Picture this…

It’s the first Saturday of summer, and you’re eight years old again. You wake up at the crack of dawn, because that’s what kids do even when they don’t have to be at school, and you put on your play clothes and run down the steps, taking them two at a time, and as you reach the bottom of your steps you go straight to your back door, push it open, and run outside. Even though the sun’s barely out, you can still feel the heat of the sun start to break away the cool morning air. You breathe deeply, taking in this mixture of hot and cold air, and then you run to the fence where you have just spotted your favorite ball and when you finally reach it, you pick it up and start to play with it. Without a care in the world, you kick your ball, bounce it, and throw it until you can hardly move your arms.

After you finish playing with your ball, you take a short breather in order to give your arms some much needed rest and then you move on to jumping rope. You jump and jump and jump until your legs turn to jelly and then after another short recovery you finish off your morning by hula hooping until it’s time to eat lunch. For lunch, your mom makes you your favorite lunch time meal that you devour in a manner that would make anyone think that you hadn’t had anything to eat in weeks, and after you finish eating your lunch your mom tells you that you get to go to the park!

Upon entering these sacred grounds, you sprint at full speed right to your favorite place, the sand box. You build sand castles with nothing but your hands and the water from the water fountain as your crafting tools. You expertly construct massive and intricate buildings that even an architect would be impressed by.

After finishing your masterpiece, you rush over to the jungle gym and onto the monkey bars. You move effortlessly from bar to bar until you make it to the other side of this colossal-sized playground. After going from one side of the monkey bars to the other side and back again, you decide that you’re going to have a go at the swings. You just learned how to swing by yourself, and since then you’ve been determined to get as high off the ground as is physically possible before jumping off.

After deciding to go on the swings, you slide down the winding slide and run over to the swing set just in time to grab the last free swing. You lean against the swing and start pushing it back as far as you can until you’re standing on your tippee toes and then you jump onto the seat and take off. As you feel the hot air blowing on your face, you start to pump your legs in an effort to urge the swing higher. With each pump of your legs- backwards, and forward, backwards, and forward, and backwards again- you go higher and higher until you’re higher than you’ve ever been before. Pure and unadulterated elation coarse through your veins and you hoop and holler as your stomach excitedly turns over and over again from the best swing ride of your lifetime.

And just when you think you can’t get any higher you do! This is exactly what you’ve been waiting for! Now’s your chance! As the swing rears back one more time and starts to raise you higher, you let go of the chains to your left and right, and fly in the air higher than you ever dreamed possible. As you move up and up into the air, you feel as free as a bird does as he flies and soars through the air.

As you start to make your way back to the ground, you realize that you were so wrapped up in this life-changing moment that you have forgotten to brace yourself for the landing, and just as you come to this conclusion, you land face first on the ground. SMACK!

Your face stings as you roll over onto your back, and you instantly reach for your throbbing knee that slammed on a rock when you landed face down on the ground. As you hold your knee against your chest, unrestricted tears flow down your cheeks and onto your now dirt-covered t-shirt. As you look up from where you lay on the ground, you see a blurred image of your mom rushing right over to you.

“I hurt my leg mommy,” you cry once she is by your side.

“Do you want me to kiss and make it feel better?” she asks in a soothing voice as she kneels down next to you.

After nodding your head vigorously, your mom leans her head down and places her lips on you leg making a loud and exaggerated smooching sound. “Better?” she asks after finishing her kiss.

“Mmhhmm,” you respond as you let go of your leg.

“Good. Now are you ready to get back up and play some more?” she inquires.

Looking up at her, you shake your head letting her know that you don’t want to get up.

Concern stretches across your mother’s face. “Why not?”

“I don’t know,” you say while shrugging your shoulders.

“Well you know sweetheart, if you stay down here, you’re going to miss out on all of the fun you can be having. Just look at all of the kids out here laughing and having a good time. Don’t you want to have fun like all of the other boys and girls out here?”

Turning your head to the right, you see all of the other kids running around and playing. You hear their laughter and their excited voices as the run and jump and skip and roll around the park, and as you see them enjoying their day at the park you decide that you don’t want to miss out on anymore fun and that you want to enjoy your day at the park too. You then shift your focus back up to your mother’s caring eyes, and you say, “Ok mommy, I’ll get up.”

Positive thinkers, we all fall down sometimes. We all suffer from failure, disappointments, losses, grief, hardships, and many many other difficulties that bring us down. Nobody is immune to it, but when we do fall down, we can’t stay down forever. You have to get back up. If you want to be able to try again then you have to get up first. And, if you do try again your previous fall can end up helping you because the next time you’ll know what to do so that you don’t fall the same way that you did last time.

