‘In a field full of dandelions, it can be hard to see a hundred wishes instead of a thousand weeds.’ Now that quote isn’t mine and I couldn’t have said it better myself!

The moment we are born our environment subjects us to some harsh realities of life. To some challenges. It’s inevitable. That is life. But, this kind of stimuli, if it persists, can condition us to almost expect negative outcomes and to maintain a defeatist attitude. It becomes almost impossible to think positively.

I am reminded of a story about one Christian woman who had devoted all her life to God, shunning, all that was considered to be evil by the society in which she lived in. No one could fault her ways and yet life did not spare her from heartache. She lost her husband to a horrific car accident. Not long after that, her two beautiful children decided to quit school. One began dealing drugs, the other got pregnant. As if that wasn’t enough, the woman was later diagnosed with cancer. She soon sank into depression as she could not see a way out of her situation. To her, life was no longer worth living. There was nothing left to fight for and she believed her faith had let her down.

Although it was hard, somehow she held on. One day, she heard a testimony from someone who had overcome worse and who was doing everything possible to make their life better and to stay positive. The woman had an epiphany. She began to appreciate that in spite of all her challenges, life was still worth fighting for. She still could come out a winner. So, the resumed worship as she had stopped and accepted the gruelling chemotherapy treatment the doctors had offered her. Months later, she was given the all clear.

This woman’s experiences inspired her to birth a book which inspired and encouraged many. The woman moved around the country holding motivational seminars drawing from her life experiences. She went on a campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer and how to deal with grief and loss. Before long the woman had raised enough money to open a Youth Support Centre for kids going through a tumultuous time in their lives. When the woman’s children saw how their mother was taking everything in her stride, they returned home and together they rebuilt their lives. The woman’s changed outlook on life changed and saved many lives. Not only that, the woman discovered her purpose in life.

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Change begins in the mind. We all sing about it. Regardless of how positive people around you try to be, unless you convince yourself that you can turn your situation around, there is really nothing anyone can do or say to help you. One has to talk themselves into believing it is possible first which is the most crucial step towards recovery. No mean feat especially when life has battered and bruised us so much. But, it is possible.

So what can you do to turn a negative situation into a positive one? Well, here is a list of suggestions:

1) Birth a book. Out of your horrible experience may be the making of a beautiful and inspiring story. It doesn’t have to be a whole novel. A diary. An article. A blog. All will do. Writing is a catharsis which could mean the difference between shoving antidepressants down your throat and maintaining your sanity. Something magical happens when you pour your heart out on a piece of paper. You may get emotional and cry as you explore your emotions and that is okay. With that comes healing.

2) Learn lessons. There is always something to learn out of every situation. This way you won’t repeat the same mistakes in the future.

3) Someone once said ‘Every situation when properly perceived becomes an opportunity.’ Use your negative experiences to build others. Have a dream and set goals. Start a support group, write a motivational blog, or indeed, birth a book. This way you will get a sense of purpose in life and that will build your confidence and spur you on.

4) Never underestimate the power of the mind. The human mind has the tendency to move towards that which occupies it.So choose to dwell on the positives in your life. The fact that you are able to read this article is in itself a blessing.

5) Give people and life a chance. So you have lost and been hurt a few times.It happens to the best of us. You’re not immune to hardships. But here’s the thing – humans were made to overcome. You will bounce back and when you do try again and do it with an open mind.

6) Care for someone, love, smile, respect, practice forgiveness, have gratitude and give to others. The vibe that you send out into the world you will receive in return.

7) Splurge on yourself. Buy a new dress. Get a new hair-cut. Take up dancing classes. Climb a mountain. Challenge yourself. Do something to boost your self-esteem, your confidence and to give you a sense of self-worth. As you do all these activities, you will discover that life, however, short or challenging it can get, is still worth living.

8) Lastly, remember, no situation in life is permanent. Things change and sometimes for the better. Trust that you too, just like the next person, deserve joy, peace and happiness!

The message here is simple. When life throws stones at you, grab those stones and build your own castle!

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