The Art of Positivity (And How it Saved My Life)

Lately (in preparation to launch FeelGooder) I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading self improvement literature. I wanted to get a feel for the vibe of what’s being taught.

While there were certainly some good, positive resources in the mix of what I read, I also found myself reacting against some of the teaching that I saw.

There was a distinct negative thread running through some of the resources that left a bad taste in my mouth. It went something like this:

“Your life sucks and I’m going to show you how to fix all your problems.”

Okay, so I never read that exact statement anywhere, but it was a recurring theme.

Disclaimer: I’m a “The Glass is Full” kinda guy

Before I go on, I think I need to say up front that I’m a pretty positive guy—perhaps too positive. When people ask me whether I’m a “glass half-empty or glass half-full” person, I reply that it’s completely full (it’s half full of water and half full of air). I’m an optimist—annoyingly so (according to some of those closest to me).

Okay, with that disclaimer out of the way, lets get back to the negative thread I picked up in some of the self improvement literature that I’ve been reading.

It’s not that I don’t think people have problems that they need to work on or fix (I have my fair share) it’s just that I wonder whether a better starting point might be a positive place.

My darkest night

I wasn’t always a “glass full” kind of guy.

Back in 1993, as a 21-year old, I came to a place in my life where I didn’t see a lot of point in going on. Through a series of events (of broken relationships and friendships, death, depression, dependency, and failure) that I didn’t have an ability to process healthily, I found myself one night on the side of a highway considering throwing myself in front of a truck.

It was my Darkest Night and an experience that I know many share.

I was unable to find a way to move forward through the mess that I faced.

Obviously—as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing this—I didn’t act on the thoughts I was having that night. Over the days, months, and years that followed, I was gradually able to find sense in the circumstances that lead me to that place and saw my life head in a more positive direction.

What brought about the change?

A number of factors played a part in my recovery but one was the influence of a woman I’ll call Alice (it’s not her real name).

Alice was the mother of a friend, and a person who had seen her own fair share of hardship in life. She had every right to be negative, bitter, and living in a dark place too—but she wasn’t.

We had many conversations over that time. I remember coming to her with the problems that I faced and asking for advice. She would almost ignore them as she refocused me upon the positives in my life.

I wanted to solve my problems—fix my life and make it better. She wanted me to see that I already had a good life in many ways.

Over the coming months Alice helped me to reframe my view on life—to take my eyes off the things that needed fixing and to begin to see a future based upon the positives that were already present in my life.

These positives included people (family and friends), experiences, and passions—things that I’d failed to see because I was so absorbed in fixing the broken areas in my life.

At first I struggled against seeing the positive (I was so absorbed in what was broken), but in time I began to see a few glimmers of hope.

Practicing positivity

Being able to see the positive is not always an easy thing to do. In fact, it took me years to get good at it (and there are days where I still catch myself and need to “switch it on”).

For me, this was actually something I needed to practice. Alice helped me initially but as I began to see the impact it was having on me, it became something I started to work on more intentionally. Over time I learned to look for and spot the good stuff. I began to be more aware of what was giving me energy and build upon that. In time it became more natural.

What I found is that the more I looked for and started to focus upon thinking about and doing what was working in my life, the less important the problems were.

There have still been problems that I’ve needed to overcome and work on (positive thinking doesn’t fix everything), but what I’ve found is it’s easier to tackle a problem when you have a positive outlook than one which is negative.

Avoiding false positivity

I hope I’m not coming across as one of those people who delude themselves with false positivity. I’m certainly not talking about convincing yourself that something that is bad is actually good.

Sometimes life does get dark—legitimately so.

Sometimes we need to grieve.

Sometimes we need to feel those dark times and acknowledge that we hurt and are experiencing pain.

However, sometimes I suspect we can get so overwhelmed and focused upon the negatives of life that they hold us back from experiencing life.

Practicing positivity

So as you face the day ahead, or ponder the day that’s been, take a moment or two out to identify some of the good things in your life.

For some of you this will be an easy task—you’ve already made a long list in your mind.

For others, it’ll be more of a struggle, but I encourage you to try it. Think about the people around you, the experiences that you’ve had, the interests and passions that you have (or have once had). You might need to search high and low, but keep searching until you find a glimmer of good and let yourself ponder that for a while.