And if you don’t want to try again, that’s ok too. You should still make the decision to get up again, and when you do eventually make that decision, leave all of the hurt that you felt back down on the ground where you fell; don’t take it with you. Carrying that hurt around with you and focusing on the pain that your fall caused you might cause you to miss out on all of the other opportunities life has to offer you, so just let go of it.

You may be scared of what could happen after you get back up again, especially after falling hard, but staying on the ground isn’t going to make you feel any better. From the ground, you can only see life pass you by; you can’t participate from the floor, but you can join in in all of life’s joys when you get up. It may be hard positive thinker, and it may be difficult, but in the end, all that matters is that you get back up.

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Positive thinker, have you ever stopped yourself from doing something after imagining all of the things that might possibly go wrong? I know I have, and I also know that whenever I do that, I deprive myself of experiencing some potential good. I can’t tell you how many times I have not gone through with something just because I believed that what I truly wanted to happen never could happen.

In high school, I failed to apply to certain colleges because I thought, “Even if I do get into this school, I’m not going to be smart enough to pass all of those classes, and I will end up being one of the least intelligent people in my grade.” I’ve avoided talking to new people just because I thought that they might talk negatively about me after I left because they would have found me weird or different. I have forgone applying for jobs because I thought that I might embarrass myself in an interview by saying something irrelevant or by not listening to the question fully and answering it the wrong way.

But what if all of those bad things that I imagined didn’t end up happening?

If I would have applied to those schools I might have actually gotten accepted, and I could have ended up excelling in all of my classes. If I would have gone over and talked to that new group of people, I might have hit it off with them and now I would be able to say that I have a new group of people that I can call my friends, and if I would have applied for that job that I wanted then I might have been able to say that I’m working at my dream job right now.

Positive thinker what would happen if all of the bad things that you imagined might happen didn’t actually happen at all? Because, yes, it is true that the bad things that you envisioned happening might happen, but it is equally true that they also might not happen. If there was even the smallest chance that you could have what you wanted just by having enough courage to go through with your plans, then why wouldn’t you at least try? If things do indeed go wrong, you will at least have some idea of where you went wrong so that you don’t end up making the same mistake the next time you decide to go for that dream, but if things do go right for you positive thinker, then you can actually end up experiencing something wonderful.

Whenever you stop yourself from doing something that you want to do because you’re afraid that it may go poorly, you’re defeating yourself before you even start. So, don’t do that to yourself positive thinker. Don’t imagine all of the bad things that might happen. Instead, imagine all of the good things that could happen. When you think negative thoughts, you are bound to introduce negative things into your life. If you start to believe that something will go wrong with your plans you may indirectly cause that very thing that you are dreading to happen. Your expectations for negative things may just cause you to act in a way that will end up making your negative thoughts come to fruition. On the other hand, if you imagine and think about things going right then positive things will be introduced into your life, and if you think those positive thoughts then you will end up behaving in a way that will make those thoughts that you have envisioned come to pass.

Positive thinker, the next time there is something big that you want to happen, don’t get intimidated by the size of whatever it is. Don’t allow your thoughts to go to a place of negativity. Stop yourself from thinking of all the possible things that could go wrong. As an alternative, start thinking of all the things that could go right. Fill your head with positive thoughts about that idea that you want to happen. Imagine it and believe that it will happen so that any and all thoughts of you not succeeding get tossed out the door and into the dumpster with the rest of the garbage. Positive thinker, you deserve all that you want to have in life, so don’t let your negative thoughts prevent you from going out and getting it! Think positive thoughts, and get positive results! Your plans don’t have to fall apart positive thinker; they can go your way!

Remember positive thinker, “Don’t think about what might go wrong, think about what could go right.”

My freshman year in college, I went on a service trip to Tijuana, Mexico. One of the highlights from this trip was being able to help construct a house for a family that didn’t have any place to live. Even though we didn’t finish building the house while we were there, the group I was with was able to see a completed house that other groups had just helped to build.

Now although the house that we saw was two stories high, it was no bigger than a regular sized elementary school classroom. When we arrived at that house the family living there welcomed us with open arms into their home, and they excitedly showed us around their small abode. When the oldest girl opened the door to her bedroom and showed us the room that she shared with her sister, we saw only a simple room that housed a single mattress that the girls shared with each other. The mother opened up another door and showed us the bathroom that was no bigger than a closet, and yet this family could not help but be grateful for and excited about their new home.

