Most people who know me really well would say that I am more of an optimist than a pessimist. And it's true - I am. But I haven't always been this way. I have gone through phases in my life when I was faced with negativity and bad stuff. Everyone has. As a teenager, I had different ways of coping with the bad things. My parents divorced when I was fifteen and even though I had a sense that it was coming and likely for the best, as an only child, I felt very alone and isolated. Because my parents didn't really believe in sending me to a psychologist or psychiatrist, I only really had my friends (whose parents seemingly were all happily married) and guidance counselors at school to turn to. After finally begging and probably doing some typical teenager things like acting out, my dad agreed to take me to see someone. The problem was that it was a male psychologist that I remember not really connecting with. I'm sure part of that was due to my lack of knowing what to say and being 100% honest with things I had been holding in for many years. Plus I might have had a fear that I would say the wrong thing and hurt my parents' feelings, even though it was supposed to be confidential. Anyway, that was my one and only visit to a psychologist. I admitted to my parents that while I appreciated their efforts, going to a "shrink" wasn't really what was going to help me get through their divorce.
My dad advised me to focus on the things that made me happy. He also reminded me that they both loved me immensely and just wanted me to have the best life possible. Which just looked different because they weren't going to be together. It would mean traveling up to Chicago and spending summers there, and new experiences that could be fully enjoyed. I also realized that my parents didn't have too much in common. They didn't really share too many of the same hobbies. I'm sure it works for some people with the whole opposites attracting, but that wasn't the case for them. I ended up immersing myself into whatever I was interested in at the moment. Cutting up magazines and collaging them together, taking art classes and passing around quote books with friends. I played rec softball and was actually pretty good. I tried out for the varsity softball team, and learned that I wasn't actually as good as I thought. Though I was one of the worst players, I tried hard and enjoyed the practices. Basically I immersed myself in activities and hobbies that kept me busy.
And then over 15 years later, in my early thirties, I went to see a therapist in Santa Monica. That turned out to be an amazingly wonderful experience that lasted about six months, and I realized some fascinating things about myself. One of the biggest takeaways that I learned was that no matter how bad the situation, with enough understanding and healing, I had the necessary tools within me to choose how I wanted to handle it. Basically since then I've just had a far better perspective on my overall outlook on life. I probably had it long before then, but it's something I can now embrace. And hopefully by sharing my random stories and insights, and scripting these quotes every week somehow inspires you to choose to look on the bright side of life.
Hope to continue spreading more motivation for each of your Mondays this year using this watercolor set from Michaels and a brush that says Royal 2 on it (can’t remember where it’s from, sorry!). I also found some alternative watercolor options here and here. If you have a favorite quote – snarky, silly, or simple in its’ wisdom, please share in the comments!