Written by: April Vargo
There’s so much in this world that you can’t control, circumstances that happen that you didn’t chose. However, you are in control of who you are, what you say, the choices you make, and how you chose to view the circumstances that you are placed in.
Years ago I was told by a student that no one is ever that happy, that it’s an act. I thought that was a really sad sentiment by a teen, to already be that jaded. The truth is, happiness is a choice, it’s not an act that someone is putting on and then secretly going into a dark room alone when people aren’t around, it’s not some God given blessing given to them and no one else.
It’s instead a choice to take the circumstances that you can’t control and respond in a way you can. It’s the opportunity to respond to people who are in your life and decide whether they should stay or whether it’s time to move on. It’s your outlook on life, there’s always a silver lining to every negative situation, the trick is seeing it and moving forward, or getting stuck and reveling in the crap.
I have always been a happy person, and many times get criticized for it. Honestly, I could never understand why. I don’t do it to make people feel bad, to feel superior or brag. It’s the simple fact that I like being happy. I don’t like feeling bad, I don’t like being in a negative situations, and I don’t like negative people. It doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to me, on the contrary, it means that I don’t let the bad be a part of my story. It’s not the narrative that I chose to focus on. It’s a part of life that I acknowledge, deal with, and move on without thinking back. I chose to be positive, happy, set goals, and work very hard to achieve said goals.
I am lucky enough to have married a man who thinks much like I do. We are raising our children to think and live in the same way. As I get ready to welcome our second little one into the world, I started thinking about what the future may hold, how our life is going to be different, and what our future story is going to say.
With the world shutting down due to a global pandemic, the media seemingly always releasing some negative story, the job market booming and people learning how to socialize again, I figured this is the perfect time to share some of my knowledge and stories on how to be in control of your own mindset and live a positive life…..
1. Acknowledge Your Emotions and Move On
I am currently in my third trimester with our second pregnancy and have found this to be incredibly challenging. I run my own business, have a toddler at home, take care of all of the tasks of running a home, and my husband and I strive to spend quality time as a family. On top of the usual every day tasks we also moved this past summer.
I noticed that as I’ve entered the third trimester I’m exhausted, I don’t have a whole lot of energy, and I feel like I’m not living up to my own expectations. I like being active and engaged. I don’t always feel that I’m able to give everyone and everything my all. At the end of the day I feel guilty, like I’m somehow failing.
I was talking to my mom about this and she said something that really stuck with me. She said, “You can’t be on 24/7. You can’t expect to be Super Mom, Super Teacher, Super Wife, all the time. You’re not going to be happy all of the time. This doesn’t last forever, you’re almost done. It’s okay to feel tired, deflated, and frustrated. It’s not okay to stay there. Acknowledge how you feel, stop putting so many demands on yourself, ask for help, rest when you need it, and just know you’re doing a great job.”
This was immensely helpful for me. I stopped beating myself up for not meeting the expectations that I set for myself, and started changing my expectations for the moment that I’m currently in. When I did, I noticed that I’m getting more rest, I feel physically better, I don’t feel guilty anymore, I make the most of the time I have and I’m happy again.
It was so important to acknowledge how you feel in the moment, and realize that this moment isn’t eternity. This is passing, and how you react to this moment is crucial. Do you lay on the couch crying, or do you say, let’s change my circumstances?
This can be applied to anything. This is a mindset for life, not just for pregnant women, but for anyone that’s having a bad moment. Don’t let that moment continue on.
2. The Rollover Effect
When life gets difficult many times it’s easy to compartmentalize or hunker down and think well it’s just my job, or just my relationship, or just my fill in the blank. I’ve got everything else under control. I’ve just got to get through this.
The problem is your life is synchronous, your life isn’t compartmental. So if one part is effected it will creep into the other aspects of your life.
Years ago my husband and I both took turns being in jobs that did not make us happy. We both noticed sleep and overall health was being affected, arguments were happening more frequently (we never argue) because we were both on edge all the time, and even our time off together wasn’t quality because we were so worried about going back to work on Monday that it cast a grey cloud over the weekend or time off.
