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Exuberant woman challenge update – letting go of negativity

Several weeks have passed since I last commented on my personal exuberant woman challenge.  I figured it was time for an update.

One of my greatest challenges has been in the area of negativity.  Negative thoughts, comments, situations and people.  I find it a struggle to eliminate all the negativity from my life. 

Over the last several weeks, it seems the sources of negativity are rampant.  I have noticed an increase of negativity and was determined to reduce it. 

First, I must deal with my own struggles, as every person has. I have, in the recent past, been telling myself three positive things for every one negative thought that has entered my mind.  Though sometimes it seems forced to tell myself something positive, I have noticed a change in my outlook of my life and have felt like a more optimistic person.

In addition to addressing my personal negativity, I have also tackled dealing with negativity from outside sources.  I realize that I can’t control much of the negativity that comes from others – I can only control my reactions to it and who I choose to be close to me.

One of the hardest things about being a single parent is not having a second person to make decisions with.  My decisions for myself and my children are my own to make.  I might not always get it right, and I have to live with my decisions.  I don’t have a partner to share the rewards or blame of decisions.  This has been both a blessing and a hardship.  I have become a much stronger, independent woman single becoming a single parent.  But it is also completely scary when I make a hard decision.

Over the last few weeks, I have had to make several decisions that affect not only me, but my children.  I have spent a lot of time praying about these decisions, seeking guidance from those with expertise about these decisions and discussing these decisions with my children.  My children have been, and will continue to be my first priority and their opinions on matters that affect them matter to me.  But sometimes the wants of children do not match the needs of children.  A hard lesson, especially since becoming a single parent, has been to know when to decide something that my children need, but may not want right away.  I have always made these decisions after long periods of thinking, praying, and seeking guidance.  And, I am happy to report, so far my decisions have had positive outcomes.

Back to negativity, sometimes people are not going to agree with my decisions.  I accept that and respect it.  I am not always going to make everyone happy.  I recall one decision from my past that some people did not agree with. They reacted with disrespect.  This was an incredibly painful experience for me in which I was completely blindsided by the reaction. 

There were two choices to deal with this disapproval.  I could continue as I often had, letting this affect me negatively, or I could choose to let go, physically and emotionally.  I chose the latter, cutting these sources of pessimism out of my life permanently, and I am much happier because of that decision. 

This action led me to re-examine other relationships and to let go of a few more negative influences.  Once I did this, I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  As I said earlier, I can’t control others’ negativity.  However, I can control whether or not I continue to allow those people into my life.  The decision to let go has been very freeing.

Choosing to eliminate sources of condemnation has also made me even more grateful to my friends and family who support me and show me respect, even if they don’t agree with my decisions.  My friends and family know who they are and know how much I appreciate and value them.

I am not naïve – I know that eliminating sources of negativity and being a more positive person will likely be a life-long struggle for me, as it is for several others.  I don’t believe that the path to being more positive has a destination.  Becoming a more exuberant woman isn’t about the destination.  It doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes or that I will always get it right.  It is all about the journey and trusting my instincts.  It is also about surrounding myself with people who love and care about me and my family, want the best for me and can be happy for me even when they don’t agree.  Becoming an exuberant woman means living, and loving, the journey.