referring to...Ah well.]

As always...thanks for listening.

Why I "Hate" Positive Thinking

I "hate" positive thinking. No, I don't mean that I hate it when a positive, seemingly reasonable thought occurs to me. What I hate is the whole "just think positive thoughts and all your heartache will go away" message.

Why? Well, I want to be very clear about this. Thinking positive thoughts is, of course, not bad...practically by definition. After all, it's positive. (Yep, I've got that whole grip-on-the-obvious thing goin' for me.) My problem is: I cannot so easily "switch" from a negative thought I'm having to some positive thing I'm supposed to be telling myself. And why is that? Because 99% of the time, the positive thing I'm supposed to be telling myself is not something I can believe. If I'm going to think a (new) positive thought, it has to be something I can believe.

And--why do I have a hard time believing the positive? I think there are a couple reasons: One, so much of my life has been heartbreak, pain, shattered dreams. (To my own ears, this sounds like: one could easily think I'm being melodramatic. But if you know my story, you know I'm not.) Two, I have a hard time having a lot of hope. Again, why is that? Well--revisit reason one. Now, as a result of my Christian faith, I have hope for eternal life. I know that I will go to heaven when I die and that I'll see again my loved ones who are already there. It's the whole between-now-and-then part that I struggle to have hope for.

Yes, I'm aware that I've asked "why" four times in the last 2 paragraphs, but given my life, I think that too is apropos. (P.S. I love saying the word "apropos.")

Having said all that, I do recognize the value of thinking positive things. Thoughts determine attitudes, actions, ultimately destiny. So...what I've come to is: I'll have to do positive thinking me-style. And I'll expound on what I mean by that in a future post.

Thanks for listening!

My Happy-Makers Part 3

Girlfriends who "get it." Lauren gets it. We had dinner a couple nights ago; it was awesome.

My Happy-Makers Part 2

In part 1 I began listing some things that in and of themselves bring me some happiness. Here's another:

Photography. I love taking pictures, and nature is my favorite subject.

Edit: Here's one of my favorite pictures from my Sunsets collection on Webshots.com. You can browse all my Webshots albums here. Here's one of my favorite shots. You can see some of my best photography here. Hope you enjoy.

My Happy-Makers Part 1

Here's a couple of the things that already bring me a certain amount of happiness:
  • Singing. The very act of singing (unless I'm messing up, lol) makes me feel happy. When I'm up there, and I'm "in good voice," when I'm singing really well, and when others are enjoying it...I'm happy.
  • bareMinerals (the products) and Bare Escentuals (the company). Those who know me very well at all are quite familiar with my love for both--I don't want to bore any of them, so I'll nutshell it: The bareMinerals products I love because most of them are 100% natural, and they work great...which I believed before I started working for the company. And doing that has actually helped me emotionally, because when I started working there I was still in so much grief (from the passing of my fiance) and depression (practically life long from a number of sources--see the first post) that everything seemed "dark" to me. But going a few times a week to a place with a cheerful and fun atmosphere and working with awesome ladies helped ME be more cheerful and fun. Plus I got to help other women look and feel more beautiful and become a makeup artist in the process. Rock on!
So I guess those are the two biggies, as they pop right to mind when I think about this...but I'm sure there are more (hence the "Part 1"). Will add others as they occur to me!

It's All Very Overwhelming

Sometimes when I look at the sheer size of all the stuff I have to work through, it overwhelms me. (Well, duh...why do you think I've done barely anything about it for so long?) I'm not saying I won't work on it after all or that my commitment is wavering--it's just...easy to get discouraged.

I know, I know, "take it one step at a time." Well, that's easier said than done, especially if you know what all the steps are, and I'm not sure I do. Oh I know what some of the "big" ones are, but breaking it all down into little ones...right now I got nothin'.

Having said that, next time I'm going to write about some things in my life that already bring me (some measure of) happiness. Stay tuned.

Project: Reclaim Off to a Slow Start

That may be obvious, given that it's been fully a month since I created the original post....

Now, I have been working on one thing that I believe will contribute to my happiness, but I can't be super vocal about it--yet. I've told a select few, but publicizing the details will have to wait until they're finalized. Just a little something to keep you in suspense. ;-)

If you've not visited in a while...I've added a few gadgets here to make things a little more interesting. Let me know what you think. :)

What is Project: Reclaim?

"Project: Reclaim" is what I'm calling my journey in reclaiming my life from a lot of pain and heartache and finding some happiness. This blog documents that journey, and this first post details most of what I'm trying to reclaim my life from.

Caution: No punches pulled below. Also, if you happen to know my parents: Since some of this involves them...my posting it here does not mean I want you to share it with them. Thank you.

In recent weeks, my thoughts had already been going in this direction, and then the other day Bare Escentuals CEO Leslie Blodgett posted a note for her fans, and it provided the impetus to kick those thoughts up to the next level....

"This direction" being: I've finally come to the conclusion that I have to commit to my own happiness. I can't just sit around and (reasonably) expect for my life to someday, magically get better. I'm gonna have to just bite the bullet and do the WORK, whatever that all means, to get there from here. (And as P!nk would say, it's a Long Way to Happy.)

Leslie's note was called project Renewal and suggested that people do one new thing each day, as a way to keep things fresh and interesting in their lives. I read the note, and I thought "This is cool; I should...wait. I can't make this my project yet." Here's a slightly modified version of how I responded to the note:

I like this idea. It's even a "good idea for me." But I'll tell you what my first project has to be. Deal (finally) with my issues from childhood. Forgive my parents (somehow..aint easy)--for the bad things they did do, for the needed things they didn't do. Forgive my peers growin' up--for treating me like cr*p. (Didn't I do that already? Ok, do it again. Forgiveness isn't a one-time deal--sigh.) Figure out how to get all those wounds as healed as they can get. Forgive Ron (my late fiance) for passing away on me. (And before we could get *officially* engaged, before we could get married, all the rest). Forgive God (whoa, hardest of all)--for well, allowing all of the above, frankly. Ingrain Ron's love for me into myself more. (This may not make sense to anyone but me. His love, though deep and unconditional, was not "enough" to fill all the holes in my heart. I have to REMIND myself how much he loved me. I really ought to read his letters to me, a lot.) And then: Find some happiness! I have lived far too long by just barely holding on. It is time for that to be OVER!

We've [Bare Escentuals] had Rethink; this is Renew; I'll call mine RECLAIM. Reclaim my life from the "demons" called abuse, feeling worthless, depression, wallowing, accepting unhappiness and pessimism as status quo, loneliness, bitterness--I could probably go on.

I am in tears for how much of my life was taken from me by all this. But this is the hand that life dealt me. Now I have to figure out how to DEAL with it...not just survive it.

© A Road Less Traveled

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