Stop me if you've heard this one: When life gives you lemons...make lemonade!
The irrepressible Dale Carnegie is credited with the quote, from his 1948 book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. What it means is to look at life positively, despite every obstacle in the way. Carnegie suggests the following:
- Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope
- Never try to get even with your enemies
- Expect ingratitude
- Count your blessings, not your troubles
- Find Yourself and Be Yourself (Remember There Is No One Else on Earth Like You)
- Try to profit from your losses
- Create happiness for others
All of my life, I've forced myself to look at my life through a positive lens. And most people I knew thought me crazy for doing so. Through unmerciful bullying, (see previous columns) through jobs I've lost fairly and unfairly, through friends who've turned the other way...I've just plowed on, putting one foot in another, getting up every day and keeping to the business at hand.
"Alison, can't you ever just be real?" say many well-meaning friends. "Why do you remain so positive? Doesn't life ever just suck for you?"
Well, life has been a true roller coaster these last few years. Consider sudden motherhood and the unplanned expenses that go along with raising children, three deaths of family members in consecutive years, and two major (maybe three) job changes, also in consecutive years.
Why stay positive when it's painfully clear that your life in its present form really doesn't hold too much promise on the surface?
Here's my present situation: full-time freelancer again after a change of direction in my department; loss of income while preteen daughter needs feeding, TLC, and 'space,' lots of 'space;' supportive, loving partner has chronic medical conditions threatened by the ongoing healthcare debate in Washington, DC.
I should be pounding, pacing, and staying up all night, right? Well, I do, sometimes, puzzling my next job move and asking God to provide for us and to help us make the right decisions. And to work through the emotions of sudden loss.
Life has given me enough 'experience' handling the lemons thrown at me. Here's are the five simple beliefs I utilize when I find myself panicking:
1) Life will turn back to positive only if you believe it can.
2) You, and only you, get to determine how much power others have over your emotions and your life.
3) Realize that you're not alone in this experience; most people have experienced what you have.
4) You've risen to the challenge before. You can do this again.
5) God is an 'on-time' God. He gives us what we need in His time, not ours.
And if you're a writer, you have an added bonus, courtesy of Nora Ephron:
"All of Life is Copy."
What are your thoughts? How do you get through life's challenges? Write me!