When Life Gives You Lemons
So, I consider myself to be a really positive and upbeat person but I went through a phase a few years ago (my 50th birthday to be exact) of feeling really down and I did wonder if I would figure out how to be happy again.
My lovely sister had come round to join my husband and me for dinner, and had unfortunately gone to the trouble of buying champagne glasses with ’50’ on them… I had expressly said that no one had better get me anything with the ‘F’ word on, thank you very much.
Then, as though that wasn’t bad enough, she said that the lady who owns the card shop where she bought the glasses (who knows everyone in the small town where we live) had asked who was going to be 50. Apparently she was absolutely amazed that it was me and didn’t think for a moment that I was that sort of age. Most people would have been delighted at this feedback but I went absolutely ballistic. I couldn’t even really understand why.
My sis was ready for leaving but I persuaded her to stay while we ate in silence, me with tears rolling down my face. Talk about awkward! What on earth was wrong with me? At first, I thought it was just about everyone in town knowing that I was 50 (my husband is somewhat younger and I know there are some busybodies around town who had been dying to know how old I was!) but it wasn’t even that.
It took some time to identify that I was feeling that I had done nothing with my life and now it was too late! Which of course was not true but in that moment (well, for 2 or 3 days) it was true for me. And yet I knew that I was lucky to be here at 50 – lots of people would love to be celebrating a 50th birthday – but it didn’t help my mood.
Turning a corner
By now I am sure you are wondering how I got out of it! Well, there is a wonderful Christian woman, Joyce Meyer, who has a show on God TV called ‘Enjoying Everyday Life’ (you can find her on YouTube as well) and I just remembered a quote from her which said ‘You can be pitiful or you can be powerful, but you can’t be both’! Wow, that really spoke to me – I was utterly pitiful and who wants to be pitiful? Not me for sure! Powerful, yes, that’s what I want to be! I’m taking powerful thank you, what a relief!
This is just one very tame example of a sad episode. For many it will be the loss of a loved one or break up can send you on a downward spiral.
I should add at this point that it will take more than a bit or positive thinking if you are suffering from clinical depression. Choosing right thoughts can definitely help, particularly in stopping you from getting down, but is unlikely to be the solution to serious depression or anxiety episodes so always seek professional advice.
Why are you here?
A key part of being happy is knowing why you are here! What is your mission here on earth? Heather Mathews, creator of Manifestation Miracle, says in her book that accompanies the program (spoiler alert!) that your mission is to become you! (Don’t you love that?) What she means by this is that you’re meant to live your life becoming the person you are meant to be, fulfilling your highest potential and living with purpose.
How wonderful is that? Can you imagine waking up every morning on a journey to fulfill your highest potential instead of just getting up to go to work?
So what is meant by ‘becoming you’? Have you ever taken a moment to consider what you value in life? What makes you happy? Do you consider these things when making important decisions? Do you perhaps have a lifestyle or job that is in conflict with these values?
A key element to being happy and at peace with your life is living in alignment with your values. Often, when we are feeling that there must be more to life, something is not quite matching up. This is made even trickier by the fact that most people don’t take the time to even identify their values! This is so important – our values are what we stand for and when we honor them we experience fulfillment.
Take a moment now to consider what your top 3 or 4 values are. If you need some inspiration, try some of these:
This is so tricky because many of these are very important, but you need to narrow it down to be able make changes that will make a difference. My top values used to be freedom, love and joy, then I changed the order to love, freedom and joy – for me, freedom would be more fun with someone to share it with. However, it is in the process of changing to health, love and freedom in equal measure. If I don’t have good health, how can I enjoy the love and freedom! I say ‘in the process’ because I haven’t quite got round to changing my diet but I actually know that if I put it firmly on the top of my list and get a good picture in my head of me being super-healthy, then the diet will just naturally follow.
Having written down your top 3 or 4, can you see any areas in your life that are in congruent with your life? If happiness and optimism are on your list but you are surrounded by negative people, then it is time to review your friends list! If adventure is important but there is none in your life, start making a plan!
Choose a better feeling thought
In ‘Ask and it is Given’ by Abraham Hicks, there is a really super chapter on paying attention to your thoughts and deliberately choosing a better feeling thought! It is such a basic idea but how many of us consciously can look at a thought and realize that it’s not doing us any favors? For example, you wake up in the morning and think ‘I don’t want to go to work’ which isn’t going to put you in the right frame of mind to have a great day! We spend such a lot of our lives at work, it might be a good idea to find a way to enjoy it! A better feeling thought could be ‘I am so lucky to have a job – life would be very difficult if I didn’t and I know lots of people would be grateful to have a job’ – gratitude always makes you feel better.
If you have big dreams it is most likely how it will make you feel that is your reason for wanting to have it! Consider how you can create the feeling without actually having achieved your goal. I find visualization is great for this – I can feel almost tearful with the joy of having accomplished my goal that I almost don’t need to achieve it! (I am pressing on until I reach it though!). When you get in touch with the feeling you are well on your way to creating what you want.
Who can you help?
One of the best things you can do when you are feeling down is to take your mind off yourself and there is no better way to do this than by helping someone else. Who do you know who is on their own and doesn’t see many people? Could you get involved in volunteering for a local organization? Could you provide a foster home for the Cats Protection league? What about fundraising for a cause you are passionate about? Have you ever considered random acts of kindness? I love this video – it just shows the power of taking some time to intentionally be kind. Few things feel better than helping someone else.
I would love to hear your story and what you did to feel better. Please leave your comments below – maybe you will inspire others.