A quote, by Brad Paisley, reads: “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
This sentiment excites me on so many levels; as an author, an inspirational speaker, and a woman who makes her fair share of mistakes. As a writer, there’s nothing like putting words to paper and stringing your personal stories and experiences together for others to see. As a speaker, motivating your audience to see the possibilities for their future, no matter their past or where they are at the present time, is extremely rewarding! And as a human being, realizing you’ve been given another chance to learn from your mistakes and to be a better person than you where yesterday offers a renewed sense of hope. Yes, these two sentences really get me thinking about what I want for the future, what it will take to achieve my goals and dreams, and how to make my life even better!
I know this firsthand as I have gone through some really challenging times. For instance, 2011 was a very difficult year for me. That following January was a turning point for me. I had a new mindset and new goals for myself, but I was careful to nurture that renewed sense of hope. I didn’t want to revert back to the “stinkin’ thinkin’” that I had worked so hard to overcome.
Many of the techniques I used at that time are still part of my life today. If you’re facing challenging times, perhaps some of these ideas would help you to find hope again, like they did me. None are particularly difficult to do or take a lot of effort, but together they brought me out of a very dark place and strengthened me.
Music: Music was a huge part of my overcoming that difficult time. I made CDs of positive, uplifting, and motivating songs that I listened to every morning when getting ready to uplift my mood and change my thoughts. And, not only did I see myself being more positive and encouraged from the music, but I noticed my caregivers were inspired, too. It wasn’t long before they were asking for copies for themselves. The daughter of one caregiver named one of the CDs “Tasha’s CD”. She memorized every word and asked to listen to it nonstop.
Reading: I also read books. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was creating a whole new image on the inside of myself by reading these books and applying the principles I learned from them. I also love inspirational books of other people’s stories of overcoming and persevering despite difficulties. One book that is on my list to read is “Unbroken” by Laura Hildebrand. I saw the movie based on this book, and it was so powerful and moving! This book and many others like it provide inspiration and show the power of the human spirit. I recommend reading books like this to help you press through your own difficult situations.
Spending time with family and friends: In difficult times, it is so important that we surround ourselves with people that love us and care about us. We must seek out people that will encourage us, give us wisdom, and help lift us up. The sooner we learn that we cannot do this life alone, the better off we will be. No one has ever made it through life successfully without other people. When we spend time with others it helps us to laugh, get out of the house, and really be uplifted. Quality time and being honest with your struggles, even asking for help is what is needed to get through difficult times. Sometimes we're so afraid to ask for help, that we are denying someone else the blessing of them being able to help us. It's okay to ask for help! Now I need to add one disclaimer: people who truly love you and care about you will tell you the truth and maybe tell you things that you don't want to hear. When I've gone through difficult times, I've had people tell me things I didn't want to hear, but later thanked them for it. People that love you and know you, tell you the truth. People that want to sugarcoat everything are not always doing us a favor. I've learned this one the hard way. I've been on both sides of this fence, both giving and receiving honest feedback. When we can be open to what others say and receive their words and thoughts with grace and not a defensive response, is where sometimes we can come through the difficult times quicker and faster.
Positive Thoughts and Affirmations: I started to write positive affirmations on my mirrors in my bathroom with erasable markers. Phrases like “I refuse to live in fear,” “I radiate beauty inside and out,” “Great things are coming my way,” “I live in the present and enjoy each moment” and “I’m quick to forgive” along with many others that were applicable to my situation. I also would say these affirmations out loud whenever a negative thought would enter my head. While it didn’t happen overnight, I began to see that my thoughts in turn became my life. It is so important to know that your thoughts become your actions, and your actions become your destiny! How do you get yourself through difficult times? When you find negative and fearful thoughts have plagued your mind, how do you turn things around? I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and love to share them with my audiences. Comment with your techniques below and I’ll be sure to credit you for the suggestion!