Sliding Backwards

The holidays and new year can be especially difficult for those who are experiencing difficult times and relationships, or no relationships at all, health problems, etc. Some people I love are dealing with depression and struggling to cling to hope.

This post is for those who are in a similar situation. It is not meant as a cure-all or silver bullet. It is, however, a description of the way that I eventually found to help myself learn to gradually face the sun so my shadows didn’t overwhelm me.

I know the effort won’t be an easy one. It wasn’t for me. I often found myself sliding backwards–and occasionally still do–but I am much farther ahead than if I hadn’t tried at all.

Through trial and error, I found that what worked best for me and led to much greater joy in my life and true forgiveness of the actions of others and myself, came down to a single word.

Gratitude.

It is when I focused on ways to be grateful for every experience that I began to see the gifts that were given to me from each.

I looked for positive things that came from even my greatest “tragedies” and always eventually found some.

Even people who did and said awful things to me unknowingly helped me to have greater empathy and compassion for others who were being bullied or were going through tough times.

The effort required that I look at current and past experiences in a different way.

When I caught myself focusing on the bad, I reminded myself that doing so in the past tended to lead to increasing numbers of bad things happening to me, and that when I focused on the positive, my attitude and actions became more positive which inevitably led to attracting more positive people and experiences into my life.

May your heart experience greater joy and your spirit shine even brighter throughout the new year.

With Love,
Russ

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About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 4 young grandsons. I manage a wealth management firm I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of 23 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and enjoying our small redwood grove and fern garden.
This entry was posted in Adversity, Challenges, Change, Choices, Forgiveness, Growth/Learning, LIfe Lessons, Loneliness, Observations and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Sliding Backwards

  1. billgncs says:

    thanks – I may print this off and put it on the fridge. I was just thinking that in a way saddness is inner directed and the way to break out is to be more outer focused. You put it better – bw

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you, Bill. My writing has never before been mentioned as possibly refrigerator-worthy, at least not since my earliest scrawls as a small child–and then I’m pretty sure my parents were more than a little biased! I appreciate the compliment.
      Russ

  2. strokedtolife says:

    When I grow up I want to be as wise as you!

    • russtowne says:

      LOL! Thank you for the wonderful compliment. My laughter isn’t about your kind comment. It is a reflection of how many unwise decisions I still make daily, and how much I have yet to learn. I appreciate your acknowledgement as to how far I have come. It is good to get such reminders along the way. May we all go to bed a little wiser than when we began each day.

  3. You’re of course right … we need to be aware and thankful for what we have in the midst of our difficulties…. and grace to be able to do so…. Diane

  4. bulldog says:

    This is a brilliant share shown such wisdom…

  5. utesmile says:

    Yay positive thinking, living and feeling gratitude. That is how I like it and you are right we do slide back sometimes and we need reminders again!

  6. Val Boyko says:

    Love your thoughts! Whatever we focus our thoughts and energy on, will grow. Choosing hurt and loss allows fear to grow. Choosing gratitude lets love expand and feeds our soul.
    …. yes – you are wise!!

  7. I love it!! Thanks Russ, for helping sum up what I deeply believe in, a cure-all for our troubles: “Gratitude”. A very powerful concept and deeply transformative action. I am always deeply grateful for your wise and wonderful presence in my life.
    Hugs of gratitude, Gina

  8. Great post Russ as always…I heartily believe in gratitude as well. Happy 2014 to you and yours may all of your wishes be fulfilled this year! May you have much to be grateful for and many, many blessings to count! ♥

  9. jolynproject says:

    I don’t just like this. I absolutely love this! “It is when I focused on ways to be grateful for every experience that I began to see the gifts that were given to me from each.” I am learning this right now in my life. Such a great lesson to learn and thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. It almost feels like confirmation for me that I’m doing this life alright. 🙂

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