As time goes by I am forgetting to be grateful. I have been in a state of flux and depression lately because I am putting too much emphasis on getting accolades. I wrote Being Your Own Cheerleader, but I have been having a hard time following my own advice. I think every human being needs some sort of recognition for what they do, even for seemingly small things. It is amazing how one kind or positive remark from someone can do wonders to carry me for a few days. But it just seems that when I write and write, and have no comments, I begin to doubt myself and all those negative tapes start playing in my head, that I am not good enough, and what’s the point, etc. Then my friend Jane, who has been in and out of the hospital since November, with complications of MS, calls and the amount of gratitude I feel comes flooding back. That is when I remember that back in March 2013, I was literally given another chance at life. Immediately after that surgery I was actually happy, because I didn’t take for granted simple things such as walking across the room without a cane. Now, over thirteen months later, I sometimes forget how horrific my life was and how amazing my life is now. I could compare myself to other people who have more money, a relationship, more friends, and feel insecure and small. But, when I compare myself to my friend who struggles with simple tasks such as just walking, cleaning, loss of autonomy, having to depend on people to drive her to appointments, I am filled with gratitude. When I think along those lines, and don’t let myself drift back into negativity, my day and life goes better.

Being Positive

Being positive takes practice and some people seem to have conquered it, but for others (me included) it takes great effort. I truly believe that it comes naturally for some, being born into a “happy” family. I think the family dynamic is the key; families are either happy or sad. I don’t think it is a coincidence that both my brother and I suffer from depression. My family was definitely SAD and dysfunctional, where everyone did their own thing. My first husband once remarked that my family seemed like just a bunch of people who just happened to be living in the same apartment. I never had anyone to model myself after so I grew up with a pessimistic view of the world. It has been proven that positive people actually live longer. I think negativity becomes a bad habit that is very hard to break but I have been trying. Ok, it is so easy for me to be in a happy state of mind when the day is going as planned or something external boosts my morale, but the challenge is maintaining that positive attitude. Yes, tragic and terrible things happen and it would be ridiculous to expect to remain optimistic. But I feel that having a predisposition towards positivity helps you deal with tragic or trying events when life deals you a big blow. It’s also important to distinguish between life-altering events and just annoying everyday aggregations. Just a little over a year ago I was using a cane, had no balance, and was in constant nerve pain which led me to hopelessness. But since the miraculous surgery which corrected the problem, I have been trying to be grateful and be more positive. I try not to freak out about some unexpected car repair, or dental bill anymore. Yes, my poor old car is a money pit, but on the other hand, I can drive normally when just a short while ago, my right leg was partially paralyzed. My Mom used to say “It’s only money” and that is so true. Am I always successful in being positive?–absolutely not, but I will continue to practice.

Being Your Own Cheerleader

Sometimes, you have to be your own cheerleader. For the past two days I have fallen into the depression and hopelessness trap. That does not happen too often because of the amount of gratitude I have regarding my physical state compared to a year ago. But I get overwhelmed with all the steps involved in growing my blog. Today it came to a head, and all the old tapes started playing in my head, telling me I am a loser, and what are you doing this for, and who would even want to read your blog anyway–and on and on. But sometimes all it takes is a little hope and your attitude can turn around in an instant. I know that God is leading me someplace, but sometimes I don’t listen to the signs. It is no coincidence that I have gotten back into photography again, after all these years. My biggest problem is that I don’t believe in myself and I am always waiting for validation from others. In addition, when things get too difficult I just give up. I know from all my readings that you will never achieve anything if you don’t persevere. It all comes back to belief in yourself and not listening to the old negative voices in your own head from your childhood. I, for one, was told from an early age that I was “stupid” every day of my life by my father, until I believed it. As a result I lacked the self confidence to pursue a career in art, which is what I wanted. When you have no confidence, you never think you are good enough and go through your life settling. Granted, I did o.k. for myself, but at my stage in life I must start taking chances and trying to shed that inferiority I felt my whole life because I listened and, most importantly believed, the negativity from my parents. It is time to believe in myself, no matter if nobody else does. Yes if you don’t have a cheerleader (and lots of us don’t) you have to be your own.