Along the journey of making positive changes in my life, I have picked up a few 'mottos' that when I've applied them to my situations, I have seen vast improvements in my well-being. In fact it wasn't until writing this blog post that I realized how many I actually have! So these are a selection of many. I will start with a quote from one of my favorite films, 'Our Idiot Brother', said by the main character, Ned:
1) "I live my life a certain way. And that is, I like to think if you put your trust out there, I mean you give people the benefit of the doubt, see their best intentions, they'll want to live up to it. It doesn't always work out, clearly, but I think that if you do people will rise to the occasion."
I have chosen this one first, as I had completely forgotten about it until recently, yet it is the most important to me. I've had people in my life who's seemingly kind actions usually had ulterior motives behind them. Although I'm distancing myself from those with this insincere trait, I had definitely got into a bad habit of assuming that every kind gesture of theirs was to get some kind of personal gain. As Eckhart Tolle (author of my favorite book, 'A New Earth') says:
"When you pronounce judgment upon someone, you confuse those conditioned mind patterns with who they are. To do that is in itself a deeply conditioned and unconscious pattern. You give them a conceptual identity, and that false identity becomes a prison not only for the other person but also for yourself."
So if you notice yourself groaning or mentally saying "oh here we go" as someone approaches you, nip it in the bud and open your mind to them.
2) "If you haven't got anything good to say, (you're probably not thinking hard enough, however it's still best that you...) don't say anything at all."
This one is generally for strangers and acquaintances. I'm a strong believer in being completely open and honest (even if it will upset the listener) however with unfamiliar folk, I'd rather leave them with good vibes. I like to think I help my good friends pursue hopes so a bit of constructive criticism could help them go a long way. Also, I'm sure the friendly morning jogger is only being polite when he asks "hi, you alright?" as he runs past. I'd definitely choose to respond with a smile and a "good thanks" over stopping him in his tracks so he can hear a brief low down of a terrible day.
3) "If it's not your story to tell, don't tell it."
4) "Disarm guilt as a weapon"
The defense's lawyer would have no chance in the courtroom if some folk I've encountered took to the stand. They could make anyone break down with guilt, even the innocent. I'm happy to have known people who do this, as I've learned to recognize the behaviour and can turn it around. If you've ever made a change in your life, that you feel is the right decision, there's a chance you too, have left one or two sullen people in your wake. You're not quite living your life how they want you to, so the attempt of taking you along for a ride of guilt transpires and suddenly, your life decisions are in their hands. Disarm guilt as a weapon and regain control.
5) "It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela
When I was pregnant, I made a positivity board. The idea behind it was, that if I ever had to pace up and down with a crying baby, close to tears myself, I'd glance at board of uplifting (but not patronizing) quotes and pictures and feel better. Although "imagine babies with mustaches" was a good one, it was trumped by "It always seems impossible until it is done". Thankfully I've never had to use it for the way I intended, but the words still stuck in my mind. It has been repeated so many times now, that there's even a tune for it. While out and about, trying to figure out the best way to calm a grizzly little one, I've almost gotten a little stressed. Then I would start thinking "I'll just pack up and go home". A few minutes later, the baby boy is asleep and it seems like it wasn't such a big deal after all.
So have you got any phrases you apply when you find yourself needing a bit of a boost? If you have, I'd love to hear them!