One last tip—if you’re someone who struggles to find the positive, find someone who doesn’t. I was in such a gloomy place in my life that it took someone like Alice to help me in this area. Perhaps there’s an Alice in your life that you can ask for help?

About Darren Rowse

Darren is the founder of FeelGooder and various other blogs including ProBlogger Blog Tips, Digital Photography School and TwiTip.

Comments

  1. Ali Luke says:

    What a powerful piece, Darren; and thanks for being open and honest enough to share this. I absolutely agree that focusing on what’s good is a healthy way forwards – and I too share your concerns about a lot of “self-improvement” literature which implies that we all need fixing.

    I’ve been lucky enough to have many, many good things in my life: a supportive family, loving church communities and a great education amongst them. But I can still certainly relate to those dark times when life feels very heavy and tough.

    Like you, I’ve known people like “Alice” who always seem to be positive, despite any difficulties or struggles that they might be facing. I always feel rather humbled by them — my own little worries or whinges seem pretty poor in comparison.

    Something I tell myself at tough moments is that I’m here for a reason, that there’s *always* something good that I could do in the world, and I’ll always have the potential to make a difference. That’s enough to keep me getting out of bed in the morning. :-)

  2. Wow Darren it’s great getting to know a different side to you. Thank you for sharing something so many of us can relate to. My “Alice” is my husband. To say he’s been an amazing support is an understatement.

    Keeping a gratitude journal (mentally or on paper) is a great way to practice positivity. It keeps all the goodness at the forefront of your mind, which is most helpful on those darker days.

    Thanks again and all the best,
    Sherri

    • Darren Rowse says:

      I like the journal idea – I actually had a bit of a bad day yesterday on a couple of fronts and jotted down some things that I was grateful for too (not in a journal, just on a notepad). Helped give me some perspective.

      • Hi Darren, Journaling got me through some tough years of loss. There is amazing power in the act of writing. It’s moves spirit into matter, in a sense. It offers a mirror, clarification, or sometimes a repository for energies that need to be released. Thanks for this post. All the best, Barbara

  3. Thanh Ngoc says:

    I definitely have my dark days sometimes just thinking about all negative things. My fiance makes me realise that I’m really one of the luckiest people in the world. I get to work on things I want to, I’m not stuck in a dead-end job anymore and I am with the people I love.

    It is amazing how you can feel so much better when you think of the positive things in life.

  4. Mary Doak says:

    I hope I will not sound like a Pollyanna, because I certainly am not, but trying to focus on the positive really saved my life. Some years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer and was told that I probably wouldn’t make it. That wakes you up! I read everything I could about it and soon became overwhelmed with all the information out there.

    So this is what I did. I took all the positive suggestions that I read and tried to put them into practice. (“tried” being the operative word) I tried to only let positive people near me. I didn’t read the paper or watch the news. I watched lots of comedy and laughed whenever I could. I told myself over and over that my life was significant, even if I died. Some days I believed it and some days I didn’t. There were lots of bad days. But just the act of thinking positively made me a happier person. My thinking was,”If this is all I have left, might as well make it as good as I can.”

    My husband (who is a naturally positive person) got on board very quickly. He fielded all the telephone calls, kept everyone who wanted to know updated and just made me laugh. He put together a chemo bag for me. Inside were favorite candies, magazines and lots of comedy cd’s to listen to. I would literally be hooked up to poisons running through my body and laughing out loud! Anyone seeing me must have thought I was crazy in addition to my body being sick.

    I am not deluded enough to think that positive thinking cured me. But it helped me get through a very difficult time and made me a better person, I think.

  5. David Csonka says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Darren, that can’t be easy to recall such a painful time. For introspective people, I think it is harder to deal with negative thoughts and self-doubt. I had problems myself with that type of thing when I was younger. It took conscious effort on my part to push past the negative thoughts and “let in the light”. I hope that at the least, people learn to reach out to others for support. Conquering your troubles is easier when you have people who support you.

  6. Joshua Noerr says:

    I think a thing that so many people miss is that pain is not only a part of life, but can also be a powerful tool for making positive change.