Time and time again, I hear stories of people going to the poverty stricken parts of places like Mexico or Africa and coming into contact with people who have barely anything, and even though these people have considerably less than we do, they are still happier than anyone that I have yet to come across in my life. Part of this stems from the fact that they have no need to compare what they have to other people. They aren’t concerned about the latest version of the iphone or with who is wearing what. When you’re living in a constant state of poverty, you don’t care that you don’t have access to an abundance of superfluous gadgets and gizmos; you just start to become thankful and happy for what little you do have. When you don’t know where your next full meal is coming from, keeping up with the Joneses doesn’t seem so important.

Unlike people in the poorer parts of the world, many of us have grown up having everything that we needed to survive, and as wonderful as that is to say, it also comes with a cost. We don’t have to worry about starving to death or dying from an illness that could have been prevented by a simple vaccine, so we occupy our minds by worrying about other things. We start to become too preoccupied with what other people have and we start to obsess about why we don’t have what they have.

We become jealous when our co-worker has a new designer bag.

That green-eyed monster escapes from his cage when we see our neighbor pull up in front of her house in the newest BMW.

We think less of ourselves when we hear that our classmates are further along in their career than we are.

We view ourselves as less pretty whenever we open up a magazine and cast our eyes upon models with “the perfect body.”

We become unhappier and unhappier with our lives each and every time we compare ourselves to someone who is better looking, smarter, funnier, more successful, skinnier, more talented, richer, or stronger than we are.

Positive thinker, there comes a time in all our lives when we start to compare ourselves to someone else that we think is doing better than we are, and when we start to do that we are only causing ourselves harm. You start to lose sight of who you are because you are constantly trying to be someone else. When you’re too busy trying to be like person X, you will ultimately stop trying to be like you. Positive thinker, you waste precious time and energy when you compare yourself to other people. When you are so concerned with how you stack up compared to someone else you are taking away from precious time that you could be using to better yourself, and if you are continuously worrying about what everyone around you is doing and if you are constantly trying to have what they have then you can never truly be happy with all of the wonderful things that you do have.

Whenever you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else positive thinker, try to remember that every single solitary person on this earth is uniquely made, and because of this fact you shouldn’t try to compare yourself to anyone else. People go through various events and experiences at different times in their lives because everyone is different. You shouldn’t compare yourself to other people because no matter how hard you try you can never be that person that you are trying so hard to measure up to. You can only be the best you you can be. So instead of trying to live the life of someone else positive thinker, focus on living your life and becoming the best version of yourself instead of the better version of someone else. Trust me; you’ll be a lot happier for it in the long run.

Remember positive thinker, “happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people.”

Did you know that there is a little American town that experiences 7-10 consecutive weeks without any sun? That’s right, once a year, from November to January, all of the residents of Barrow, Alaska are cast into what is essentially months of nothing but darkness. When the inhabitants of Barrow look outside a window at 10:00 in the morning it looks exactly how it does at 10:00 at night. As the residents go about their day to day lives, they must walk around and handle their business under the never ending night sky. All of the activities and chores that the rest of the world is used to doing in the daylight, these people must accomplish with only artificial light because they do not have the sun to rely on.

Do you think you could do it?

It would probably be difficult for you if this wasn’t an environment that you grew up in. I mean think about it, even if perpetual darkness for two months straight isn’t a reality for you, I’m sure that you live somewhere where you may end up going days or even a couple of weeks without seeing any sunshine. If going those few weeks without sun is difficult, then going months without it would be even more difficult.

So you may not experience months of darkness (unless you live in Barrow), but I wouldn’t be surprised if you found yourself dreaming of the sun-filled skies of destinations like Los Angeles during those gloomy days that you’re bound to experience. Days and days of nothing but cloudy skies can start to make even a sun-bashing person want to pack up his or her bags and head for warmer land. Living in some place like London or Portland in the middle of the winter may leave you wishing and praying for even the smallest sliver of sunshine, but unfortunately for you, you have no control over the situation. Just because you wish, hope, and pray for a bright and sunny day doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. There is nothing you can do to make warmer weather appear because you have no control over the weather, but luckily for you, you do have control over a different kind of sunshine.

Positive thinker you may not have control over the weather, but you do have control over positive rays of sunshine that you can bring into your life. Because your life is controlled by you, you can allow for sunshine to enter into your life if you want it to. We don’t have to wait around for someone else to create sunshine for us because we can bring about our own sunshine, in the form of happiness and positivity, into our lives whenever we want to.

Positive thinker, if you ever find yourself asking, “What happened to all of the sunshine in my life,” then it may be time for you to start bringing in your own sunshine.

If you find yourself in a rut where you seem to be experiencing nothing but gloominess then try doing something that is guaranteed to bring you some extra happiness.

If you know you always feel brighter after going on a nature run then cut some hours out of your week to go on that run.

If going out to see the latest Avengers movie will add a little sunshine into your life then go and do it.