We both supported each other in job changes, and once we found jobs that we both thrived in everything else fell back into place. The company my husband is currently working at preaches positivity, positive mindset and work environment. It’s how we live at home, and it makes a huge difference when he’s at work. He’s happy when he’s at work and he’s happy when he’s home.
I started my own business, and noticed the type of clients I’m attracting are top notch. These are people who genuinely want to be here, parents who work as a team, students who engage and work hard, and a teacher who feels valued and thrives. I’ve been able to create a positive community that transcends work and home time.
If you fix one part of your life, it will rollover into multiple parts of your life. It may feel overwhelming at first, but the trick is to start small, tackle the little things, gain momentum, and get the big things accomplished.
It’s easy to let that rock roll in either direction. If you let negativity win, negativity will continue to build up. The same goes for positivity, the more positive you lean the more positivity will naturally start building up.
3. Creating a Positive Home Life
Home should be the place you feel the most comfortable. It should be where you can let down your hair, be yourself, and bond with the people you love most.
Our home is a pretty loud place, there’s always something going on, always music playing, always toys being played with and adventures happening. It’s not always clutter free, it’s always clean because my husband and I can’t stand a dirty house, but with a two year old, there’s always something everywhere.
We say I love you all the time, there’s a lot of affection and positivity. We are very careful with the type of people we associate with and the environment we create. We’re very away of how we talk to each other and how we talk to our daughter. This will be her normal, so what she hears and sees at home is what is going to be normal for her when she’s out and about in the real world.
We want her to feel that she can come and talk to us whenever and about whatever. We want her to know that home is a safe place, a place that she can be herself and grow into the person she wants to be. This is what we want for our son as well when he makes his official appearance in December.
Creating the environment that you want to live in is not only important for you, but for your partner, and any other children or individuals living in your home. How you live impacts the lives of other people as well.
4. Trusting Your Instincts - Teach This Young
My parents were always big proponents of trusting your gut. If something feels off, it doesn’t matter why, listen to and trust yourself. My mom would have in depth conversations about this with my sister and I because a girl needs to know how to take care of herself and be aware of her surroundings at all times. As sad as it may seem, many women will tell you they had similar conversations growing up.
I’ve noticed the idea of trusting your instincts has split reactions today. I’m hearing people say, “oh you can’t say that,” “that’s rude,” “that will hurt so and so’s feelings,” “they’re family / friends they’re okay.” Many times these phrases are uttered to children.
The problem is children are born with natural survival instincts. There are studies that show that a baby will cry when a situation becomes uncomfortable, if they feel they’re in danger, or don’t trust a certain individual. They cry to alert you that it’s time to get them out of that situation.
My husband and I were always big proponents of this. If Maizy was uncomfortable we removed her from the situation. We may try it later again, if we knew there wasn’t anything dangerous going on, but if she reacted the same way, she was removed again. We did the same thing with people. If she cried around certain people we took her back.
As kids get older, teaching them to ignore their instincts can actually put them in harm’s way. For instance, if they are in a dangerous situation, or around people who are dangerous they have learned to ignore their instinct because “it’s rude,” “it’s wrong,” “they’re overreacting,” “family / friends wouldn’t harm them,” “this is normal.”
As kids continue to grow up to be adults this follows them into their adult lives and advocating for who they are and what they want can sometimes be a challenge, because they don’t know how to do it. Teaching someone to trust themselves early on gives them power to speak up for themselves, take control of their own lives, be in positive relationships, and seek out opportunities that best align with their goals.
5. A Single Person Can Change A Room - Surround Yourself With Quality People
Years ago a colleague had shared a story with me. There was a social gathering amongst friends and they were told they weren’t going to be invited this time. The reason being they were so negative they made both the hosts and the guests uncomfortable. People started verbalizing that if this individual was going to be there, they wouldn’t come.
This colleague had told me it was a little jarring because they understood they were super negative, but had no idea it impacted people in such a way that people didn’t actually want to be around them.
There are two types of people that can change a room. The person that lights up the room and draws people towards them. They bring energy, enthusiasm, and make others want to engage, share, and have a good time.
There’s the other person who literally sucks all the energy out of the room. They have a way of making you feel exhausted, sad, and drained by the end of the dealings with them.
You have to decide what type of person you want to be, and what type of person you want to surround yourself with.