    Human beings only things for two reasons, to avoid pain, and/or attain pleasure. That’s really it. Using pain in a positive way, can be a powerful motivator.

  7. Linda says:

    I’m glad that you found your ‘Alice,’ and wish for others to as well. You were also open to this person, which takes the willingness to let someone in, and take in what they have to offer.

    While the Alices of this world are certainly a factor, in the end we have to take it upon ourselves to nurture, kick ass where appropriate, and practice positive thinking.

    Thanks for sharing Darren.

  8. Kathy says:

    Darren:
    I happened across a scene in the TV series Glee (which I don’t watch) and it brought me to tears. Streaming, uncontrollable tears. I’ve rewatched the scene multiple times trying to figure out why, each time, it made me cry. (youtube of scene: http://bit.ly/ck5viu )

    I think it boils down to what you are saying in this post. We often forget to be thankful, to be positive. To remember how we are blessed, each in a different way. And in the case of the Glee clip, it is being thankful for the simple (?) fact that we can hear. (You’ll understand as you watch the deaf choir sing John Lennon’s Imagine)

    Thanks for your post. Enjoyed it immensely.

    • Darleen says:

      Thank you for sharing this. I am not a GLEE person myself, but this has tremendous impact.
      To me it speaks of being thankful for the simple fact that we have LIFE, and can all have dreams.

  9. Jade Craven says:

    Thank you, Darren. You know about my anxiety and how hellish the past year has been. I get suicidal on a frequent basis, and extremely frustrated with my life. I go out for the drinks for the first time in a month and end up with a severe migraine, and struggling not to give in to the nausea on a train.

    This past year has been particularly horrid because I’ve had to push through the insecurities and fears to grow, both personally and professionally. And that means triggering anxiety episodes, and going through the “I hate this and want to die” feelings because I haven’t yet learnt the skills to cope with life experiences that I’ve never had before.

    Positive self talk, and cognitive restructuring, are the things that keep me going. I have a good shrink and meds that make me physically able to cope with the symptoms resulting from my negative thoughts. I frequently think of suicide and self mutilation but I can sit there and tell myself that this is a temporary feeling, that my life is generally good and plan ways to reduce my stress.

    I also agree that sometimes we need to ride out the bad feelings. Allowing yourself to fall apart is necessary occasionally and part of becoming healthier.

    That’s my ramble :-P I really appreciate you posting something so personal.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story. I think many people experience dark times in their lives, but when things get really bad, it’s having the courage (and sense) to reach out that stops people from giving in to those dark thoughts. Yes, it helps having an “Alice” but you need to have the courage to look for her.

    Keeping on the positive can help you get through difficult times. A few years ago, when my young son & I were visiting my parents, after coming in from a walk we found my dad unconscious in the living room. It turned out he had hit his head weeks earlier and had a bleed in the brain. He needed surgery to drill holes in this scull to release the pressure. Possible side effects from the surgery? Loss of speech, motor skills or death.

    He had to go to a hospital in another city for the operation. My mom, sister, my son and I shared a hotel room while waiting for the surgery with days spent in the hospital.

    Because I needed to keep it together for my son and the rest of my family I made a conscious decision to refuse to think about the possible negative outcomes. I figured that if worrying really hard could keep him safe, nothing would have happened in the first place because my mom is a world class worrier. I also thought if there’s any validity in the Law of Attraction, I might as well focus on my dad coming through in flying colours.

    Well, he did come through and by staying focused on the positive, I was able to keep it together enough to parent my son and support my family. Falling apart wouldn’t have helped and could have caused a lot of damage.

    To this day my mom thinks I was in denial during the ordeal. But I knew the dangers, I just decided to refuse to think about them unless I really had to.

  11. Shane says:

    Thank you Darren for this post.

    I’ve shared this in 3rd tribe before but sometimes you have an “inner-alice”. If you met me (and you have) you would never guess I raised myself and grew up in the most horrendous of environments that still keeps me awake at night often wondering how I made it through.

    But I did. And I never had an external Alice but I had an internal one. Something always steered me to do right, do better, and choose the path that was most productive.

