I am a 35 year old divorced single mother. I am also the clinical director of an eating disorders treatment facility called The Recover Clinic. Much of the work I do is to promote a positive perspective on life and I'm often asked about the origins of this perspective and whether I've 'taught' myself to think and be a certain way. Yesterday one of my clients asked me how, if I was a divorced single mother, could I retain this positive perspective? And, did I not see my failed marriage as just that...a failure and therefore an example of how my 'positive' perspective was really irrelevant and that we are all simply victims of whatever life chooses to throw at us? In my clinical work when asked personal questions I aim to be as open and honest as possible whilst always retaining my clients best interests at heart. My response was this: I feel that all of life's experiences are opportunities for us to learn and to grow. My marriage is possibly the last remnant of choices that were driven by fear and not a compassionate love for myself. Today I strive to build relationships with people I'm inspired by and make me joyful....I remind myself of past suffering as an opportunity to reflect on how important listening to my intuition is.
I was raised like many of us to believe that we should allow fear to govern our choices. I spent my younger years doing just that and the following years living and dealing with the consequences of those choices. Throughout my twenties I began to explore different spiritual teachings that taught me that my thoughts and beliefs created my reality and that if I wanted my environment to change, I needed to change my thoughts and perspective on life. Teaching myself that positivity is a choice has been one of the greatest things I've ever done for myself.
How we choose to start each new day dictates precisely the kind of day that we then have. Choosing a positive outlook, feeling hopeful about what the day may hold and feeling excited about life will change the day itself. Ruminating, worrying and feeling anxious is the best way to line up further challenges. These two polar perspectives are both available to all of us but it's important to remind ourselves that we have a choice about which path we go down and to empower ourselves to take action about anything we're not happy about. Whenever I sense dissatisfaction with any area of my life, I remind myself that if I want to change something then I need to change how I'm thinking about it.
Embracing a positive perspective has altered my world dramatically and has become an integral part of the work that I do in the clinic; I teach the women that I work with to become their own best friends and to always have their own 'backs'. We are all able to choose to support ourselves, to be compassionate and loving toward ourselves. The way that we behave toward ourselves is the most important message that we are communicating to the rest of the world about what we expect from the people that we invite into our lives. If we want to be more joyful and to have more love in our lives then our first port of call must always be the relationship that we have with ourselves. People are not either 'happy' or 'unhappy', and this isn't down to fate...we are masters of our own fate and we can choose to be happy.
Initiating such a shift can seem overwhelming or even impossible. At the clinic we've designed some 'starter' tips to help you to get your head to where it needs to be:
1. Write a daily gratitude list
2. Make a vision board of all you want to be and achieve
3. Be more loving and compassionate to those around you.
4. If you love someone....tell them.
5. Dance...often and without fear.
6. Embrace challenging situations as opportunities to learn & grow.
7. Walk slowly and look up at the sky, notice the beauty in theworld.
9. Tell those people in your life that you care for that you love them!
10. Run as fast as you can...we never do this as adults unless we're exercising.
11. Be kind to strangers.
12. Listen to your heart.
13. Believe in yourself.
14. Write a letter to an old friend.
15. Live by love and not fear.