If calling up your best friend and talking on the phone to her for hours will take away some of the gloom then pull out your cell phone and give her a call.

It’s never too late for you to add in some extra sunshine either. If you go for months in darkness, just like the residents of Barrow do, it may seem like you will never be able to see the light again, but that doesn’t have to be true. Even after living in perpetual darkness for months on end, the residents of Barrow experience light again and you can too. Just because you may have some darkness in your life, don’t give up on the hope of seeing the light again.

Positive thinker, you shouldn’t have to walk through life without any sunshine, so next time you notice that you have a little bit too much gloom hanging around you, make the decision to cast away the darkness and let some light shine through!

Remember positive thinker, “some days you just have to create your own sunshine.”

I, love, and you are just three simple words. When these words are alone, they may not hold any significance to you, but when they are strung together, one right after the other, these words can become some of the most powerful words ever uttered. These words let you know that you don’t have to go through this world alone. You know that you will have someone that cares about you and that wants the best in life for you. There will be someone there for you that can be that shoulder to lean on when you’re down and that can help you back up when you fall. It doesn’t matter if these words come from your mother, father, sister, brother, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse because when you hear these words uttered to you they can give you such an immense sense of comfort that will be hard for anyone to take away from you.

Now although these words can bring us joy, they also tend to loose their power the more it is said by one person. What was once new and exciting to hear can become routine and habitual. The meaning behind these three words has not changed, but because we have heard them said so many times they begin to seem less and less meaningful. We start to take this simple sentence for granted and we may even start to not care or notice it when someone stops saying it to us, that is, until someone fails to say it when we need to hear it the most.

If you happen to be feeling bad about yourself because your best friend is no longer talking to you because you said some unkind things to her in the midst of a heated argument, you may need to hear someone else tell you that he or she still loves you even though you were hurtful to your best friend.

You may yearn to hear those words if someone that once loved you has just told you that he no longer loves you. Knowing that someone still loves you might just help you to get over this heartbreak a little faster.

If you’re not sure about the direction your life is heading, you may need someone to tell you that you are loved even if you never find the right path in life.

And you may need to hear those three words if you feel unaccomplished because you’re not where you pictured you would be at this point in your life. Knowing that you are still loved may just give you hope for your future.

Yes, it feels good to have someone to tell you that you are loved, especially in times of trouble, but having somebody there to tell you that you are loved shouldn’t stop you from telling yourself just how much you love you. Don’t rely on someone else to tell you that you are loved. Positive thinker, be the one to tell yourself that you love you.

In life, you should be your biggest advocate. People will come and go from your life, including people that once loved you, but even if everyone that once loved you has left you to stand alone in this world, it doesn’t mean that you should give up on loving yourself.

And you should love yourself unconditionally positive thinker. Sometimes we start to think less of ourselves when things don’t seem to go our way. If you fall on hard times you may want to stop loving yourself, but this setback shouldn’t stop you from loving you. If you’re feeling down and out you may want to stop loving yourself, but keep on loving yourself despite this obstacle that life has thrown your way. If nothing in your world seems to be going your way you may want to stop loving yourself, but you should still love you even if you are experiencing the most difficult hardship of your life.

It is also in these times of trouble when you need to love yourself the most positive thinker. If the world’s got you down, you need to make sure to let yourself know that even if your life isn’t perfect you still have yourself that you can depend on and love. Show yourself that you love you no matter what.

It shouldn’t matter if you don’t have someone out there telling you that you are loved everyday because at the end of the day you have you, and if you love yourself and walk hand in hand with yourself everyday, this world may not be as scary as you make it out to be. Positive thinker, you should always have at least one person that loves you, and that person out to be you.

Remember positive thinker, “At the end of the day, tell yourself gently: ‘I love you, you did the best you could today, and even if you didn’t accomplished all you had planned, I love you anyway.’”  -The unbounded Spirit

Picture this…

You’re currently only one week away from experiencing the vacation that you have been planning for months. You’ve been working hard day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, and you’ve finally decided that you deserve to cash in on your vacation time that you have never taken advantage of. You smile intensely as you realize that in a week from now you’ll be lying on the beach and sipping ice cold Mai Tai’s under a rainbow beach umbrella as you wiggle your toes in the warm sand while you look out on to the picturesque background of the majestic waves rolling back and forth in the clear blue ocean water with sun blazing bright and high in the cloudless sky.

And because you don’t want to wait around until the last minute to get your bag packed, you decide that you are going to get everything ready to go now. You walk over to your closet and shift through all of the countless clothes that you have hanging up until you reach the back of your closet and lay eyes upon your big blue duffle bag that is practically brand new, since the last and only time you used it was five years ago when you took your last vacation. You drag it out from your closet, knocking over a few shoes in the process, and throw the bag down on top of your bed.

