• Matilda Butler

DOWNERS AND UPPERS


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No. I’m not talking about drugs.

I’m thinking of all of life’s situations and how they might be categorized — those that take us down and those that take us or leave us upbeat. We prefer to be happy, joyous, and on top of circumstances. But life doesn’t always give us what we want — the easy path.


Handling Positive Situations

Probably you have different ways to handle positive situations. Choosing from a variety of “good” outcomes may require some thinking, but almost all of the alternatives turn out well.

Handling Negative Situations

So many people, perhaps including you, have major challenges in their lives. Your stories, or those of family or friends, may range from difficult (to near impossible) childhoods, devastating divorces, financial reverses, adverse employment, physical or mental abuse, loss and illness. As we can all imagine, it’s easy to get bogged down in the hell that each of these situations unleashes.


None of us can just ignore life and what it has brought us. But there are some things we want to avoid doing—especially if we intend to reflect on the past and come out on the positive side.



You don’t want to:

  • Get bogged down in the downward spiraling thoughts and perhaps action

  • Use the past for revenge — the anthesis of healing and inspiration

  • Or be a Debbie Downer

In Other Words…

Don’t Engage in Victimization

Beginning today remind yourself of the steel you have used to face your challenges and demons.


And be willing to share the:

  • inspiration,

  • guidance,

  • reassurance,

  • ideas, and

  • encouragement

…that has come into your life.


If you choose...

...to play the victim card, you in effect deny the strength that enabled you to rise above your challenges. And that means you deny others the guidance you might provide them to improve their lives.

Getting Beyond Victimization

We’re all human, and that can mean that deep down inside–even if it’s only fleeting–it can feel comforting to cry, give in to our sorrows, blame others and basically wallow in self-pity. The fact that it doesn’t move us forward or make us stronger is beside the point. It feels sort of good. But beware because it can be the first step on the road to victimhood.


If You Must…

If you feel the need to wallow, then do it. Wallow, cry, complain, blame, bitch and moan. Do it with all the intensity you can bring to the project. Throw the biggest darn pity party you can. My mother always said it really helped to just screen as loudly as you can.


So, okay. Just do it quickly so you can get on with your life. In fact, if you really need closure on a negative phase, write everything down that you’re feeling and make a ritual of burning the pages.


In writing with honesty and ownership…in focusing on how you came through adversity that was beyond your control…in looking for the lessons you can share with others…you will have carved out a better life path than the one you were on.


Ownership

Yes, I just said “ownership.” You don’t have to be positive all the time. You don’t have to pretend life is perfect. It can be healing to recognize what is wrong or unfair or difficult.



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Life does not require that you play the part of Pollyanna.

Just don’t wallow in negativity. No one can be happy all the time. And putting on a happy face just to fool others is self-defeating because you are shutting down your emotions. Don't stuff your emotions under a pillow. Let them each have their time in the sun.







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Similarly, life does not require that you play the part of Chicken Little.

Take positive steps to find the path forward that will provide the rewards and benefits you deserve.


Seek ways to be the person you envision. There is a better tomorrow out there and you are worthy of it.


And once you find it, be sure to share your inspiration with others. We all need it.


 

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