The other day I was looking through my inbox and a new email popped up that said “Can Life Just Keep Getting Better?” My initial thought was an enthusiastic “Yes!” Most of what I write about and speak about has this message at the core. I opened the email and the second heading was “Here’s a woman proving it can.” I scrolled down a bit and surprisingly I saw myself staring back at me. It was from a collaboration that I did with a company called SeroVital for an anti-aging supplement and their message couldn’t have come at a better time.
Although we collaborated on social media a couple of months ago, the email correspondence was received a few days ago as I was celebrating my 6th wedding anniversary! Those of you who have been following along or who have read my book know that I was a single mom for 13 years but hopefully you know that I am now happily married too. So hooray for year 6!
And to top that off we also welcomed a new grandbaby on that very same day so I was defintiely feeling all the gratitude feels!
But how do you set yourself up for these kind of feel good life changing vibes during times when you aren’t celebrating some big milestone or achieventment? How do you actually tip the scales in your favor so this can be a part of a continuum and not just an occassional very good day?
First, let me say that I am admittedly overly optimistic, but trust me when I say I’m realistic too. I have had some pretty tough challenges over my 46 years and as a school counselor I work daily with children and families who have experienced severe trauma in their lives too. So I’m not looking at the world through rose colored glasses. But I do believe that at a core level people are resilient and tenacious and if you don’t believe that your core has risen to a level you would like yet, there are ways to kindle and stoke those flames too.
And since I touched on trauma earlier I’d be remiss not to mention that this isn’t a How to Deal With Trauma post. I know many of us are struggling with things that may not be properly addressed here. If you are really looking for help in that area, I like this post by This Way Up. You can read it here.
However, this particular post is really about subtle improvements to our day to day lives and how to live in a way that tips the scale in our favor and propels us forward even on hard days.
Embrace a positive mindset-this is probably my most and least favorite point in the post. It’s my most because a positive attitude is your most valuable characteristic and a great indicator of success in many areas. It’s my least because I think it is often overused and not well explained, and I may sometimes be guilty of that myself. It isn’t as simple as just be positive or think happy or any of those other catchphrases on a tshirt. It really is about learning how to reframe and shift your focus. If you’re not naturally optimistic this might take work and time. The shift comes from focusing on the positve things in your life. It’s easy to focus on what doesn’t go right but dig deeper.
Think not only about the things in your life that you are grateful for but also think about the times in your life when you didn’t get that thing you wanted so badly and it turned out to be a blessing. I like the idea of instead of asking why me? ask what is this here to teach me? That allows us the opportunity to begin again with a more positive mindset. There is a lot of research out there that supports the idea that it isn’t so much about what happens to us but how we percieve what happens to us. Grit is a wonderful book by Angela Duckworth that explains this concept and how to build it very well.
Learn a new creative skill-you will often hear me talking about trying new things. I love the idea of learning and I’m a constant student. I believe it’s one of the things that keeps us young at heart. “You won’t grow old mentally if you’re always willing to start over in infancy” is something you might hear me say at a talk or in a post, and I believe that whether you fail or succeed the trying part has a lot of value. But in this instance this isn’t about just trying new things, this is more about learning a creative skill-one that resonates with you and that you actually become quite proficient at. It’s about finding your thing and spending enough time on it that you feel really good about doing it and sharing it with the world. Feeling confident in something that we produce makes us feel more connected. Releasing it or giving it life often gives us a feeling of purpose too.
Travel-I know that not everyone has the resources for exotic trips, but I don’t think that travel means you have to leave the country or even your hometown in some cases. Look for places to visit by checking out the hashtags on social media or local magazines for interesting places to visit near you. The other day my daughters and I visited a local flower farm and had the best day there. It was beautiful and the people who ran it were so kind. And my trip to Idaho this summer was just as exciting as my all inclusive caribean resort vacation we took this past summer.
The point of travel in my mind is to not only enjoy your experiences but to also expand your world view and learn about the people who live and work there too. Seeing the world or where you live through a different lens gives us a greater sense of appreciation and connectedness to the people and places around us. Living a better life is not only about appreciating what we have but it often means getting out and expanding our horizons as well.
Be courageous-there will be times in your life when you realize that things just aren’t working for you. This might be a relationship, a job or maybe even where you reside. When I think about this concept the Kenny Rogers lyrics “you’ve got to know when to fold em…” come to mind. While I obviously think that perserverance and tenacity are wonderful characteristics to possess I also think that our gut is a really good meter for how persistant we need to be with our situation.
I talked with a lady the other day who through angry tears told me that she has been miserable with her relationship for 7 years. “He’s the reason I don’t have anything now!” she said. Without knowing the details of her sitiuation I can’t really co-sign that statement but what I can say is that if you are in a situation that doesn’t suit you- a job that doesn’t make you feel fulfilled or a friendship that doesn’t feel quite right, remember that you can change that. Figure out what needs to happen so that you can transition out of that environment and then be courageous enough to follow through.
I’m someone who likes the idea of stability and security and this can sometimes be tough for me too but one of my favorite quotes is “leap and the net will appear.” And while that might not be where you are just yet, your inner voice will let you know when it’s time to start preparing for that big leap. Life gets better not by happenstance but by action and the great news is we all have the power to make it happen!
Those are my tips for making sure your life keeps getting better! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic too!
Until Next Post,
xo Tonya Parker