    I once had a counselor tell me that I am a miracle because of how I turned out given the circumstances. And now here I am blogging and learning and helping others.

    Perhaps my “Alice” was just my own inner strength to “keep going” and see the optimistic side of everything – which to this day I still do and my glass is literally full all of the time.

  12. Haley Weaver says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece! I have always been the “Alice” and lately, life has pulled me down a bit. This is a great reminder to suck it up and look at the silver lining because no one’s going to do it for me (unless I find an “Alice”). I always feel like I’m annoying others with my positivity so I loved the “annoyingly so” comment. Who cares what those around us think and I’m willing to bet it’s a personality “flaw” that they probably love us for.
    Go go gadget positivity!!

  13. Darren, thanks for sharing this story.

    It made me think of a conversation I had with my six-year-old this evening. At bedtime, he suddenly started to tell me about two kids who have been picking on him at school. I listened, and we spent some time discussing various ways he might respond to them.

    The thing is, every time I collect him and ask him how his day went, he grins and says, “100 percent!” So during our conversation tonight, I mentioned that the teasing doesn’t seem to be taking away from his enjoyment of school generally. He said, “Yes, when I’m thinking about how my day went, I try not to count the bad bits.”

    This is basically a positivity practice, six-year-old style! I hope it’s a habit he can keep up (it certainly doesn’t come naturally to me or his dad…) – how nice it would be if he didn’t have to learn it, with difficulty, after great pain.

    • Darren Rowse says:

      thanks for sharing. It’s something I’ve been trying to pass onto my kids – finding that balance between acknowledging the bad stuff and focusing upon working on it – but also helping them to see how many good things they have in their lives too.

    • Darleen says:

      I love this simplified approach, yet our children (and grandchildren in my case) teach us more – due to life is really simply to them, as they have not learned to complicate it yet. Just ‘don’t count the bad bits’ – how perfect. As adults we know that sometimes we need to deal with the bad bits – but we don’t have to allow them to overshadow the ‘good bits’.. This is wonderful!

  14. Jerry Dean says:

    Great post Darren, it really is a fact of life that what you project reflects back to you.

    Life is a journey and for 16 or more waking hours a day we can chose to enjoy that life or we can swim in the pit with the negativity that is around us.

    Bad things do happen along that journey but looking at the glass as half empty not only is depressing for you, it is depressing to others around you, so you will attract others that are depressed, to you.

    Be an optimist and enjoy every bit of the journey that you are on and you will draw like minded folks to you, and life is just more fun.

  15. Merrin wake says:

    Thank you Darren for your truth, positivity can do all you said and so much more! An awesome lesson to teach our children! X

  16. Tim says:

    Darren, WOW and thanks for sharing this. It is so refreshing to read such an honest and open post.
    I agree with what you are saying, I am too guilty of looking to fix and improve without always appreciating what I already have, especially my young family. Great stuff, Keep up the great work.

  17. Andrew Mitchell says:

    Darren, I am reading Dr John F Demartini’s book, The Gratitude Effect. Gratitude plays an enormous role with being thankful… and hence positive. It’s my start to stop always finding the negative in everything. Why? Because finding negativity all the time is a cop-out. The universal law of positiveness will have a huge effect on personal growth, and gratitude is one of those ways to get there.

    “Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all the others” Cicero.

  18. Alli says:

    Thank you for writing this, Darren. To those still struggling, I’d like to suggest the non-profit To Write Love on Her Arms, as it’s something that helped me: http://www.twloha.com/vision/. (I’m not affiliated with then in any way – just found some peace in that community in the past, so wanted to pass it on.)

  19. Brendan says:

    thank you for this post, you will never know what impact it has had for me as someone who tonight was trawling the web looking for answers and hope while also considering similar things to you on that dark night next to the road.

    I’ve decided to talk to a friend – a friend who is certainly an ‘Alice’. Thanks for your inspiration to do so, you may just have saved my life.

  20. My favorite part of this post:
    “I wanted to solve my problems—fix my life and make it better. She wanted me to see that I already had a good life in many ways.”

    Excellent post!

    It’s so important for us to appreciate and embrace all of our lives, the good, bad, and mediocre – as my dad likes to say, things have a way of working out for our good.

