Transform Your Attitude and Your Life in 2014

As we turn the page to a new year, many of us make resolutions, promises to ourselves thatwe are going to change our lives, in some way, for the better. One of the most frequent resolutions I hear from women is “I’m going to be more positive in the new year.”

Most of us face unique struggles that challenge our determination to remain positive. I was raised in a cult where I had no way to express my opinions or my personality, where medical treatment was forbidden, and where I witnessed my brothers’ physical abuse.

Escaping the cult meant losing the close relationship I had with my mom and facing a whole new set of struggles. I started my new life at 18 with nothing. I had no work skills, no money, and only a few pieces of clothing.

I could have given up right then.

Fortunately, I have always had a tendency to see the glass as half full. That doesn’t mean that developing a positive attitude necessarily came easy. I had to work at it.

One question I have been asked more than once is: how did you remain positive with all you have been through? It takes work but if you keep a few important points in mind, you can learn to focus on the positive and, at the same, gain the self-confidence you deserve.

Practice positivity

Practicing positivity means acknowledging that negativity is a choice. It is natural for us to feel bitter or angry when faced with a negative situation. Most of us are conditioned to react negatively to the bad that happens to us or that may surround us.

Make it a goal to find the positive in anything you deem negative. Talk about the positive part of the situation to a friend. Give gratitude for being able to discover the positive. Focus on the positive because the negative doesn’t help you live the life you want and you deserve.

Allow yourself to feel down

Don’t beat yourself up for feeling down. Instead, reflect on your feelings and do something for yourself. When I get down, I do a self-evaluation. I ask myself, “why am I sad?” Usually it’s because I am trying to be in control of a situation or things are not happening fast enough. It’s at these moments I realize I need to stop, put things down and go do something that I enjoy like soaking in a bubble bath or writing what I’m grateful for or all that I’ve accomplished.

Forgive others

Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea that another person, who has done us wrong, doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. But, forgiveness isn’t about the other person. It’s about you. You deserve to heal. You deserve to move on. Let life and circumstance deal with the other individual. You don’t have to physically contact an individual and forgive him or her. It can merely be forgiveness in your heart. There’s a lot of energy that goes into choosing to be negative, energy that can better be utilized by choosing to forgive and deciding to move forward. Forgiveness is the start of a beautiful healing process.

It’s okay to be selfish

Society often tells us that being selfish is bad. It’s not. Don’t feel obligated to do anything that doesn’t make you happy. When you are happy, you are in your creative state. You pull good energy to you and you feel magnificent!

Cultivating a positive outlook means surrounding ourselves with people who lift us up.  We don’t necessarily need those positive people to be with us physically or to even know us on a personal level to provide us support. Listening to an inspirational speaker or reading an uplifting book can be a powerful, energizing experience.

Iyanla Vanzant once said, “When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.”

She was only one of many women who inspired my own journey of healing. The healing process compelled my decision to publically share my own story. I wrote my first book “THEY MADE ME DO IT: A Cult Survivor’s Memoir of Life After The Cult,” detailing my struggles and the life lessons I learned, with the hope that my story would serve as the catalyst to inspire other women on their own journey. We each share our own unique situations but, by sharing how we overcame those obstacles to live the lives we deserve, we inspire and lift up others.

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