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December 2010
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February 2011

a month of celebrating self-love!


Tomorrow I'm launching a month-long celebration of self-love here on Positively Present, which means every post in the month of February will be geared toward revving up your love of yourself. The month of February is usually focused on loving others. That's an awesome thing to do and it's very important when it comes to living a positive life -- but so is loving yourself. So, this year, I've decided that the month of February should also the time of year when we pause and remember to love ourselves as well those around us.

Honestly, there are too many people in the world who treat others better than they treat themselves. They would never say a harsh would about someone they love, but they're quick to judge themselves and put themselves down. That, to me, is not okay. It's not okay to judge yourself and criticize yourself and, in some cases, even hate yourself. If you want to live the most positive,  present life that you can, you absolutely must love yourself. And you must do it now.

As urgent as this self-love call to action is, it's certainly not an easy task to tackle -- especially if it's something you've struggled with for some time -- which is why I'm dedicating not a post to it, but an entire month of posts. If there's one thing I truly believe in it's self-love, and it's my goal to share all I know about the topic with you this month in hope that someone -- even just one person -- will begin to see how much s/he is worth and how important it is to love him/herself. 

Though it's still January, I want to kick off this month of self-love a day early with a few inspiring quotes about loving yourself. Though I have a lot to say on the subject, I'm no self-love expert and so I've gathered quotes on the subject that have inspired me to believe in the value of self-love. I hope you'll take these words of wisdom to heart and use them as reminders to love yourself -- no matter what.

Self-Love Inspiration

"The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely."
Carl Jung


"Self-love is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting."
William Shakespeare


"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance."
Oscar Wilde


"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are."
Kurt Cobain


"A person's worth in this world is estimated according to the value they put on themselves."
Jean De La Bruyere


"We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies."
Roderick Thorp


"Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror."
Byron Katie


"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Just as much as we see in others we have in ourselves."
William Hazlitt


"You, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."


"Do not wish to be anything other than what you are."
St. Francis De Sales


"Self-love is the source of all our other loves."
Pierre Corneille


"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine"
Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves."
Nathaniel Branden


“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become."
Carl Jung


"Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it."
Thaddeus Golas


"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."
Lao Tzu


"We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
Dalai Lama


"Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”

Though I value self-love immensely, I'm no expert on the subject. I know what I believe, what I feel, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't love to learn more -- and that's where I need your help. If you come across any articles, blog posts, videos, films, songs, or personal experiences that relate to the topic of self-love, I'd love to hear about them. Send links/info to me at positivepresent [at] gmail [dot] com, or leave any found tidbits in the comments section. Together we can spread the word about self-love and make a difference in how we (and others!) see the world around us.