Flitting across your room, you go from drawer to dresser, to closet, to suitcase, and back again, gathering all of the items that you’ll need on your vacation. You throw in swim suits, tank tops, shorts, sandals, and a host of other items that you think you may need on your trip.

After you have everything in your bag that you think you need, you pull the sides together and attempt to zip it. You get about a fourth of the way up your duffle bag before you can’t pull the zipper closed anymore. Looking down at the bag, you recognize that you have two options. You can either take out some of your stuff or you can put the new muscles that you’ve gained from going to gym after work to use and try and zip your duffle bag closed. After mulling over the options in your mind for about a minute, you decide that you’re going to go with option two. You roll your duffle bag over on to its side and throw your body on top of it. While your full body weight is lying down on top of your bag, you extend your right arm to the zipper and resume pulling the zipper closed. When you get done zipping up your duffle bag halfway, you give your right arm a break and take your left hand and continue tugging at the zipper until your bag is completely closed. Feeling accomplished, you climb off of your bag, exhale the breath that you’ve been holding in for the past minute, wipe off the beads of sweat that have accumulated on your upper lip from your battle with your duffle bag, and then you prepare to move your bag off of your bed.

Grabbing the handle, you pull the bag with all of your might, but it doesn’t take you long to realize that even with all the extra time you’ve been spending at the gym, you’ll be lucky if you can drag your duffle bag from your bed to your bedroom door that’s all of 7 and a half feet away from you.

Sighing, you decide that you need to get rid of some of things in your bag. Unzipping the zipper that you just spent the last fifteen minutes pulling closed, you let your bag fall open. As you rummage through your duffle bag and assess what you can actually get rid of, you notice that you have packed an unnecessarily large amount of items that you have absolutely no need for in a tropical paradise.

After five short minutes of cutting back on your unnecessary vacation items, you have a considerable amount of more room in your bag. Laughing quietly to yourself, you wonder why you even decided to pack your rain boots, three jackets, two pairs of sweat pants, a hair dryer, two extra brushes, and all five of the A Game of Thrones book series. After surveying your suitcase one more time to make sure that you rid the bag of all pointless clutter, you zip it up and effortlessly carry your duffle bag to the front door.

Positive thinker, there are probably things in your life right now that you are holding on to that you should just let go of. Carrying that problem, worry, fear, or doubt around with you on a daily basis can only make your life that much more difficult to deal with. These problems can become burdensome and can start to feel like a heavy weight that you have to carry around with you 24/7 and can’t ever seem to shake off.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are worrisome things that you can’t let go of that you need to carry around with you everyday. Giving up on worrying about certain things may actual cause you more harm than good. You probably shouldn’t stop caring completely about a chronic health problem or a debt that you need to pay off, but there are plenty of things that you are probably holding on to that you do not have any control over that you can let go of. It’s not necessary to hold on to anger from past break-ups, and you can’t control the fact that not everyone likes you, and it would do you a world of good to stop obsessing over the fact that you didn’t get the dream job that you applied for, especially since the fact that you didn’t get the job is beyond your control.

Positive thinker, I challenge you to make the decision to let go of some of those burdensome things that you are carrying around with you from day to day.

Let go of those unnecessary fears that are causing you pain.

Get rid of the shame that keeps you up at night.

Cast away the needless doubts that are weighing you down like an anchor holding back a ship.

And eliminate that guilt and resentment that you’ve been holding on to.

When you stop harboring on to things that cause you pain, you open up more space into your life. Space, that can allow you to let in more things that cause you joy instead of pain. Positive thinker, letting go of these troublesome things is only going to make your life brighter and lighter. So what are you waiting for? Commit to making a change that will get rid of your excess baggage.

Remember positive thinker, “Knowledge is learning something everyday. Wisdom is letting go of something everyday.” –Zen proverb

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Most of the time when we think of vacuums, we think of them as being a generally helpful item to have around the house. If your carpet is full of dirt, bits of hair that you’ve shed, crumbs from food that you dropped off of your plate, and millions of tiny pieces of ripped up paper from the first draft of your business proposal that you hated, then a vacuum can come in handy.

Even though vacuums can clean up messes that we don’t want lying around on our floor, they can also end up sucking up things that we didn’t mean to get sucked up. Things, that are of great importance to us…

Keeping that in mind, let’s take a moment to look at this scenario…

Carol has been putting off vacuuming her floor for awhile now. Over the past few months she has let dirt and trash pile up on her floor, and she hasn’t been able to get around to cleaning it up because between her new job and the school work for the online class she started taking last month and between balancing her time between her new significant other and her friends and family, she simply hasn’t had enough time to tackle the catastrophe that is her bedroom floor.  Now, by some miracle, Carol has found a free day all to herself, and she decides that she’s going to spend her free day cleaning her house. She makes up her mind to get the worst area of her house, her filthy bedroom floor, out of the way first.

