Learning to change outlook
They say the best way to avoid disappointment is to not expect anything from anyone.
While “they” might be correct, it would be virtually impossible to never expect at least a little something from the people in your life. Not strangers on the street, but the people who you trust — your family, friends, coworkers, significant others.
Being utterly let down by someone who you thought could never in a million years hurt you is one of the worst feelings. As this is something that’s happened to me recently, I find the hurt doesn’t easily subside.
It gets a little better day-by-day, but there is a long road ahead in repairing the damage that someone else saw fit to cause.
So it would just be so much easier not to expect much out of anyone. But I’ve decided what’s more important is to expect more out of myself.
I can’t change how anyone else thinks, acts or feels. I can only change how I act, think and feel.
So I’ve been trying to do just that.
Changing how you think and how you feel are hard. You can’t do either until you’re ready. It’s a slow process, but starting with your actions helps.
Changing how you act is probably the easiest of the three. You’ve heard the expression, “fake it ‘til you make it.” Sometimes you have to put on a smiling face and go on with life, even though you’d rather do anything else.
Also, being kind, even to those who hurt you, helps. It’s not easy but you can’t get rid of negativity if you’re also spewing it out.
Making yourself go out and do new or fun activities with the people who haven’t let you down will get your mind off of what’s got you down. That has worked wonders for me.
I’ll admit I’m not the most athletic person, but once I made up my mind to stop sulking and brooding about why I was sad, I felt compelled to do something healthy for myself.
I started running here and there a few months ago and recently decided to get a little more serious. Myself and a couple of good friends signed up for the Color My College 5K at Marshall University. I knew I wasn’t fully trained to run the more than 3-mile course, but I wanted to see how much of it I could do.
As it turns out, I ran about 1.3 miles without stopping, followed by a mixture of walking and more running. The race wasn’t a timed event so I’m not exactly sure how fast I finished the course, but it was in the neighborhood of 36-39 minutes.
I’m not setting any land speed records for sure, but I was super proud of my effort and it felt great to do something for myself. I have vowed to continuing running (at least until the weather gets too cold) because while I actually don’t like running, I like the way I feel afterwards.
Also, in an attempt to try something different, I played in a charity poker tournament at the Mardi Gras Casino and Hotel a few weeks ago. While I’m no stranger to Texas Hold’em, I had never played in a casino tournament.
Basically, each player played on behalf of a charity of his or her choice.
In honor of my late mother, I played for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, an organization dedicated to curing spinal cord injuries and improving the quality of life for those who have sustained those types of injuries.
About 80 players battled it out, with the top three finishers winning big bucks for their charities.
While I absolutely could not catch a break, I outlasted about half of the players before I went out of the tournament. Having only won one hand the entire night, I thought that was a pretty good effort.
While I was disappointed the cards were not in my favor, I was pleased to find out everyone got $100 to donate to their charity. It was a really fun experience to play cards with some familiar faces from the Tri-State community and even more rewarding since so many charities benefited from it.
Getting myself involved in a few special activities here and there has helped me keep my mind on more positive things and while I can’t change other people, I can definitely work on finding my own happiness and changing my own outlook.
Michelle Goodman is the news editor at The Tribune. To reach her, call 740-532-1441 ext. 12 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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