Free Fixin’s!

Life handed you a sandwich, and some days it feels like it’s rotten tuna on stale bread. You can’t change that. It’s just going to stink.

You might have to accept the sandwich, but it doesn’t mean you can’t improve it. Maybe you can’t throw away the tuna, but you choose your toppings. And sides. And drink and dessert.

If this analogy is lost on anyone, here’s what I am getting at:

We cannot choose so our lot in life, in so many ways. If we have crappy friends, we can say goodbye. If we hate our job, we can find a new one. But when you have a loved one in need of help on the daily, we can’t wish them farewell and go about our own life in order to ‘live our best life.’ Part of the caregiver’s lot is self-sacrifice, it is delaying goals or passing up opportunities for advancement or missing kids events. It’s hard. We help a loved one in mundane but critical ways, and miss out on the life we thought we’d have. That’s the stinky sandwich part; all that life is that we didn’t expect or ask to have.

So what else are you putting on your plate? I don’t mean laundry, dishes, work, child-rearing. I mean… what else are you choosing to surround yourself with? Are you seeking positive, good vibes, peace, calm, and laughter to offset the stinky-ness? Or are you adding to it by holding on resentment and anger? Are you surrounding yourself with support or negative, gossipy, selfish people? In other words, what are you choosing to add to your plate? Because make no mistake, you have choices.

If we consistently allow our environment to drag us down and do not intentionally set practices to improve the messages coming at us, we do not stand a chance. We can choose what media we consume and what external messages we hear. Our mindset and our outlook are our own choosing, but can be influenced heavily by our environment. More than we’re willing to admit, we let other people and our own inner critic drag us down without even putting up a fight.

Here’s the thing. Our thoughts can control us, or we can control our thoughts. But it doesn’t end there. What you think determines what you speak and how you act, and these are things that shape your attitude, your relationships, and ultimately your own well-being and happiness. Negativity will never serve you. The world hands us enough troubles as it is; there is no reason to take on more. It takes just as much effort to believe there is good around us as it takes to believe everything sucks.

What messages, prayers, or quotes raise you up? Inspire you? Give you motivation? Get out a pad of sticky notes and write them down and place them throughout your home. Use your phone Reminders app to send you kind, uplifting words that are meaningful to you. Read them outloud Bombard yourself with affirmations. It will help lift your spirits and combat self-doubt or external criticism. It may seem futile, but what choice do you prefer? Pile on more rotten garbage and spoiled mayo, or add nutritious, vibrant fuel and delightful sweets. The fixin’s are free; the choice is yours.

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