    • Ivo says:

      I think that’s one of the main approaches used by Paul Mckenna (self-improvement author and hypnotist). After I read one of his books (Change Your Life in 7 Days) there was a real change in me and in my point of view – I just felt better and became more positive for the world.

  21. Even at the hardest of times I think I’ve always had a sense that I’m more fortunate than a lot of other people. But there were two books that really drove it home for me:

    A Long Way Gone
    http://www.alongwaygone.com/

    Life is So Good
    http://www.amazon.com/Life-So-Good-Extraordinary-Journey/dp/0141001682

  22. Mark Dykeman says:

    This is an uplifting story, Darren, and I appreciate the fact that you’ve shared it. I can certainly identify with it, almost down to the letter.

    I’m going to ask this question because you don’t mention something that I think is a significant part of your life and I assume it’s part of the picture: religion and your relationship with God. In a way I appreciate the fact that you’ve written the article as you have but I am curious: was religion something that has helped you develop your skills at becoming more positive.

    I can understand not wanting to bring that aspect into the discussion, but color me curious.

    • Darren Rowse says:

      Hi Mark – thanks for the question. You’re right, for me it was and always has been a part of who I am. I won’t go into a great deal of detail here except to say that it was at this point in my life that I began to explore Spirituality for my self for the first time – and it was certainly part of the period of ‘recovery’ (and still is). I’d always had ‘faith’ but up until this point it was probably more inherited from family than my own.

  23. Brilliant post, Darren! Thank you…
    I am going through a lot of changes, for the better, at the moment and your post just reassured me that I am doing the right thing. :)

  24. Haider says:

    Hi Darren,

    I believe there’s an important dimension you didn’t touch on as to why we experience dark times, and how we can cultivate positivity.

    And, sadly, many personal growth writers contribute to the very reason for why we experience the dark times.

    If you look at all the dark times in your life, you will notice a common thread: you felt bad about yourself. You weren’t good enough, you felt insignificant, you didn’t feel loved or worthy of love.

    It was an impression you held about yourself that made the world feel gloomy. Of course, the world isn’t gloomy, but we project our own feelings about ourselves onto it.

    The solution, in many cases, is to detach the problems you’re facing in life from your worth as a human being. Being poor, for example, doesn’t mean you’re worthless. Not having a loving family doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of love.

    Your challenges in life say nothing about you. They are things you have to deal with and learn from. Being positive isn’t about ignoring problems, but not allowing the problems to undermine your own worth or get you to question your own abilities.

  25. Stephanie says:

    This is a wonderful post Darren and I thank you for it. November hasn’t been a very good month for me and I honestly have been feeling depressed about the bad things about it. Now all I’m focused on is learning from the mistakes and making this month a blessing-filled one.

    I have many Alices in my life, one of which is my mother and another my sister. They always tell me to look at the brighter side of things and I’m thankful for having them in my life.

  26. Wow Darren, you totally took me off guard here. Having struggled my entire life to stay positive, and I believe it is the reason I’m still here, I know how difficult it can be. I’ve been having that kind of month… money problems, then losing my car in a terrible accident and dealing with the pain and bruising from it. I’ve been falling into a ‘poor pitiful me’ mode the past 2 days. I usually give myself a couple of days then kick my own ass out of it. This one may take longer, but I’m sure I’ll pull out.

    About 10 years ago my marriage was basically over and I was struggling to find myself. Among other things, like starting a gratitude journal, I realized that spirituality and religion aren’t even closely related. There was almost a magical power in that realization. I have always believed in God, a higher power… something clearly bigger than myself… but I was so turned off by religion I had drifted away from that belief. Then turning to gratitude got me through more than I ever thought I could bear.

    My husband, who I was prepared to leave, ended up in the hospital with lymphoma. By the time he got there it was maybe 48 hrs. from killing him. Long story short (and it’s available in a free ebook, While You Were Sleeping, download on my blog) he was unconscious for 22 days, in the hospital for almost double that, and when he ‘woke-up’ he truly ‘woke-up’.
    Suddenly he wasn’t as materialistic. He realized he came very close to losing everything, because of his love of quantity vs. quality.. He openly admits he is a miracle. Even his doctors told him that.

