To do anything negative, you lack self-awareness to the extreme. Being honest, loving, compassionate, loyal, true to your word, and faithful not only improves the lives of others, but makes your life better, too. And if you do choose positive over negative behavior, when you finally meet death, you will have far fewer regrets. Because, you’ll have truly lived.
You don’t have to feed the homeless at a soup kitchen every week to choose positivity. You just have to wake up each day and strive to be better than you are. Be kinder. Smile more. Get exercise. Yes, even taking better care of you promotes positivity. When you feel happier, you make happier choices. Which generally happens when you do good things for others.
Being broken is no excuse for wasting what is precious to the rest of us. You always have a choice. That’s why when you’re over 30 but act as though a negative situation just crept up on you—like you took a step back but somehow the results of your own actions aren’t your fault—you’re lying to yourself and anyone else stupid enough to listen. Because it’s easier than accepting the ugly truth:
The man who sacrifices others instead of holding himself accountable lacks the conviction necessary to actually live. And, love.
Sugar-coating use and abuse of people instead of taking responsibility adds insult to existing injury. Though I imagine it feels easier. I wouldn’t really know. I’ve been too busy cleaning up other people’s messes most of my life. I’m brave, which means I will take risks on people who may not deserve it. My experience with traitors then is sadly rather extensive. And those who think they’re #BadAss are the absolute worst offenders.
#BadAss isn’t driving a truck, getting a tattoo or owning a gun. #BadAss is keeping your promises—like when you tell someone you love her and will continue to, even if the Sun explodes and you have to find another. That’s a #BadAss thing to say. But when you say words like that, it’s only #BadAss if you mean it. And you only mean it if you keep that promise. Which does not include abandoning the person you say it to. Or, pretending that doing so is somehow her fault.
Lacking conviction creates a vacuum inside you. You strive to fill the emptiness any way you can. The most common way is through addiction. People can be addicted to more than just the obvious things, like cigarettes, drugs, gambling, and sex. If you’re empty, you can become addicted to even the smallest high—like lying when you don’t have to. Having a secret may feel akin to creating a mystery. As if you’re smarter, and therefore more mysterious, than everyone else. But you’re not. You’re just digging more holes, creating more emptiness. And one day, you’re going to have dug so many, you’ll fall into a pit of your own making.
I've been there. It's not fun.
Smart people don’t have to lie to create mysteries or feel better about themselves. Smart people are smart enough to go after what they want. To succeed. To have accomplishments. But smart people are still just people. They’re as vulnerable to lies as anyone else.
Perhaps you believe your negative decision(s) and subsequent behavior(s) couldn’t be avoided, a belief validated by friends and family. Your inner circle may have even influenced you to make negative choices in the first place! If this is the case, ask yourself why. Does their social validation somehow benefit them, even if it hurts you? Sycophantic response is not a valid response. You can’t trust it. Nor can you reasonably expect even well-meaning friends and family to risk familial relationships by telling you you’re a total jerk. Also, it should be noted that any response from people you trust is limited because it’s based on the information you provide—which may include lies if you’re negative enough to have made a hurtful choice to begin with.
Regardless, the people you currently rely on to validate and support your negative decisions will die one day. Just like you. Perhaps even long before you. And then what???
Will you tell yourself that the dead are to blame for YOUR life, when the easier choice—the one with the greatest benefits to you and the rest of the world—would have been just to live it?
If you recognize that you are stuck in a negative pattern, you can change. Though it isn’t easy. You likely already know this. Because you are constantly envious of the people you have hurt; it’s part of why you hurt them in the first place. Whether you are aware of it or not. Whatever they had, you felt you never would. And it angered you. Why can’t you get your fairy tale and keep it??? I have the answer, but you won’t like it:
The reason you never get a happy ending is because you don’t value yourself, so can’t value anyone else.
Insecurity is quite a formidable demon. So, you seek to validate your actions, your choices, your decisions to justify your negativity. But there’s a little more to it. You also want to look back, see if you’re somehow missed. You still want to use the person you hurt to feed that bruised ego. Bruised by your own insecurity, mind you. That same insecurity makes you curious about something else, too: What YOU might be missing….
You’re missing quite a lot. And know it. If you felt confident in your negative decision, you wouldn’t be looking backward as often as you do. Bottom line? You screwed up. So you need to look for holes. You want to push responsibility for your pain on someone else.