5 tips for trumping tragedy with positivity

When you're going through a true tragedy, the kind of life-altering heartache that can take a lifetime to recover from, one of the last things you want to be thinking about is staying positive. In times of tragedy, the word positivity can sound like a foreign concept, the kind of fantastical notion that only naive children believe in. It may be unbearable to consider being positive when tragedy strikes, but it is one of the best ways to rise above whatever pain and hurt you are facing and move forward with your life. Being positive in general can be a challenge and it's even more difficult when you find yourself in a terrible situation. For this reason, it's important to deal with using positivity in times of tragedy from a unique perspective. It's not enough to say "look for the good in everything" or "spend time laughing." Regular positivity tips and tricks won't always work when dealing with a particularly heartbreaking or disturbing scenario. For times of tragedy, things are a bit different and this is why I've put together a list of the top five ways to use positive thinking to improve your outlook if you're facing a tragic situation.
5 Tips for Using Positivity to Trump Tragedy
1. Be open to gratitude. One of the very first things you can do when faced with tragedy is open your mind to grateful thinking. It might seem like one of the last things you want to do when you're going through a particularly hard time, but it's one of the first things you should turn to when you're struggling. While an "attitude of gratitude" might sound terrifically cliche, focusing on the elements you're grateful for when things aren't going well is one of the quickest ways to bring your mind back to a positively present state. If you can focus on what you have to be grateful for in your life right now, you can steer your mind in a positive direction. Even the most basic things -- like being alive -- are worth considering. Even during the absolute worst of times, there is something to be thankful for.
2. Keep yourself busy. When tragedy strikes, the last place you want to find yourself is sitting alone with nothing to do but dwell on your own thoughts. If you don't keep busy, you'll find yourself hopelessly replaying the moments and emotions in your mind, plunging yourself further and further into the black hole of negativity. You don't want to do that now, do you? No. You want to be strong, be positive, and recover from whatever tragedy you're facing. And, if that's what you're aiming for, you need to get up off your bum and get moving. Recruit friends and family and get moving. Take up a hobby, join a group, host an event. Even if it's the last thing you feel like doing, get moving. The busier you are, the less time you'll have to dwell on the negative thoughts you may be experiencing.
3. Seek professional help. One of the most important things to consider when a tragedy strikes is whether or not you need to seek professional help. Seeking positivity is all well and good, but some situations require some serious professional attention. If you're struggling with what you think might be depression or you're battling addiction issues related to the tragedy you've experienced, it's essential that you seek professional help. It might seem expensive or time-consuming, but the investments you make in your personal well-being are always worth it. You deserve to rise above whatever tragedy has happened to you, and one of the only ways to do that may be to seek outside guidance from a true professional. Make sure to do your homework when seeking someone to help you and, if the relationship doesn't feel right, know that it's okay to move on to another professional if necessary.
4. Surround yourself with love. Loving yourself and surround yourself with people that love you is great advice for anyone, but it's especially important if you're facing a tragic situation. Love is one of the greatest solutions to almost any problem. If you find yourself in a tough spot and need help, turn to love. First and foremost, be kind and loving to yourself. Give yourself a break when things are really hard and refrain from judging yourself. Loving yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, but it's also one of the hardest. While you're working on that, be sure to surround yourself with people who love you, care about you, and support you. Remember: almost nothing is more important than being around those who love you during a tragedy.
5. Stay in the present. Though it might seem like the present is where you're suffering and you might wonder, "Why would I want to stay here?", the present is actually the best place to direct your thoughts when you are faced with a deeply tragic circumstance. Most likely, you are struggling in the present because you are thinking on what has happened to you or your imagining what will happen based on the tragedy you've experienced. Stop. Instead, focus on what's happening in this very moment. Use your five senses to really pay attention to the world around you in this moment. Don't waste time looking back or making predictions about what's next. Stay in the moment, stay present, and slowly but surely you'll be able to make progress in a positive direction.

Being positive in the face of tragedy is tough. It's one of the hardest things you'll probably face in your life. It can be all too tempting to give into negativity when you're in a difficult situation -- but don't! Life is way too short to be miserable and, by letting negativity take hold of you, you're setting yourself up for an unhappy existence. When tragedy strikes, remember the five tips I've listed above and know that you, like so many who have faced tragedy and grown stronger from it, can overcome whatever heartache you're facing.

the to-do list for living a positive life

"Yeah, It's been a ride...
I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one
Now some of you might still be in that place
If you're trying to get out, just follow me
I'll get you there..."

"Not Afraid"

Next month it will be Positively Present's two-year anniversary and thinking about that has made me pause and reflect on how things used to be and how they are now. Before I started this site, I was in a particularly low place in my life. I didn't think I would ever come out of it, and most of the time I didn't even care. But, for whatever reason, two years ago something inside me demanded a change and I started working on living a more positive and present life. I knew I needed to be living my life differently and, in order to do that, I knew a lot of things about the life I was living would have to change. 

It has not been easy -- at ALL. Since I started this site, I've made a lot -- and I do mean a lot -- of changes in my life in an attempt to make every day more positive and to live more in the present. If someone had told me two years ago that I would be living the life I currently am, I never would have believed her. So much has changed but, oddly enough, all of these changes have brought to a place where I am more of who I am. It has taken me awhile to get out of the place where I was so unhappy, but I've made a lot of strides in the right direction and every day I'm making process. 

If, as Eminem's quote implies, you find yourself in a place where you're not living a positive life, where you're unhappy and wanting to get out of where you are and into another place, take a look at the To Do list I've created below for living a positive life. These are the things that I've done to get to me to where I am now. Some days I'm still struggling, still seeking something, but when I reflect on how far I've come, I can't help but give credit to all of the changes that have made my life so much better. If you add these items to your daily To Do list, I can guarantee that you'll find your way out of a negative place and into a positive one. 


Top 10 To-Do's for a Positive Life


1. Stop doing the things that make you unhappy. This is number one on the list for a reason. Too often we spend time and energy doing things that make us unhappy and too often we don't make the connection between what causes our unhappiness. Look at your life carefully. Are you doing anything that makes you unhappy? When you find yourself at your lowest points, is there anything you can pinpoint that has caused the low point to occur? Often there are patterns that we just don't admit to. Take an extra close look at any alcohol or drug use because these are too often the cause of serious unhappiness and negativity. 