    Now we can connect on a deeper level. The relationship is not perfect, nor are our lives, but I’ve gone through enough to know that perfect doesn’t exist. Sorry for the long post, but you caught me at a vulnerable time. Thanks for the honest and open sharing.

  27. Sandra Lee says:

    Darren,

    Thanks for sharing this deeper glimpse of you and how you found your way home. I love the concluding tip! We all need an Alice from time to time. I find the internet to be like a web of love. There are so many Alices to connect to in this beautiful blogosphere!

  28. Vic Dorfman says:

    That’s some deep shizzle man.

    I’m glad you didn’t become truck food, Darren! ;-)

    The last part is spot on too – practicing positivity. Or practicing indifference or good will or whatever it is.

    Thanks for writing this brother, made my night.

    Good Vibes~
    Vic Dorfman

  29. Vivek Barun says:

    Let us also think about being “Alice” to someone.
    Service to others is the quickest way out of depression and glominess.

  30. This is definitely an excellent reminder that there are people in our lives who are willing to help us, if we ask. As I found out during my darkest time you often discover your true friends. My world got flip-turned upside down and I was in a very deep mental black hole. I worked (and still do) intently each and every day to practice positivity. Most people have no clue what I deal with on a daily basis, and that’s because of how I have chosen to it to be. Yes, I have confidants and professionals but I know that it always rests with me. I can choose to heal my life and make it as great as I desire or I can allow the darkness to take over. I choose light! I choose connections and friendships and people who, like you and many of the commenters, see the positive side. Some days I want to just scream at my husband to stop being so positive and let me wallow in my own negativity. But I don’t because I know that he is there to help me see the wonderful world in which I live.

    Thank you, Darren.

  31. A truly wonderful post, Darren :) I can deeply relate to the power of positive thinking, similar to what you experienced. At the age of 19, I feel into a deep depression, losing my job, dropping out of college, and so afraid to leave the house, that I couldn’t even get the mail. I told the man I was dating at the time that I wish he was dead … though to this day, I still can’t remember that day. I had nothing to live for – at least, that is what I thought.

    After a few months of professional counseling & a reinvigorated yoga practice, I slowly began to see that life is what you make of it. If I wanted to smile, I was the only person that could do that. Over the year (I’m 26 now), I have faltered & come to depend on others to make me happy, but it didn’t take long for me to remember that a smile comes from inside. There is a positive side to everything – simply making the effort to find that positive aspect is a testament to how looking on the bright side can truly keep one alive.

  32. Jillian says:

    Admittedly, this is the first article of yours that I have actually read to the end and I know it must have been difficult for you to write, since you are more technical than emotional but you did it well. It is most timely as many people become depressed over the holidays.

    Glad that you can share this important philosophy, for the more positively we can all think, the more we can progress through life more efficiently and, coming from a technically challenged writer who leans toward the emotional side, with love.

    Thank you!

  33. Hi Darren,

    “Glass half full of water and half full of air = full glass” I’m loving that!! I have people who get annoyed by my level of positivity. But in my opinion, I have no choice but to be positive – the alternative is too grim. I’ve had those dark nights – they ain’t pretty and sometimes I have to fight hard not to go back there. I refuse to go back there so I make a conscious choice to be positive. I’d rather have people believe I’m delusional – if that’s all their limited view can give them – than allow negativity to rule my life.
    Thanks for this wonderfully honest post!!

  34. Darren, when someone like Alice, who has endured and found a way through desert experiences, speaks about a way out, it is powerful. My Mom gained an optimistic outlook, though she lost my Dad in a war battle. Because she modeled this throughout her life, I learned so very much. It can make all the difference in the world to your contentment and progress in life.

    Thanks for sharing.

  35. Tony Robbins says that if you want to change your life, you have to change your values, and change the things you attach pleasure and pain to.

    I definitely recommend his book “Awaken the Giant Within”.