As Carol powers up the vacuum, she jumps slightly at the sound of the unfamiliar thunderous sound that’s presently filling the air, and ss she starts to move the vacuum cleaner in a fluid, rhythmic back and forth motion, she marvels at how clean her floor is becoming. Her floor looks practically brand new and she can’t remember the last time she saw it look like that. After about ten minutes of cleaning, her floor looks immaculate, and just as she is about to put the vacuum cleaner away, Carol realizes that she hasn’t gotten the area of the floor underneath her dresser yet. Because the vacuum is too big and bulky to reach under there, she pulls out the vacuum attachment and gets ready to suck up the unsuspecting dirt that lives under her dresser. As she continues to vacuum in the small place under her dresser, she starts to hear a strange noise. The air flow doesn’t sound nearly as strong as it did a few seconds ago, so thinking that something big has gotten stuck in front of the nozzle, Carol pulls out the attachment from under the dresser. As she lifts up the nozzle to her face she notices that the love letter that her great grandmother Jean wrote to her husband, Carol’s great grandfather Bill, while he was overseas fighting in WWI is hovering in front of the opening of the vacuum attachment. She is instantly relieved that the note wasn’t sucked up, and as she goes to move it from in front of the nozzle, Carol accidentally bumps it and the note is sucked up into the vacuum.

Immediately she turns off the vacuum and opens it up to get to the vacuum bag, but unfortunately for Carol, that precious handwritten note that her great grandfather gave to his son, and that he gave to his only daughter, and that she passed down to her, has been shredded into hundreds of little pieces of paper. Carol sifts through every single piece of dirt in that bag until her hands and floor end up becoming dirtier than they were when she first started vacuuming, and after shifting through the vacuum bag for an hour she eventually resigns from the task at hand and acknowledges that the note will never be put back together again.

Positive thinker, if someone is a positive force in your life, then he or she won’t suck up the good in your life. These positive forces will be there to support you and will even occasionally help to suck up the bad things in your life. People who are a negative force will do just the opposite. Those individuals who are negative forces in your life will be like the vacuum in the story above, and they will try and take your happiness away. They’ll suck up everything that you hold dear and valuable in your life so that you are left feeling miserable and discontented.

If you have someone in your life that is sucking up the happiness in your life like a vacuum sucking up a beloved family token then it would be beneficial for you to remove this person from your life. It’s never too late to make a change to get rid of people from your life that make you unhappy. Before that individual sucks up all of your happiness into his or her happiness sucking nozzle, remove yourself from the line of fire and go away from the nozzle before this person has completely taken away your happiness.

Positive thinker, if you want to have a happy life but the people around you are preventing you from being happy because they have a habit of taking away your joy, then make a change to associate with people who help to suck up the bad from your life instead of the good.

Remember positive thinker, “Do not let anyone become a vacuum and suck the happiness out of you. Pull the plug.”

Have you ever tried giving someone a really beat up dollar bill only to have that person reject it because it wasn’t nice enough? You knew when you tried to give the dollar to this person that this dollar bill had gone through hell and back while it was in your possession. That dollar was dropped in mud, washed in your washing machine, dried in your dryer, drooled on by your dog, stepped on, ripped into two piece, taped back together, dropped in mud again, and then crumpled up and put into your pocket after you wiped it off haphazardly on a leaf that you found next to the mud puddle, and now after all of this torment that you have put this helpless dollar bill through, you decide to pass it on to an unsuspecting individual that you owe a dollar to. After pulling out this crumpled up and dirty dollar from your pocket, your creditor ultimately refuses the bill because of its ghastly state. This person thinks that the dollar bill that you are trying to hand over is not as valuable as a clean and new looking dollar bill.

The truth of the matter is that that dollar is still worth a dollar whether that person believes that it’s worth a dollar or not. If you try and buy something with that dollar the cashier isn’t going to not take it just because it doesn’t look good. The dollar’s worth didn’t change just because you’ve put it through the wringer. A dollar is worth a dollar whether it’s a newly printed bill or a bill that spent a week lying in a sewer.

The same can be said for us positive thinker. Sometimes we are led to believe that we are not good enough just because of some less than favorable life events that we have gone through.

Now and then you hear people tell you that you’re not worthy because of x and that you’re not valuable because of y and z. And after hearing those hurtful things over and over again, you may start to believe it, and actually start to change the way you look at yourself because of how other people look at you. Their negative views may start to become your own negative self-views, and then it becomes more and more difficult for you to love yourself because you’ve been bombarded by people who are constantly trying to define your worth.

