Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I recently saw someone I hadn’t seen in ages, who I’ll call Sue. We went through the usual pleasantries of “How are you doing?” She said she had a better job and had lost a little weight. I said I was glad that things are going well for her. That triggered her telling me a flood of things that had gone wrong in the last few years.

Sue’s Mom had been sick—two years ago! She’d recovered fine but Sue went on and on about how bad it was when Mom was in the hospital. Then she told me all the gory details about why she’d left her last job. I tried asking questions about the good stuff she had going on but she kept telling me about all the negative things she’d gone through in the past years.

Yet she was at a job she liked, in good health, with a Mom who was now in good health!

Too often we relive the past. Or should I saw wallow or grovel in. I did it when I was a DoorMat! Deep down, I think that I didn’t feel deserving of good things. So I held onto the past and suffered through old memories. When you’re in a negative state of mind, you tend to look back on the past more, remembering how people hurt you, feeling low, having promises broken, etc.

But living in the past has few positive benefits. It’s over. Done. Finito!

I live in the NOW. That means I focus on what’s going on right now. And now my life is fine. Actually it’s fabulous! I’d rather count my current blessings than recount past unpleasantries. I don’t worry about tomorrow since it’s not here yet. And yesterday is over. Yet we often keep yesterday alive:

* A romantic partner broke your heart once and now you’re scared to trust anyone.
* You were bit by a dog as a child but are still scared of animals.
* You didn’t feel loved as a child and continue to be needy for it from anyone who’ll give it.
* You mother said that you were worthless and you still feel incapable.
* You were a DoorMat growing up and still can’t get rid of the old messages.

My kindergarten teacher laughed at my paintings. I was five years old, very vulnerable, and wanting to please everyone. Miss Angulo looked at what I was happily making with paint and made fun of it. She joked that I had no talent. To this day I still can’t fathom how someone, no less a teacher, could do that to a child. Yet she was a nice lady, and she liked me. I took her criticism very personally and for the next twenty years was convinced I should stay away from art.

Yet I loved art! I’d draw with pencils and magic markers and hide them.

I was terrified to let anyone see what I made. I enjoyed doing art so much. But, I had no talent! It wasn’t till my mid-twenties that I took an adult ed art class and the teacher said I did some of the best work she’d seen. I said she was wrong and told her what happened in kindergarten. She looked at me like I was insane. One teacher told me at five that I had no talent and I’d made it my reality! That’s when I left the art closet and let people see my work. Now I’m proud of it and have exhibited in art fairs.

Stevie Wonder said, “The only time we should look back to yesterday is to look at the positive things that were accomplished to encourage us to do better things today and tomorrow.

That’s where I am now. Sometimes I look back as I count my blessings. Good stuff. Positive things people said or did. Remembering good things that happened reminds you that getting what you want is possible. Y

Our past is history. Leave it there instead of dredging it up as painful reminders of what you’ve been through, like Sue did.

I wake up happy each day, because what I’m thinking of is the good stuff I have right now. NOTHING someone said or did to you in the past can hurt you today unless you allow the memories to. Life is as lovely as you choose to make it. So CHOOSE to make it as positive as possible. Rehashing negatives doesn’t add one good thing! Watch your thoughts, what you say to others, and how much you complain. Stop the negatives!

You deserve to choose a happy life and have happy experiences! So leave yesterday in the past where it belongs and relish your life and the blessings you have in it, right now.

Thanks for including this article in the Carnival of Positive Thinking.
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