  36. Sue Atkins says:

    I believe we are very powerful role models for our children in everything we do, and say, and in how we act, as we are our children’s primary role model and they pick up their attitude to Life from us.
    So I think it’s important to make sure we encourage them, nurture a positive attitude to life and help them to have high aspirations for their lives through looking at what they get RIGHT – not always focusing on what they get wrong.
    I am naturally a half full kind of person too but I feel that inspires everyone around me to shine too – I have a poster up in my office from Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Speech taken from Marianne Williamson that inspires me to be the best I can be each day:
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
    It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
    We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
    Actually, who are you not to be?
    You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
    There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
    We are all meant to shine, as children do.
    We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
    It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
    And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
    As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    I believe in the law of attraction where you get more of what you focus on, so why not make your thoughts positive and upbeat, celebrating what you get right, not what you get wrong and celebrating small successes.

    Life is no more than a series of positive days and I think the first person we must be learn to be more compassionate with is ourselves.

    I keep a journal by my bed and I write in it every night what went well that day so I fall asleep positive, upbeat and grateful so I wake up the next morning upbeat, motivated and raring to go.
    So my question to all the readers of your very though provoking blog is:
    “How can you remember to focus your thoughts on what you get right and not on what you get wrong?”

    This will shift your focus and make your days happier.

  37. Kevin says:

    Wow! This is possibly one of the most inspirational blogs I’ve ever read. A lot of this hit home for me because I went through a lot of depression at 21 and still struggle with it from time to time. I think many of us are happy you did not follow through with your intentions that night. Hopefully I can find my own Alice.

  38. Dr.Mani says:

    Great post and message, Darren. Thanks for sharing it. I recently did one titled “500 Words To Change Your Life” – it’s here.

    http://www.moneypowerwisdom.com/500-words-to-change-your-life/

    Also, I’ve dropped by this blog a couple of times since you launched, and expect to do so more frequently than at ProBlogger – primarily because I enjoy reading this one more than the other!

    If you’re accepting guest posts, I’d love to contribute one sometime as well.

    Keep the good stuff coming… there are many who need to listen to this powerful message of positivity! Love the ‘full-full’ (just air AND water) concept, too.

    All success
    Dr.Mani

  39. Beautiful article! Touches a chord, I guess we all at some point of time find ourselves in a situation, when we see no escape. But it is not the situation that is the problem, it is our perception of it. Thanks for sharing this. :)

  40. Darren, thank you for sharing. What an amazing post. I’m a “glass is full” kind of person also, and I’m stealing the line about half full of water, and half full of sand. :)

  41. Jody says:

    Thank you for such an honest post. Very insightful and motivating.

  42. Lee says:

    Darren,

    The darkness never goes away. It’s what we do with it that changes.

    thanks for the post
    Lee

  43. Darleen says:

    This is an excellent post – and as you write about it, and the reasons why it resonates with so many people – you are showing your human side, and letting down your guard maybe a bit.
    This is when true interaction happens, as often when we read blog posts and the wonderfulness of the experts in the field, we are discouraged ( or I am at least) > as you and the other successful online business personas MUST be better than us, as you are always positive, never showing any fear, negativity, or imperfections. Those that actually make a connection to us, show their weaknesses as well as strengths, and how they overcome (on a daily basis).

    Than you for being human.

    I myself am at a low point in my life now, and having trouble resurfacing. I have been in worse dark spots in my life – suicidal, and other traumatic events – and was able to climb out and recreate my life for the better. This time I am taking longer, even though using all techniques as before and suggested by my friends. I have not really found my ‘Alice’, and in the past I admit that I have always been my own ‘Alice’, with the drive being internal. I have always wanted to find out what happens in the story – what is the end of the story, which stopped me from doing nothing and also from coming back from suicidal thoughts. This time I am lethargic. Suggestions to follow my passion leaves me empty, as I don’t even know what that means. OR purpose or do what you want – well I want to sleep and do nothing :)
    This does not pay the bills.

    So thank you for letting us know that we are more alike as people – we each have struggles and demons to fight.

    I will find my ‘Alice’ I believe now, and will keep looking. It takes time when we are down, and to beat myself up for taking too long, only lengthens the process further.

  44. Thanks for the great post Darren, and opening up about your struggles.

    I really like that you highlighted the difference in trying to be genuinely positive vs. sort of a “fake” positive where you ignore what’s going on around you.

