If you have the feeling your life is not going anywhere, there is no reason to despair and feel sorry for yourself. If we have the capacity to go in the wrong direction, we also have the capacity to go in the right direction. These are a few simple ideas that can make a big difference to the future direction of your life.
1. Look forward not Backwards
When we think of the past and what happened, we invariably remember bad experiences. It is important to be able to move forward and look to the future. The past has not given us satisfaction so we have to think of the past as dust. It is only through looking forward and living in the present moment that we can bring real satisfaction into our lives.
2. Avoid Guilt
To be overwhelmed with guilt is to place a heavy chain around our neck. Holding onto guilt and feelings of unworthiness will not help us in anyway to become a better person. We need to learn from experiences; if we have made mistakes we can resolve to avoid repeating them. But, if we allow ourselves to be burdened with guilt it often becomes harder to throw off the unfortunate experience and move on. Forgiveness is a great virtue, and we need to start with forgiveness of our self. Forgiveness means we can wipe the slate clean and aspire for a new start.
If we have no hope, no aspiration for a better experience, we are already doomed. Hope is the belief and faith that things will improve. Our hope may be quite weak, but unless we can anticipate a better future, it is hard to make it happen. Hope requires self belief and a willingness to suspend the pessimistic worries of our mind. Hope is a dream of a better future.
4. Make A list of Positive Things
It is easy to be overwhelmed by negative experiences. We can easily find many reasons to be dissatisfied or angry with the world. The nature of media and the internet is often to highlight problems, mistakes and bad things. If you find yourself overwhelmed with negativity try writing a list of positive, inspiring things. Find reasons to be optimistic and cheerful. Life is a question of balance; scepticism has its role to play, but we have to also be able to appreciate the good things in life. If we surround ourselves with just negativity we will develop a negative attitude ourselves.
5. Can you Turn bad Experiences around?
If things don’t go as planned, does your world come to an end? The problem is that if we strongly desire and expect a certain outcome, we become frustrated when it doesn’t occur. To get the most out of life we need to be flexible and willing to adapt. Happiness should not depend on events occurring as we want because they never will. Whatever happens in the outer world, we have to remember it is our inner attitude which is important. When we encounter testing experiences, don’t be despondent and feel sorry for ourselves, consider how we can turn this around.
The essential aspect of this question is that we are constantly faced with choices of resigning to our fate or changing our perspective. Is there any human being who is not beset with problems and difficulties? If you wait for your problems to disappear, you will be waiting for the time when you will be safely 6 feet under. Great people have the same difficulties as we do it; it is just that they are able to overcome them. Abraham Lincoln came from a poor background, by all accounts was ugly, throughout his political office he experienced the greatest resistance; but, he cherished a vision of a better future and was able to make it happen.
7. Don’t take things personally
It is essential that we don’t take problems personally. We need to be able to detach from the odd criticism and setback. There is great power in acceptance and detachment. Don’t allow yourself to get hung up on unfortunate experiences, strive to overcome them. Don’t define success and happiness through the importance of your ego and what people say. (see: art of criticism)
8. Replace a Negative Thought With a Positive Thought.
If a negative thought comes to mind, try to replace it with a positive thought. When we get into a negative mindset we need to make a conscious decision to try and overcome it. These are some tips on Avoiding a negative mindset
9. Be Happy Now.
Don’t think that in the future happiness will come. If we wait until we retire so that we can enjoy life, we are making a mistake. We need to try and enjoy life wherever we are. Our job may not be the most fulfilling or interesting work, but, there is no reason not to make the most of what we have. Don’t define your life through material success and outer prosperity.
10. Be Kind
There is a golden rule that what we give out invariable comes back. If we look upon the world as an ugly place and criticise people; that is how we are likely to be treated ourselves. If we are kind and sympathetic to others this will inspire others to behave in a similar way. There is a saying that ‘birds of a feather flock together’ If we are negative and mean, we will tend to attract negative and mean. If we are kind and sympathetic we will attract similar people into our lives.
The most important thing is to feel that you can turn your life around. No matter what difficulties we face now, there is a way to make the most of them. We do not need to change our outer circumstances or other people, it is we who need to change.
If our attitude is ‘never give up’ then seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be overcome. The problem is that we often expect instant results and instant change. But, most worthwhile change takes time, patience and perseverance.
Photo by: Pranlobha, Sri Chinmoy Centre galleries.