What happens, though, when you realize there are no holes? That, the person you hurt wasn’t a paper doll. She was real. Genuine, even. And now, is just trying to live her life—without you in it—because, well, you gave her no other choice, did you???
You look for the person you hurt on things like social media. You see pictures at weddings, social events, vacations, new homes, family gatherings, dinners with friends, date nights, hikes in the woods, road trips…you don’t see much suffering. You think, obviously, you made the right decision. She is perfectly fine; it’s you who suffers now. But, did you really expect to see a depressed, fat wretch sitting alone in a room? She isn’t the negative party in this equation—you are.
Positive people are healthy people. Despite loss, a positive person will continue living. That’s a healthy response; it implies accountability to the self and others. But smiling selfies don’t necessarily mean the world is wonderful. And seeing vacations, parties, dinners—it’s all just typical life stuff for anyone who travels in professional circles. The pain is there. It’s just not going to be advertised.
Even after you’ve seen enough to know the person you hurt still exists, you continue to secretly seek her out. Why do this? Are you crazy? Obsessed? Addicted???
None of the above. It’s more likely that you’re driven by shame and guilt. Because, you wish you’d done things differently. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t care. So what’s holding you back from making things right? I mean, this is your chance. To finally make a positive difference. A brilliant first step in truly living. It takes courage. You can find it, too. This may be the very moment your entire life was built for. The moment you become BRAVE.
And yet, excuses abound. You will tell yourself that, at this point, you have no idea how to make things right anyway. Where would you even begin? You put it off for so long, you’re daunted at the very thought. You may even believe you don’t really want to fix things. You have nothing to offer. And even if you did, you’re unsure of what that might mean. So, convince yourself that you’re better off. Or, that she is.
But you still keep looking, don’t you???
You’ll never stop looking either. You’ll always wonder, “What if???”
You’re not alone in your thoughts. Guarantee the person you left behind is wondering the same thing. If you're the negative-leaver, you're up at bat. You'll have to make the first move if you want to transform your negatives into positives. None of us admit our failures well, but we ALL know when we have failed. At least, on the inside.
But failure is just a temporary problem, one meant to teach you how to succeed. Because, if you didn’t want to change the negatives into positives, you wouldn’t still look for the light you lost. A light so bright, it terrified you. Made you run. It makes sense that if you never experienced a miracle before, it may have seemed impossible. Like, it wasn’t real anyway, so walking away from what you imagined was inevitable loss, betrayal, abandonment, and disappointment was your best option. But that’s just more negative thinking. You have to reprogram yourself for the positive—get in the habit of believing that happiness exists. It’s the only way to find another miracle. And boy, do you need one!
The first step in breaking any negative cycle is to take responsibility. For you. Get your health up to date—make an appointment for your annual teeth cleaning. Get a physical. Start exercising regularly. No fancy gym required. A walk in nature is free. You can do it almost every day. Put better food in your body. Give up harmful habits, like smoking, unprotected sex…and lying.
When you take better care of yourself, you start to value yourself more, too. You will then want to improve your life in other ways. Like going back to school. Finding a new job that puts less stress on your body and provides a higher income for a better future. As you come to feel your own self-worth, you will be able to better recognize the value of others. It becomes easier to understand who deserves your time, energy and effort. And, who doesn’t.
Once you’ve gotten yourself on the right track, you can correct all the wrongs. You just have to want to. Healthy people will always forgive you, because they’re healthy. Holding on to anger is about the most self-destructive thing you can do. That said, healthy people also won’t jeopardize themselves and those connected to them by letting a destroyer back in. You’d have to earn their trust again...that takes time. And, major effort. Time and effort the unhealthy version of you wouldn’t have invested. Because you couldn’t even take the time or make the effort to be your own friend. But now, you are healthy enough to offer real friendship. And THAT is #BadAss.
Change starts with one small step in the right direction. Be brave! Take a bigger one. Keep the momentum going until you find your steps become leaps. Bound your way toward a more positive life.
Depression, anxiety and previous trauma from abuse may try to stall your progress. But remember, death won’t wait for you to feel better. When it’s your turn, you want to be able to slide into home base having given it your all. Even if you’re half way there already and had a less-than-stellar start, you can finish strong. In life, you always have a choice. So, make the right one. Be positive. You can then help others to be positive, too.
Death does not come with options. You only have one. Meet it bravely, knowing you made the world better. Not worse. Because, you’re alive for better or worse.