I can think of 8 strategies to survive and thrive no matter the situation. In this part, I discuss 4 positive survival tips for when we find ourselves in negative spaces to guarantee that we become pioneers of pain’s glow up:
1) Own your truth – How can you feel beautiful when you know every one of your ugly truths?
The most difficult person to be completely honest and vulnerable with is one’s self. However, avoiding ourselves and the truth of our realities simply won’t change either of those things. We may not have explored Europe or Asia or South America, but we can always explore the various sites and monuments of our hearts and souls. There is no adventure more beautiful and fruitful than that of self-discovery. Whether the vehicle is writing, talking, making music, painting etc., just take the time to explore yourself by yourself and for yourself. The journey of self-discovery is life-changing.
2) Apologise, forgive & never forget – How do you feel good about yourself when you know every bad thing you’ve ever done or experienced?
No matter what we may have done or experienced, we have nothing to be ashamed of, because redemption is always ours to claim. To redeem ourselves in our own eyes (let alone to love ourselves), we cannot be ashamed of the experiences that shaped who we are and who we are becoming. We repeat what we don’t repair. So, we must try by all means not to repeat the mistakes and mishaps of our pasts. We need to own up to our ugly truths, apologise to ourselves for them (keeping in mind that a true apology is changed behaviour) and forgive ourselves for the bad parts of our pasts and our characters. But, most importantly, we must never forget the lessons each of those things has taught us.
3) Lose weight, get high – Is it possible to lose weight by getting high?
Yes! Amy Winehouse had the right idea, just the wrong plan of action. See, it’s quite easy to lose weight – get high. And it’s easy to get high – let go of all the emotional poop that brings you down. We can only go so high and get so far if we choose to weigh ourselves down with the stools of our suffering. Pain is an inevitable part of life. Suffering, however, is not. We cannot allow the pain of the past or the fear of it repeating itself to arrest us. The pain of the past is not our prison, it is our guide. If we focus on the pain, we suffer. If we focus on the lesson, we grow. So, let’s stop cheating on our futures with our pasts and cheating on our blessings with our pain. It’s over! Let that s#!t go! Lose the weight and get high. Whether you write a letter and burn it, paint a picture and destroy it, talk it out with your therapist and leave it behind in their office, just get rid of that stuff!
4) Change – How can you go on a holiday whenever, wherever and for however long you want?
Change – it really is as good as a holiday! Change something. Anything! Just do something different either about yourself or your circumstance. Although they are symbiotic, our internal environment has greater influence over our lives than our external environment. Thus, we will struggle to change what’s going on around us if we don’t change what’s going on inside of us. We must change our internal dialogue from “I’m broken” to “I’m learning”; spend less time counting our flaws and more time counting our blessings, listen to Mac Miller’s “Faces” less and listen to Big Sean’s “I Decided” more. If we feed our minds and souls positive narratives, sooner or later our survival modes will come to look like those narratives. Sometimes, however, we may need to change our external environments to trigger the change of our internal environment – leave that miserable job, start playing the piano again, spend less time with your cool kid friends and more time with real friends or alone. Just change something! If we change our habits for the better, we’ll inevitably change our lives for the better, too. PS. Remember, change takes time. Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.
By Naledi Hopa