Change Your Mindset - Change Your Life
I was sitting and thinking about how to start writing about this topic because there's just so much to say.
I honestly think that having a positive perspective towards life, and always looking for the benefits and opportunities in any situation - especially during tough times - is the foundation of being resilient to change.
Up until the age of 16.5, I was very resistant to change. Up to that point, my life was pretty much the same ever since I was born. The biggest change that I had to adjust to was moving to a new school when I was 12. But when I was 16.5, I moved to a new country where I couldn't really speak the language, and I had to adjust to an entirely new way of living and to a new culture. That was by far one of the hardest things I experienced in my teenage years.
The beauty of starting again, from scratch, was that more than anything, I learned more about myself and about what I was capable of. I wouldn't have learned it otherwise. I wouldn't have learned it if I had stayed in the same comfort zone, doing the same things that I was used to doing and was good at. I think while going through that experience, I really started to trust myself that I could go through changes and come out of them on the other side, stronger and wiser.
I got into the habit of appreciating and being grateful for my growth and my experiences. Yes, maybe initially they felt too big to overcome, but I kept going. I knew that what I was experiencing was temporary, and I knew that the best, out-of-this-world experiences were waiting for me. I watched movies and shows that lifted me up and gave me hope. I wasn't going to let a short period of my life define my entire life. I kept shifting my focus back to positivity. That was and will be my north star.
The next step after adopting a positive outlook on life is changing the victim mentality around.
The real mindset shift from "why is this happening to me?" to "how can I make it work for me?" happened in my early 20s. I had built a future in my head that I thought was a sure thing with a person I really loved. I was sure that it was going to happen, and so I had put all my expectations and dreams in the hands of my partner at the time and our relationship.
But things didn't last, and as the relationship ended, I saw my future being erased at the same time. I was incredibly lost and didn't know how to pull through. I knew of a thing called Google. So I tried my luck with finding answers online about how I was feeling. That's how I found two incredible teachers that to this day, provide guidance on this journey: Matthew Hussey and Ralph Smart. Their wisdom completely transformed me - on a core level.
I started realizing that, all along, I had the key to getting out of my own prison cell. All it took was starting to see things through a different lens. Things weren't happening to me, they were happening for me. I rebuilt my confidence from the ground up. I trusted only myself and my feelings. I tried things and observed what brought me happiness and what didn't. I changed my thoughts of doubt, anxiousness, and frustration to hopefulness, joy, and gratitude.
So here's how I changed my thoughts around:
Instead of thinking "I was a bad partner and that's why he decided to give up on the relationship," I turned it around to "our values and perspective on life were too different for us to stay together, and I'm grateful that he ended the relationship that ceased being right a long time ago."
That was so freeing. I started doing that with every negative or domineering thought I had. I was so happy that I wasn't in that relationship any longer. My suffering had ended.
I stopped blaming myself or life. I started being grateful for the simple things in life, like waking up in the morning, exercising, seeing sunsets, and smelling delicious scents. My appreciation for life grew even more. That's when I really started living. I took full responsibility for my life and for my happiness. I took full responsibility for my physical and mental health.
Then the real test came. It had been about a year and four months of learning and growth before I discovered that my grandpa had stage 4 cancer. The turn of events happened fast. Within 2.5 months I took a leave of absence from work, packed my clothes, yoga mat, and running shoes (also my makeup, and makeup brushes, and my 3 cameras) - just keeping it real, and flew to Israel for an unknown amount of time.
I was living in so much uncertainty, I can't even express it with words. I didn't know if the government would approve my leave of absence and pay me for the time that I was going to be gone. I didn't know what my grandpa's situation really was and how much time we had with him. I didn't know how to basically run his household, take care of doctor appointments, take care of transportation to the appointments, make sure he was taking meds, eating well, drinking enough water, moving his body. I struggled to communicate with his helpers as one of them only spoke Spanish and I was far from being fluent in it. I also wasn't sure what was coming next. All I knew was that he needed my help 24/7. In addition to being physically sick, he was severely depressed and showed signs of dementia.
That's when I rolled up my sleeves and started to exercise everything I had learned up to that point.
Did I complain? Of course. More than once. But I never gave up. Never.
I never blamed anyone for the situation. I never blamed life for having thrown that my way. On the contrary, I was grateful. I believed in myself that I could handle the situation in the best way that I knew how. I was happy that I could be there for my grandpa the way he was there for me my entire life. I always felt a desire to thank him for bringing so much stability, love, support, kindness, and generosity to my life. And I felt honoured to be able to be there for him and help him.
My final mindset shift suggestion, which I'm still working on right now, is one from scarcity to growth.
Having a scarcity mindset, which we are experiencing right now with shortages of some essential foods, cleaning supplies, medications, etc., is a big one to transform.
A scarce mindset can also come through having thoughts like "there aren't enough good guys/girls out there to date" or that you won't ever meet the right person. It's thinking that your dream job is probably already taken by someone else. It's thinking that "you can't afford this." It's thinking that just because a field is competitive, there's no room for you.
The growth mindset version of this is "The partner that is right for me and for my growth is out there, and it's just a matter of time until they enter my life." "My dream job is going to be created by me and utilize all my skills and talents in a way only I can do." "All the resources I need to live life on my terms are out there, I just need to dig deeper." "There's an unlimited amount of room for people to shine their creativity and light, and my reserved space is waiting for me to show up."
A growth mindset is looking for opportunities in any situation. It's believing that you can figure out anything. It's looking for solutions rather than focusing on the problems. It's knowing that there is no limit or shortage of time, resources, and love. Once you look for evidence of that in your life, you will find it.
One of my favourite quotes is
"Whether you think you can or you can't, you are right." - Henry Ford
Everything begins and ends with your mindset.