2. Surround yourself with people who bring you up -- not down. Just like you must look at the actions your taking and choose not to do things that cause you unhappiness, you must also choose not to be around people that cause you to be unhappy. Sadly, too many people surround themselves with individuals that don't bring them up. If you find that people in your life are bringing you down -- yes, even family members or significant others -- you have to find a way to separate yourself from them. If you want to live a truly positive life, you must be surrounded by positive influences. 


3. Invest some serious time in self-love and soul searching. If you want to live a positive life, you must know what it is that you stand for and what matters to you. The only way to go about learning to love yourself is to invest time in it. It might sound silly to some, but finding true love for yourself and really knowing who you are is essential for living your most positive life. Before you can love anyone or anything else fully, you must first love yourself. Don't ever think about self-love or soul searching as a waste of time because, honestly, it is such a valuable asset to living life positively. 


4. Spend your time doing the things you love to do. Once you've rid your life of doing things that make you unhappy, you'll suddenly have a lot more free time on your hands. What to do with that all that free time? Spend it doing things you absolutely love to do. Take a moment to think about the times you are the happiness. What are you doing during those times? It doesn't matter if it's a silly thing or something that other people don't quite get. What matters is this: if something makes you genuinely happy, you should spend time doing it. 


5. Revise the way you look at the world around you. When going from a negative outlook to a positive one, I really had to spend time thinking about the way I was looking at things. The way you see the world around you is a choice. You can choose to look for the good or you can choose not to. It's completely and entirely up to you. Once I realized this, I understood that it didn't make much sense to focus on the bad things in life. Sure, I had to acknowledge them, but I certainly didn't need to dwell on them. Change your point of view and your whole life will change too. 


6. Be open-minded to new (or old!) ideas of living a positive life. I used to be the kind of girl who would scoff at an article like this, thinking these kinds of ideas were pretty much bullshit. However, the more I started opening my mind to new ideas, the more I started realizing that there are a lot of awesome people out there in the world living positive lives and, really, why shouldn't I listen to them? If someone has been successful with an idea for living a positive life, it's at least worth considering. Every idea might not work for you, but having an open mind really helps lead to a positive life. 


7. Stop beating yourself up about the past. For too long, I spent way too much time thinking about, revisiting, and quite literally going backward into the past. It was pointless and painful, but for years I did it and caused myself (and others) a great deal of unhappiness. Hard as it is to admit sometimes, the past is over. Going back to it or fretting about it or beating yourself up over it does absolutely nothing. Yes, you can look at your past and learn from it, but you do not need to continue to blame yourself for it or revisit it constantly in your mind. What's done is done. The sooner you learn from it and move on, the better. 


8. Don't seek happiness outside of yourself in things or people. One of the things I always used to do was seek happiness outside of myself. If I was feeling unhappy or drowning myself in negativity, I would look outside myself for a solution. But, ultimately, no matter what I turned to, the negativity within me remained. It might be tempting to rely on other people for your happiness or turn to habits like shopping, eating, or drinking to quell your negative state of mind, but, believe me, those outside things never do the trick. You must seek happiness and positivity within yourself. It really is the only way to truly live a positive life. 


9. Believe you have the ability to change your own life. This can be a hard one for many people. Over and over again they think or say the worst two words I used to be so familiar with and now dread: "I can't..." The second you let yourself think that way about changing your life, you're setting yourself up for failure. If you don't believe you can change your life, then it's going to be pretty hard to actually do it. Believing in yourself sounds so cliche, but there's a reason that concept has stuck around for so long. Without it, you'll paralyze yourself and living a positive life will be pretty darn impossible.


10. Refuse to give up, no matter what happens or what people say. A lot of people look down on those trying to better their lives. Perhaps it is jealousy or fear or just plain ignorance, but for whatever reason, people may judge you. When you strive to change your life -- even if you do only one thing on this list -- there may be people that criticize you or attempt to stand in your way. Don't let them. Don't let anyone or anything come between you and living the life you want to be living. Remember that, no matter what, this is YOUR life. If you want to live it positively, do it and don't let anyone or anything stand in your way. 


As much as I'd advise you to do every one of the things on this To Do list, I know from experience how hard even one of these things can be. It takes a lot of hard to work to live a positive life, especially if you're struggling with negativity. But know this: even if you do one thing on this list, your life will improve. And you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try. If you want to live a positive life, do it. There may be obstacles and it may be hard to get from that negative place to a positive one, but, believe me, all of the work will be worth every ounce of effort you put into it because nothing is better than loving the life you're living. 


How do YOU live a positive life?
What would you add to this To Do list?