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January 2012
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parting positively: 4 tips for saying goodbye

 

This is goodbye()

 

In five days, I will be saying goodbye to the job I've had for almost two years. During the time I've spent there, I've really bonded with some of my colleagues and it's going to be very difficult to say goodbye to them after all the hours, days, weeks we have spent together. Unlike a lot of people leaving their jobs, I don't have the promise of new bonds and colleagues to look forward to (at least not yet!). I'm going to be working from home, working on my own, which makes the goodbye even harder. It's always so much harder to say goodbye to someone when you don't have someone else waiting in the wings (a truth I've battled in my personal relationships for years). 

When, months ago, I looked forward to this week, I didn't imagine feeling anything but excitement and gratitude to be finally been given the opportunity to focusing my attention on what I love: writing. But it's not all exhilaration and anticipation. There is a bit of sadness there in knowing that some of the people I loved seeing every day will no longer be part of my daily routine. No matter how big or small a part someone has played in your life, when you have to say goodbye, it can be tough. Below are some of the best ways I've come up for coping with goodbyes. 

 

4 Tips for Saying Farewell


1. Focus on the positive.
Looking back at the time spent with colleagues, it's oddly tempting to zero in on the people who were not positive, who made working with them difficult and irritating. It might be a trick of the mind that urges us to look at what we won't miss so we don't feel so down about what will miss, but don't forget to focus on the positive. Think of the good times you had with those you're saying goodbye to and remind them of those positive experiences when you go (stay tuned for my Friday post filled with all the positive things I'm going to be sad to say goodbye to). 


2. Embrace the present.
Saying goodbye often causes us to think back on the past -- both the good and the bad -- and dwell on it. We want to cling to the good times or feel slighted by the bad times. But life -- and goodbyes -- is too short for that. Don't allow yourself to dwell on what was. Instead, focus on what is. Be grateful for where you are today and encourage others to do the same. As I mentioned in #1, it's tempting to focus on the negative people and situations, but don't go there. Instead, wish everyone -- yes, everyone -- well in this present moment. 


3. Share your sadness.
It's okay to be sad about leaving. Don't feel like you have to keep all of this to yourself. Find a colleague or friend you can talk to and express how you're feeling. Others might be feeling the same way and appreciate your openness -- and you will release some of the burden once you open up and share your emotions with others. Change of any kind can be intimidating, but we don't have to face it alone. Don't underestimate or ignore your emotions. Embrace them, address them, and share them in order to overcome them. 


4. Exit with grace.
Over the years, I've seen a lot of people come and go in the workplace. Most people do it with grace, but there are a few that have left angrily, quickly, harshly. No matter what your situation (unless, of course, it's something extreme like harassment, etc.), don't leave in anger. Don't leave a sour taste in the mouths of those you are saying farewell to. Instead, leave with grace. Say goodbye to those who meant the most to you. Move forward to the present and do not dwell on negative interactions you have had in the past. This is the last time you will see many of these people so leave them with a positive impression of you. 

 

I'm fortunate that my upcoming goodbyes are due to my happily-ever-after dream coming true, but not all goodbyes occur on such positive terms. While there's never going to be a perfect way to let go of the people you've grown accustomed to having in your life, I hope these steps might help you if you are facing a goodbye scenario in your own life. It's never easy. It's never fun. But it's one of those "it's part of life" things that we sometimes have to suck up and deal with. If goodbyes are something we must face, we might as well do what we can to make them as positive as possible. 

 Any tips for dealing with goodbyes? 
How have you cope with saying farewell? 


words to live by: don't kick the chair

Dont kick the chair()


Have you ever felt like everybody’s watching
Waiting for you to lose
Have you ever felt like you’re living in a spot light
Searching for the real you
Tell me have you ever woken up
Just to wish you could close your eyes
Getting hard to find a friend in a city like this
Where you can’t even trust a smile

There are lonely nights when you see no hope
And you’re feeling short of breathe
Like a whole damn world is a braded rope
In a noose surround your neck

Don’t kick the chair
It’s gonna get better
Don’t kick the chair
It can only get better

Have you ever felt love, really really felt love
The kind I could save a life
But right before you know it you find out in a moment
You’re gonna have to say goodbye

There are lonely nights when you see no hope
And you’re feeling short of breathe
Like a whole damn world is a braded rope
In a noose surround your neck

Don’t kick the chair
It’s gonna get better
Don’t kick the chair
It can only get better

Yep yep you know
If I can make it through then you can to
Yep yep I’m good focus like always
Feels like I’ve been hit hit by ten brick walls
Some people like you just sit sit and wait for you to fall
Then bound back way quicker than you fell down
Laugh in their face like what
See nothing can break me
No no no no listen
If you gotta think twice about life
Some really ain't right
You don’t need no help
You could be better all by yourself
You could be better all by yourself
You could be better all by yourself yeah
You could be better all by yourself ooh

Don’t kick the chair
It’s gonna get better
Don’t kick the chair
It can only get better

Don’t kick the chair
It’s gonna get better
Don’t kick the chair
It can only get better

Dia Frampton + Kid Cudi
"Don't Kick the Chair"  

 

"Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter.  


how do you want to feel today?