They tell you that you’re not as valuable if your shorts are too short or if your pants are too saggy.

They say that you’re worth decreases if you don’t act in a respectable way.

They turn their noses up at you if you’re a little bit too liberal with your sexuality.

They gawk and stare at you if you go out one night and drink too much.

You’re not important if you’re not smart enough, if you don’t make enough money, or if you don’t believe in the same god as the person who is looking down on you does.

Positive thinker, even if some of these are your truths, this shouldn’t lead you to view yourself as less worthy than those people who do not hold these particular instances to be their truths.

There are always going to be reasons out there that lead people to believe that you’re not worth anything, but we can’t give into believing them because it’s your worth positive thinker, not their worth.

Your entire life isn’t made up of “bad” moments like the ones described above, so your worth shouldn’t be only dictated by these moments either. There are many great things about you, and you should not allow a handful, or even a truck full, of questionable moments to make you think less of yourself, even if other people do think less of you for it.

If that dollar bill that your friend didn’t accept because of its appearance was a living breathing entity it wouldn’t think that its value was decreased just because it was tossed around without any consideration because, at the end of the day, the dollar would know that it was worth a dollar no matter what happened to it. Likewise, your worth does not loose value just because someone else can’t see how truly great you are. It doesn’t matter what you go through or who says what about you because your worth is not defined by someone else. It’s defined by you.

Remember positive thinkers, “Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” –Unknown

Picture This…

You’re at your favorite amusement park with three of your closest friends. You’ve been to this theme park countless of times before and every time you step foot inside this joyous place you can’t help but smile a grin that stretches from ear to ear because you know that you’re going to have a great fun-filled day. With childlike excitement you go on ride after ride after ride. You eat all of your favorite foods at all of your favorite spots, you share in some side-splitting laughs with your good friends as you’re waiting in line for all of the rides, you take pictures with each and every one of the goofy and bubbly characters that you cross paths with, and you go to see all of the shows that this wonderful theme park has to offer you. Next thing you know, you’re looking down at your watch and realizing that you only have an hour and a half left before the park closes.

One of your friends speaks up after he also notices what time it is and says, “Let’s go on one more ride!” All four of you agree instantaneously that you should definitely try and get on one more ride before you run out of time. Just as you finish murmuring your assents, another one of your friends suggests that your last ride for the day should be the one ride that you have been afraid of going on ever since your first visit to the park years and years ago.

At once you speak up. “I’m not going on that thing! Are you crazy?”

“Why? It’s so much fun!” Your friend answers back.

“Maybe because I don’t have a death wish,” you reply as you feel your heart rate start to increase ten fold.

“It’s really not that bad,” your best friend states matter-of-factly.

“Well I’m not going,” you say with a swift fold of your arms and a note of finality in your voice, “I’m way too scared.”

After about fifteen minutes of trying to convince you to get on the ride, you give up and agree to get on. “My friends have all gone on this ride multiple times and they’re all fine,” you say to yourself, “so I should be fine to get on it just this once. Besides, how bad could it be anyway?”

As you walk up to the front entrance of the ride, arm in arm with your best friend, you look up at the towering, winding coaster and immediately question your sanity for agreeing to get on this ride. Just as you are about to object again, your friend tugs you forward with her arm and ushers you into the line. With each step closer and closer to the front of the ride and with every inch your foot moves you can feel your heart pounding faster and faster. By the time you take your seat in the ride 45 minutes later, you’re sure that your heart is going to burst out from your chest at any moment. As the lap bar closes over your legs, sealing your fate, your friend gives your hand one last gentle squeeze as your cart takes off.

The first thing you feel is the icy night sky piercing your cheeks as the cart takes and pushes you forward at a pace that makes The Flash look like he’s taking a leisurely stroll. You feel your hair whipping back and forth and dancing in the wind to the clicking and clacking of the wheels of your cart connecting with the metal of the monstrous coaster. You feel your stomach drop with excitement with every twist and turn that the ride takes. And you may be screaming at the top of your lungs, but you’re enjoying every single solitary second of this ride that you had avoided for ages.

When your cart pulls up to the exit after the ride is complete, your friend turns to you with an all too familiar smile as she gently nudges your ribs with her elbow as she asks you, “Soooo what did you think of the ride?” You can tell by the smug look on her face that she already knows the answer to her own question, I mean after all, she was sitting right next you the entire time and could see that you were thoroughly enjoying the ride. Unable to hide your excitement, you laugh a short happy laugh and say, “It was amazing!”

