For me, the past few years or so have been fraught with knock downs. Who hasn’t had periods like that? It seems like one negative thing after another keeps happening, and you really have trouble finding the silver linings to all those gray clouds hanging over your head. Seems like they just will not go away. You know what I’m talking about.
In the midst of all the turmoil, I’ve developed a mantra…“FORWARD NOT BACK.” When I find my mind peeking into the past, dwelling in the negative places and wondering why, I try really hard to turn my thinking around by repeating these three simple words to myself, FORWARD NOT BACK. Surprise betrayals? FORWARD NOT BACK. Financial woes? FORWARD NOT BACK. Joblessness? FORWARD NOT BACK. Sickness? FORWARD NOT BACK. Rough times? FORWARD NOT BACK. Don’t know which direction to go? FORWARD NOT BACK.
In Ben Affleck’s acceptance speech at the Oscar’s this year he said a phrase with tears in his eyes that I immediately wrote down and keep tucked in my daily devotional. I repeat it to myself every morning. “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. What matters is that you gotta get up.” See?! Even Ben Affleck goes through rough times.
A few years ago I read a book based on a lecture written and given by Randy Pausch called, “The Last Lecture.” Randy was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and was an award winning teacher. He was married to a beautiful woman Jai, had three young sons and was battling terminal pancreatic cancer. He wrote and gave this lecture as a legacy to his children. It was heart-wrenching to watch, and yet in the midst of all the tragedy surrounding this young family, there was an aura of positivity. It was mind boggling to see and experience. Randy said in his lecture that you had to decide if you were a Tigger or an Eeyore. Tigger doesn’t dwell on the “not helpful” stuff, but moves ahead making the best of the moment.
During one interview with Randy and Jai, she was asked how she copes with the inevitable. Jai said she taught herself a simple phrase when she began to go into a dark place. NOT HELPFUL. It became her mantra during this difficult time. It was a reminder to her to not let negative thoughts come between living fully with Randy in the present.
Life surprises you at every turn, sometimes whacking you upside the head with a super blow that knocks you off your feet. The secret, like Ben said, is that you gotta keep getting up. NOT HELPFUL; FORWARD NOT BACK…whatever you use, get yourself a mantra. It helps you to cope and diverts your attention away from the negative stuff and into the positive light. It’s a simple strategy but it works. Give it a try it.