I seem to be leaning towards philosophical writings lately. An awakening of spirit or mid-life crisis? Maybe just a need to express thoughts and perspective. Too much thinking and inner musings can bring you down though, as you stare in the face of your own existence and you don’t like what you see.
From the bottom, you observe yourself and the world from a different perspective and eventually, this will help you rise higher. Your inner reflection provides a fresh and different view of yourself and others. Rising above your fears, facing the shadow side of yourself and of all humanity, teaches you gratitude and humility.
After a recent significant disappointment, I looked at myself at age 53 (gasp!) and wondered – who the hell am I?! A melting pot of my experiences, a potpourri of influential people I’ve met along the way; shaped into a creature of unique thoughts, emotions, and visions? My introspection first led to too much self-criticism and I saw the faults, failed hopes, lost wishes, and broken dreams. I was hard on myself since I tend to believe I can always do better. I believed that we reap what we sow and if things fail around us, it’s our own doing and we need to try harder. I try to live without regrets, but the confusion in my mind about who I AM and how I want to live drove me to wonder about my choices. I believed I should be much more than this. Should I have made different decisions? My thoughts and feelings were endlessly spinning until I was so confused I wasn’t sure how to move forward with clarity. Feeling a sense of spiritual scarcity and of a loss of confidence and self-worth, I delved deeper, with courage and conviction, to find the answers.
I began reading books and researching methods and paths to self-discovery and greater spirituality. I started meditating and writing down every single thought, sane or not, that came flying into my head. I read, I wrote and I pondered. For a very long time. I realized certain things about myself – how I am too hard on myself, how I constantly strive to live the “perfect” life and project an image of “perfect Bela”, how I expect quick results with minimal effort, and most importantly, my skewed perception of happiness. I was looking at life from a glass-half-empty perspective. I preached positive thinking and undying hope, and I truly believed that I followed these ideals. I always hoped for the best outcome, but during this time, I found myself lacking faith or trust or pixie dust… I realized I talked big, but my actions and thoughts were the exact opposite of my advice to everyone else.
I ultimately recognized what I needed to do: change my attitude about difficult situations, change my perspective. I started keeping a daily gratitude journal, which soon helped me realize how thankful I am for many things. Simple, basic things, like a roof over my head and a wonderful, close family. Meditation cleared my negativity, helping me connect on a deeper level to myself and granted me a newfound emotional and mental peace. I changed. I started cutting things out of my life that no longer served me, I started speaking up for myself, and most importantly, I started to see the fullness of my glass. Even during hardships and challenges, I now always remember that there is so much to be grateful for and the challenges are all part of growth. I was able to pick myself up from pointlessly wallowing in self-pity and stand up strong, confident, and amazingly, truly HAPPY.
What if we all live our lives positively and with gratitude? Instead of shattered dreams, we look at the amazing things we have accomplished. The difficulties we have overcome are achievements and the people and events that caused damage are lessons. Viewing things in this way changes everything, and ultimately gives us back hope and a drive to continue living with positive vitality. Our glass is filled, as we transform the bad to good, because of the valuable lessons learned. We are grateful instead of feeling remorse. Grateful for the little things too, a winter coat, ice in our drink on a hot summer day, the whimsical sound of wind chimes on a breezy afternoon. I am grateful and thankful for the fullness of my life. I feel blessed because I know the horror that others in the world face. We live blessed lives, from the perspective of those people. We have safe homes, healthy families, and other basic necessities. The poor, the victims of hate, violence, and brutality on a daily basis – these are the ones that truly are suffering. So what if I don’t drive an expensive car? Or own many trendy designer purses? Or spend my money without a care in the world? I am so damn lucky to be where I am in life, from a material, emotional, and spiritual point of view. I am lucky to have friends and family surrounding me, a dynamic and interesting life, and now, enough awareness to understand the importance of perception. With this new attitude, I feel I can conquer anything – my glass is overflowing.
Reaching this point of gratitude should inspire us to help those who might not even have a glass to fill. It’s time to give back. In a few weeks, I will start volunteering at a local women’s shelter. Many of these women need tremendous support and help. I hope that my support, wisdom, and understanding will help them develop the courage and strength to get through the challenges and eventually move forward to a positive life. That’s the most significant aspect of this new perspective – gratefulness develops into a desire to help others.
What will you do to help fill the empty glasses of the world?