My friend, Lindsay, recommended a TedTalk to me recently, Amy Morin’s Becoming Mentally Strong. Lindsay is someone that truly believes she can make a difference in the world. She takes steps to change people’s lives every day. She doesn’t allow herself excuses, and she inspires others to do the same. So of course, if she tells me to watch a specific TedTalk, then I’m going to do it.
In the TedTalk, Amy talks about having strong mental habits to help you deal with life’s challenges. Thinking things like “why does this always have to happen to me” or “I worked really hard, I deserve to be successful”, “why do my friends have all the luck”…these types of beliefs hold you back. If we are focused on how bad we have it, we can’t takes steps to find a solution.
I think all of us should be able to relate to this. When I get so focused on believing I can’t change things, that I have no power to make things better, that I am just unlucky, I feel miserable. But here’s the truth…shitty things happen. To everyone. It’s how you deal with those things that makes the difference. If you feel sorry for yourself, and think you just can’t catch a break, you have a harder time digging yourself out of it. It’s easier to throw your hands up and say “Oh well, the universe has it out for me. I give up. Everyone else has it so easy. Poor me. I guess I just have to live with my shitty, unlucky existence.” It’s so much easier to do this than to take steps to make a difference either in your life or someone else’s. What if each time something bad happens to you, you help someone else?
I know when I used to try to lose weight, I would usually give up in a month. I would think this is just too hard. All my friends can eat whatever they want and they are skinny. Why do they get all the luck? I would get stuck feeling sorry for myself. And I would fail. I truly believe the reason it worked in my early 30’s was because I stopped feeling sorry for myself. Yeah, my metabolism sucks. However, I know that in a famine, I would survive longer than the people with speedy metabolisms because my body is really good at conserving energy aka storing fat. So what do I do? I work out as much as I can. I try to make decent food choices. I don’t blame the universe that I decided to eat pizza. I try not to compare myself to other people (I said I try, this one takes a lot of mental strength and some days I’m a little mentally tired). I take it day by day.
Life isn’t fair. We all have our moments where we think “if I only had this, or why can’t I have that”… Why not look at what you do have? Because my guess is all of us have things to be grateful for. No, things may not always go our way all of the time, but do we give up? No, because that’s life. Your car breaks down and costs $1000 to fix…shit happens. You figure it out, and move forward. You don’t spend a week feeling sorry for yourself and hating everyone else with cars that are running fine.
And when you don’t have the mental strength to power through…rely on those people that do to remind you. I am my own worst enemy. That is why I need positive influences in my life to save me from myself. (To be honest, sometimes I push those people away because I am not ready to absorb their optimism.) When I surround myself with those people, it reminds me to get out of my own way, focus and move forward. You can live in fear of all the bad things that could happen, that are bound to happen. What good does that do? I can sit here and hate the universe for making life hard, or I can be happy that I am alive and that people love me and that I have love to give and time to keep taking steps to be a better person.
I can’t be anyone else other than who I am. So I have to work with what I got. I have to stop worrying that it’s not enough. Accept that life isn’t fair, it has low moments and it has high moments and they aren’t always equally distributed. So you roll with the punches. And when life is handing you your unfair share of low moments, lend someone else a hand, rather than throwing yourself a pity party. We only get one of these lives. So what’s the point in wasting it?