I’ve noticed in our personal lives that there were some people who brought a lot of negativity in our lives. My husband and I literally never argue, but when these people were more actively involved in our lives we would argue. They had a way of bringing tension to the space, sending negative text messages, or posting negative social media postings. Them being actively involved in our lives brought a great deal of stress and tension.
I honestly don’t know what happened or why, but they slowly started excusing themselves from our life. I think one of the problems was a lot of positive things were happening for us - moving, success at work, babies being born. All of a sudden they were gone. Since them leaving, we haven’t had an argument.
Negative people have a way of creating a negative environment for not only themselves but for the people they interact with. When happy people start to identify this, they don’t want to be around this. Happy people will try to look for minded people who want to see them succeed, who share in each other’s happy moments, and want to experience life together.
6. If You Have To Medicate To Go…..
I’m part of a few mom groups on social media, and every time the holidays roll around the number of posts and comments about anxiety goes through the roof. People speak about how they are uncomfortable getting together with family, in-laws, friends, etc. so much so that they find themselves getting physically ill, experiencing severe anxiety and many having to medicate to just get through the day.
The thought occurred to me, why is this happening, and why always around the holidays? It’s the obligatory, well we’re family / friends we have to get together, it’s just what it is. Are these people you see any other time throughout the year? Are these people who you enjoy getting together with? Do they build you up or tear you down? Why are you putting yourself in this situation?
This extends beyond the holidays as well. It goes into jobs, relationships, school, family, friends. If you have to medicate to be able to even function in the environment that should be a huge sign that this is not a good environment to be in. This needs to change. Whether it’s starting to look for a new job, saying no to that invitation, getting out of a relationship, or starting new traditions with new people. You should never be in a situation where you feel that uncomfortable.
7. Change Is Scary - Do It Anyways
Making changes is scary. You know what you have, but you have no idea what’s waiting for you on the other side. Deciding that something has to change is the first step. Everything after that is just another baby step in the new direction of your future goals, future happiness, and future self.
Some of the scariest changes I ever made were the best changes of my life. When I left the classroom, it was terrifying. I had no idea if my new business venture would work. What if I just put my family in a bad situation, what if I failed, what if I never found something that I truly loved or felt passionate about?
Making the jump was the best decision. I have been able to build a business from home, work with students in six continents around the world, impact lives in ways I never even dreamed of, and was able to stay home with my children like I always hoped.
My husband switched jobs and actually careers, doing something he had never done before right after we had Maizy. It was nerve-racking because he had three weeks unpaid training, and would only get paid upon completion of training. I was on maternity leave, so there was nothing coming in on my end. Honestly, I knew there was no way he would fail, but when you have a new baby at home, this was a big jump to make. He’s now two years into his new job / new career and loves it. The biggest thing he tells people is his biggest regret was not making a change sooner. He couldn’t believe how long he stayed in a job that made him so unhappy.
In order to make the changes in your life, you need to make sure you have a clear idea of where you’re going next. Once you have that clear path, you’ve got to jump in and just go for it.
8. You Attract What You Put Out There
How you behave, present yourself, the kind of work you do, and the kind of person you are all help to attract other like minded people and professional or personal opportunities.
I’m a huge believer in karma, how you treat others is what comes back to you. If you put a lot of negativity out into the world, that’s what comes back to you. If you put a lot of positivity into the world, that’s always what comes back to you.
I read a quote a couples years back that has always stuck with me. Tupac is quoted saying “Just because you lost me as a friend, doesn’t mean you gained me as an enemy. I’m bigger than that. I still wanna see you eat, just not at my table.”
I love this because you’re not going to like or get along with everyone you meet in this world, you’re not going to love every job you ever take, and you’re not going to marry every person you date. Every person, and every job, every relationship leaves a little impact on you and helps to shape the person you are today. There’s absolutely no reason to hold any grudges or wish any harm, you want to see everyone succeed in this world, it’s just a matter of whether or not you want them to be a part of your life. There’s a difference.
I think by always wishing for the best for people, always doing your best, and living a life that you’re proud of is the biggest accomplishment and testament to success. It’s also a little bit of positivity you’re putting out into the universe that hopefully someone else can snatch up, use and pass on to someone else.