  45. Eric says:

    Thanks for sharing your story of personal transformation. Liked the comment, too, that someone made about being an ‘Alice’ for others. Both of you made me want to switch my focus more – to the positive and to being an encouraging force in the lives of others.

  46. Gemma says:

    Hey Darren,
    wow, what a post! Great for your to share and inspire us all (again)
    Life really is what you make of it.

    P.S Love the new blog too!

  47. Grandpa says:

    Hi Darren, thanks for this story – I admire your courage to share it. It must be hard to recall those hard times in the first place.

    What I do when I get depressed is to count my blessings and think positive. If you will allow me I just wrote a post on one of my depressed days here:

    http://fruitofmylabour.blogspot.com/2010/11/i-am-thankful-for.html

    Thanks Darren

    p.s I think Feelgooder is off to a great start!

  48. My “Alice” was and is a dog. My last dog, Muggins, who passed away at the age of 17 years old, got me through a suicidal depression and led me to a more authentic, positive life. And now, in the face of some big setbacks, my dog, Ducky, whips me around when I turn toward the negative. Never underestimate the power of a wagging tail. :)

  49. Yeah…I have to say that I am one of those who likes to focus on the negatives – what needs to be fixed, rather than what I have that is good in life. Have an attitude of gratitude, as they have said on Oprah. lol Perhaps it’s time I start to lean in that direction again. It’s hard to do when so much of your life hangs in the balance and you’re genuinely afraid of what the future could bring, when so many have fallen on hard times and it looks like you’re next.

    Hooooo….deep breaths. It’s going to be okay. I need to try that positive thinking stuff again. I did it before in my darkest moments as well, and it seemed to help. Over time, though, we begin to lose ourselves in the combined impact of many negative life events. It does get overwhelming.

    I look forward to this new blog of yours. I think it could help me a great deal. Thanks for posting. :)

  50. Chelsea says:

    Right after I started reading this, I opened another tab to hit Stumble with StumbleUpon and this was the first thing that popped up..

    http://asset.soup.io/asset/1177/1797_9350_450.jpeg

    A cartoon of a glass, half full of air and water.

  51. Brooke says:

    What a great post – a true “head nodding read.” I made a similar change for 2010 and it has done wonders.

  52. Hi Darren, thanks for sharing this….life brings thorns, but there are beautiful roses to smell, see and experience. I believe when one goes thru that dark night of the soul, it is a challenge to take us to a greater step….into a new path…as long as we don’t focus on the fear of what is currently in front of us.
    So woo..hoo for having the glass full..It’s OK to see thru rose colored glasses;)

  53. dileepa says:

    Hi Darren.

    One of the best enlightenments on positivity I’ve come across! Thanks Much too!
    There is a lot of “What’s it is all about”.
    In a nutshell this revealed a lot that many haven’t as yet fathomed.
    Thanks Again.

  54. MrPicasso says:

    Darren,
    Excellent post. Thank you.
    It immediately brought to my mind the concepts of Cheri Huber (http://cherispracticeblog.blogspot.com/) and a book of hers I just started reading:”What You Practice Is What You Have” (http://www.livingcompassion.org/store/2105) where she says: “What you focus on is what you get.”
    How clearly your story illustrates that concept. It doesn’t deny that there are difficult or negative things going on, but directs us to focus on the good and the positive. Your story demonstrates that.

  55. Trudy says:

    Thank you for this beautiful and honest piece. Sadly, I and many people I know have had a “truck” moment sometime in their younger life as you described. It’s hard to be in such a place.

    I am GLAD you mentioned avoiding false positvity. I think this is especially critical for women. I’ve known of so many who spend a great deal of time faking happiness. It’s important to know when to grieve, when to think and when to smile.

    Thanks again.

  56. Krista says:

    powerful story. Thanks for sharing this very intimate part of your life.
    I think everyone should have a person like “Alice” in their lives, I know I would have needed one at certain points! A good friend is a treasure to have.

  57. peach says:

    I just wanna said that you are right. I’ve seen people being so pessimistic that they are not enjoying life anymore.

    On the other hand i was lucky to realize that there are more good aspects in life than bad ones. :)

    Thanks for this great post.

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