Positive thinker, many times the only person that’s preventing you from living your life to the fullest is you. You hear this little voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do something for x, y, and z reason, but that voice doesn’t always have your best interest at heart. It tries to convince you that you can’t do something by coming up with every possible scenario where you will fail at doing that thing that you’re so afraid to do. That voice can’t imagine you succeeding, so all it does is tell you that you won’t succeed.

We can all probably think of a time when we were too afraid for whatever reason to go through with something. I’m also sure that you have looked back on that moment and wondered what would have happened if you had tried doing that very thing that you feared so much.

On the other hand, we have all also probably gone through with something even though we were terrified to do it. Go ahead and try to remember one of those moments. How did you feel after completing that daunting task? I bet you felt pretty great about yourself, and as you sit there thinking about that moment, you’re also probably thinking that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you made it out to be.

In life, we will always have roller coasters that we are afraid to get on. Sometimes it’s not wanting to apply for a job because you’re afraid that you’re not going to get it. Other times it’s mustering up enough courage to go and talk to that cutie at the back of the bar that you’ve had your eye on ever since you walked in through the door of that bar. And still other times it’s standing up to that person who has been giving you a hard time for no other reason than that he wants to make your life a living hell. It doesn’t matter what form these coasters take because they are always going to be intimidating to us. But sometimes positive thinker we have to say enough is enough. Sometimes we just need to get on that coaster even though we may be afraid of it.

And I know that is a difficult thing to do…

Often times when you become so overwhelmed with fear, all you can think about are all of the other times when you weren’t able to build up enough nerve to get on that rollercoaster and ride it. You fail to remember all of the other menacing coasters that you got on and had fun riding.

Positive thinker, if you ever find yourself hesitant to take a seat on that next new rollercoaster, try thinking of another time when you were able to conquer a different coaster in spite of the fear that you held in your heart. Remember how accomplished you felt after getting off and remember how silly you felt after for ever having been afraid of that coaster in the first place. That memory of successfully getting on a different difficult rollercoaster may be just the push that you need to climb into the cart or your new coaster, strap up your seatbelt, and have the ride of your life.

And when in doubt try and remember the wise words of Ginny Weasely from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: “you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” Even if you’ve never read a single page of Harry Potter before, these words can still help you out when you’re trying to round up enough courage to do that thing that you fear most.

Keep getting on those coasters positive thinker, and as always, keep thinking positive thoughts!

Stress is a natural and reoccurring part of life. The happiest person on the planet even has issues that he or she has to deal with, and if they’re dealing with stress then I’m sure that your life isn’t stress free either. Just take today for instance. You could probably think of a handful of problems that have been gnawing away at the back of your mind all day.

The truth of the matter is, positive thinker, that we all have problems; no one on the face of the planet earth is 100% problem free. We all deal with the day to day stressors that seem to constantly hang over our heads like our own personal cloud of worry. Some of these stressors may be smaller or less daunting than others, but they are stressors all the same.

And if we allow ourselves to become crippled by these things that cause us anxiety and worry then we will end up leading a pretty unhappy life.

But guess what? You don’t have to allow yourself to become crippled by your daily stressors.

When these headaches come our way, we are left with two options. We can either choose to cower away in fear and let these problems overwhelm us until they overtake us completely, or we can stand up to them and beat them down as they come our way.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to choose the second option.

Instead of letting these toxic events wreak havoc on our lives, we can learn to face them head on and continue to persist in spite of these annoyances. Seize control over your problems and find solutions to them, so that you can conquer them and not become weighed down by them. Even if you have tried every possible way that you can think of to solve your problem and you still haven’t had success, tap into other people and resources that can help you get through your crisis. There is always some way out there for you to get through whatever problem you are going through.

We can’t allow these problems to stop us from living our lives in a way that we want to live them.

And we definitely cannot allow them to interfere with how we view ourselves, positive thinker.

Just because our lives aren’t perfect doesn’t make us any less of a person.

We must continue to believe in ourselves even when times get tough because it is in these moments of weakness when we need all of the faith and conviction that we can get. And we must continue to believe in ourselves in all aspects of our lives.

We must believe that we are more than our problems.

We must believe that we have the power to overcome the obstacles that life throws out in front of us.

We must believe that we can utilize our talents to their complete and all-encompassing potential. Each one of us has talents and abilities that we cannot afford to lose confidence in. We have to continue to be assured in ourselves so that we can employ these talents to the best of our abilities. We must always believe in our gifts so that we can continue to strive to use these gifts to become the best version of ourselves that we can become.

Don’t ever lose confidence in yourself positive thinker because when you start to do that it becomes a difficult habit for you to break.

Keep the thoughts that you have about yourself centered on positivity and just wait and see what can happen!

Remember positive thinker, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” –Marie Curie

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