I’ve been asked many times, usually during a therapy session where my guts are poured all over the floor, “What made you choose a different life?” I will be honest with you. I really didn’t know.
It is so VERY common for children who’ve been abused to turn out much like their abusers. Not because we want to be like them but rather, we don’t know any better. What was it that told me there was better out there?
My grandmother was a beginning. She had her own issues and many of them but she thought that the sun rose and set on me. Even though she was unable to make my life any better or safer at the time, she gave me that tiny ray of hope that peeked in to my heart that told me I was worth more than I thought. That the world was actually capable of being a good place to live in. Sadly her voice wasn’t heard nearly as often as all the negative messages but that little light stayed on and didn’t go out.
As I became an adult, I walked right in to an abusive marriage. Someone who treated me very much like my mother had. I thought that was all I deserved and it was all I knew to look for… yet that little light stayed on.
After the disastrous end to that relationship and becoming a single mother to 2 children with another on the way, my life looked very dismal. No matter how bad things got, and they got bad, that little light thankfully refused to go away.
I can be grateful for that little spark and I am but there was also something incredibly important that needed to happen to turn that tiny light in to a fire. I have to CHOOSE to find a way to feed the good and starve the bad.
There are a few ideas that I would love to share with you and perhaps they will help you see more of the good in this world as well.
1 – Turn off the news. If you do some research, you will find that crime, personal safety, murder rates and so forth have improved slightly almost everywhere. The world is actually a safer place today than it was 10 years ago yet the average news station reports the stories that they do find 300% more than they did a decade ago. That sort of heavy lean on negative stories is (in my opinion) one of the reasons so many people feel so unsafe and more depressed than they need to be.
2 – Hide “friends” on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr that spend their time re-posting horrible and shocking videos or pictures of animal abuse, pedophiles, rapists, murders, break-ins in the area etc. I might catch some flack for this because I have friends that do this and when I expressed how I felt, they told me in no uncertain terms that “People need to know these things happen!”. Well, I will be honest. I have lived on this earth long enough to know that bad stuff happens. Children are hurt, animals are abused, men and women do some horrible things to each other… I know. I’ve lived through much of it. That said? I don’t need to be reminded with graphic pictures each day. It only keeps me in a place of fear and disgust.
3 – Find some positive websites that share good news. You can get all the news you need to get and not fall into a big black hole of ignorance without the negative stuff. It is AMAZING all the good things people do every day. People who save children from terrible conditions, groups that band together to save thousands of animals each year, men and women that give each other the ultimate in respect and promote each others happiness rather than tearing them down, researchers that find clues and eventually answers that will help millions of ill people around the world in our lifetime. It is actually stunning all the good you begin to see when you stop looking at the negative.
4 – Ask people around you not to tell you negative news from TV or the local gossip “channels”. When I first did this, people couldn’t think of much to say to me. We are so accustomed to greeting each other with these salutations.
“Did you hear about so and so?”
“Isn’t such and such just horrible?”
“Did you here…”
When you ask people to not share the truly unnecessary bad stuff, they don’t know what to talk about. That does change though. I have good things to share with them and they pay more attention to the good things too and they share those now with me instead. A bit of silence never hurt either. 😉 I’d like to think I am removing a bit of negative from their day as well as my own.
In the end? I believe it is all a choice we need to make to spend our days focusing on the negative or spend our time focusing on the positive. It doesn’t NEED to be one or the other. it is a choice.
So share a joke or a beautiful quote as your status today. Do something nice for no reason at all. Send a friend a little note telling them something they did to make your life better. Send a thank you card to your kids teacher. It doesn’t need to be big or even cost a penny.
If you want a positive life? You can’t accomplish that with a negative mind. And you know what? I have absolute faith in each and every one of you that you can and will choose to lead a more positive life as of right now because that little light my grandmother gave to me has now been shared with you and it never, ever goes out.