Here's a letter from a reader and my reply...
Hi Aunt Laya,
I like your blog and how you are so willing to lend a helping hand. Wish there were more people like you.
Aunt Laya, I'm a loser. I haven't had a girlfriend in ages, I have to work a lousy jobs to make ends meet, my self-esteem is rock bottom. It's quite obvious God has cursed me for some reason, but I don't know why. As you can imagine, I'm not all that happy with God, and haven't been for quite some time.
You guessed it. I'm a pretty miserable human being. Have any advice for me?
Thank you for your time and I wish you the best.*
(*details tweaked for privacy)
Life can feel so hard. I’m glad you reached out to me because you know that I have a lot to say. I trust you wrote me because you are looking for encouragement and you came to the right place. The first question is: are you willing to make the changes that only you can make to create a life you love? Fasten your seat belt because I’m going to be direct—from my heart and intended to go directly to your heart.
Ever heard the definition of insanity? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you wrote to me, you are asking for advice on what you can do, actually, really do differently to make a change in your world. Here we go.
What you focus on expands.
Would you ever be so heartless as to call a child things like “loser or cursed”? You are counting on me to be honest with you right? Well, honestly, it’s not nice to call yourself names!
What if changing the way you speak (or write!) about yourself could change your life? I think it can. And while I’m being honest, I believe that there is a woman, or maybe more than one, who would be so grateful to have your loving heart in her life. But maybe you’re so busy being down on yourself that you haven’t the space to find her. I don’t mean to be hard on you, but I really want you to wake up and start to pay attention to the good and the gifts in your life!! Gifts? Yes! Good? Yes? You’ll see what you look for; I guarantee it. Can I give you an assignment? Would you write me back with a couple of lists?
List one: “Things I’m grateful for” (20 item minimum)
List two: “Things I’m proud to have accomplished” (10 item minimum)
These will not be graded; it’s the process and the focusing in a new direction that will serve you.
Rock bottom is a great place to be. You know why? Because it can only get better from here. I remember the time in my life that I felt I hit rock bottom. Remember being a kid and diving to the bottom of a swimming pool? Do you remember the feeling of pushing up from the bottom so you can get to the surface faster? I invite you to push off of that rock bottom in your life and allow yourself to rise. My goodness. I could get long winded here.
Did you see the movie Avatar? Remember the scene where the guy woke up in the Navi body for the first time and the sheer joy that he could move his legs?
We could wake up every morning with that kind of gratitude. So what if you changed your focus? What might happen in your life? Are you willing to experiment with this?
What if you changed the way you spoke about yourself and started to notice the good in you? What are the positive things you can say about yourself?
About your lousy jobs, here’s a short video with Zig Ziglar that might give you a new perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XC_Fkg0UIQ
Here’s one more thought for now: What if this self-doubt you are experiencing doesn’t even belong to you? What if it came from someone else’s irrational, battered belief system? What if you could “return to sender” and step into a life that is wonderful?
Things may not change all at once, but with consistent steps, over time, you can change the trajectory of your whole life and launch into a life you will love. What’s the first step you can take? I know you can do this. If you have the wisdom to write that letter in the first place, you have the wisdom and heart to let go of what isn’t working and fill yourself with gratitude and Grace.
Actors don't expect a perfect performance when they take a role. They have to rehearse until their part becomes natural. You get to use that same tool for real life! When you know that you have a hard time with something--anything from setting boundaries or negative self talk, you name it, try using this strategy. When you're feeling good, or at least aware, that's the time to make a plan. Make a plan for something you can do to help you move in the direction that will serve you. Let me get more specific.
Do you find yourself thinking negative thoughts? Have a plan for the next time you notice those negative thoughts so you can pull yourself out. Need ideas? I've shared some of my most powerful ideas on this blog: gratitude is one of them. Something I used to do for my family when my kids were little was to have some songs I would sing to help change the energy to be more positive. (There is a technique called "patterns interrupt" so snap yourself or others out of that auto pilot mode.) I use that strategy on my own self. (Scroll down for song ideas!)
The thing is when you have a behavior or thoughts that you want to change to be more positive, it's wise to have in mind what you will do when you catch yourself in the negative place so that you can change.
So what will it be for you? What do you want to release (old habits or reactions?) in your life? What will you replace it with? Make a plan and rehearse it (in thought and action); choose something simple and create success. Then, when the time comes in real life, practice it until the new desired thoughts or actions become what's real. This stuff truly works. You can create the change you want to be!
Live the extraordinary life you deserve.
Aunt Laya inspires and encourages you to live the life you want for yourself! She'll tell you the truth, even when it's not always so easy to hear so that you can learn to handle the hard stuff of life and be your best, happiest self. Always with love and caring.