Feeltoday

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Reading one of my favorite sites the other day, Danielle LaPorte, I was inspired by her article "How Do You Want It All To Feel?" in which she asks what she calls the burning question: "Your day, kissing, next success, friendships, nervous system, money-making... How do you want it all to feel?"

We are often reacting to how we feel -- or anticipating how we think something will feel -- rather than contemplating how we actually want it to feel. And, to top it off, we usually only spend time thinking about feelings when it comes to the big things -- life changes, relationships, the year ahead, etc. But what about how we want the little things to feel? The day-to-day things? What about how we want this very moment to feel? 

We have more control over how we feel than we think we do. Unfortunately we don't always realize we have that control. It seems like we experience things only after the fact, recognizing our emotional state after we're already swallowed up by it. Or we experience emotions and feelings that have yet to happen. (For example, I was completely consumed by grief last weekend when I thought my beloved pup Bella was gone for good; I was experiencing an emotion for an event that had yet to happen.) Too often we don't focus on the emotional outcome we want; we only react or create emotions in our minds. 

Danielle's question got me wondering: what would it be like to start off the day with an emotional game plan? What would it be like to take actions to make those emotions stick throughout the day, rather than simply allowing the day's events to govern our emotional states? I think it would be pretty great to take control over our emotions and determine how we want to feel.

Below are some ideas to help you start thinking about how you can take charge of your emotions and (hopefully!) choose to focus on the positive aspects of your life. 

 

How to Take Charge of Today's Emotions


1. Figure out how you want to feel.
Use the prompts below (and download this worksheet) to figure out how you want to feel today. I'd recommend focusing on the positive. Starting off the day with a positive mindset won't guarantee a day filled with happy and carefree emotions, but it will improve your chances of making the most of the day. 

Today I want to feel.... 

I choose this emotion because... 

I will start today off with this emotion by... 

To maintain this feeling, today I will... 

I want to look back on the day and feel... 

 

2. Keep at it. Really focus on that "maintain this feeling" question and start off the day with some ideas of how you will keep at it. In every day there will be emotional roadblocks and setbacks. Identify what those might be and focus on ways to control your emotional state during them. While I don't usually recommend focusing on the negative or the what-could-go-wrongs, it wouldn't hurt to take a moment or two to identify emotional triggers and creatively combat them. (For example: If you know you're going to hit tons of aggravating traffic on the way to work, download some new songs to keep you inspired or purchase an audiobook to entertain you.) 


3. Recognize + redirect. 
 Of course choosing an ideal emotional state doesn't mean we won't have reactions to situations or events occurring throughout the day. You might start off the day declaring you want to be happy and encounter an unexpected situation that makes you extremely angry. I'm a big believer in experiencing your emotions (a positive attitude doesn't mean sticking your head in the sand and pretending everything's just peachy!) so go ahead and feel whatever emotions come your way. Just don't let them dominate your day. Recognize them and then redirect your attention to how you want to feel. 


4. Stay in control. Remember: you are the one in control of your emotions. It is very tempting to blame other people, situations, or even others' emotions for the state of how we're feeling, but ultimately we have the final say over how we feel. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent," and that goes for all feelings in my opinion. Without your consent, no one else can make you feel anything. Sure, they might push your emotions in a certain direction, but you have the final say. When struggling with this, repeat this mantra: "No one can make me feel [angry/sad/upset/annoyed/etc.] without my consent!" 


Emotions are tricking things and, as much as we really do have control over them, it can be hard to admit to this power we have. Admitting we are in control means we have to be accountable for how we feel, something we don't always want to do. But being accountable for your emotional state -- and choosing it on your own -- is a wonderful, powerful thing. But choosing how you want to feel -- and refusing to let anything (or anyone) stand in your way -- you can create the life you want to be living. Start with today and take it one day at a time and soon choosing your emotional state will become a habit you can't live without!