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The secret to a positive attitude when things go bad

Posted June 7

In this edition of LIFEadvice with Coach Kim, she shares a secret that will change how you see the rough times in your life. (Deseret Photo)

Question:

Last year was the worst year ever for me and 2017 has started out pretty bad too. So many things have gone wrong, including my family being ripped apart and my career taking a big hit. I am a good person, I treat others right, and am a giver not a taker. I live my religion and keep the commandments, but I am not seeing the promised blessings at all. I feel God has left me on my own and out to dry. Why do these things keep happening to me? What can I do different to change the course of my life?

Answer:

Because I don’t know the details that created the situation you are in, I’m not sure what changes you personally need to make to change the results you are getting. I highly recommend you get a good life coach to help you work that part out, but I can tell from your question that some of your fundamental beliefs about life and the nature of the journey aren’t accurate.

This is a common problem because most of us picked up our beliefs about life (that define how we see everything that happens to us) before we were even 7 years old. Most of these are subconscious beliefs so we aren’t (obviously) consciously aware of them and the havoc they create in our thinking. And, if we did look at them and question their accuracy, we would immediately see how flawed they are and disregard them, but because we don’t even realize we have them, we never do.

Here are a few subconscious beliefs about the nature of life many of us have (unfortunately) accepted, which create negative attitudes and feelings and lots of discouragement.

  • If I am righteous and follow my religion, I will prosper in the land and be blessed with good things and protected from bad things. (Is this really the promise?)
  • Because of agency everyone is out there making choices, which can affect my life and even ruin my journey. When these things happen it is random bad luck. So, I must constantly protect myself and worry about being mistreated.
  • If bad things happen, it means I’m not worthy of better, God doesn’t care about me or he isn’t there at all.
  • The universe functions in random chaos and my journey can be ruined or less than it could have been because of other people’s choices.
Take a minute and reflect on these ideas. Do you believe any of them are true, or do some feel false to you? Is there any chance the promised blessings you mentioned in your question were tied to these beliefs?

It is very common for us to misinterpret the real reason, point and purpose of our being here and our higher power’s involvement in our lives. The real purpose of this journey is simply to learn and grow to become better, more loving people, and growth requires struggle, challenges and hard times. So, would it make any sense for God to promise you that obedience would get you out of rough experiences? The very rough experiences that are required for you to grow? Would it make more sense to believe that hard times are required so we can learn and become smarter, stronger and more loving?

In my book, "Choosing Clarity," I give readers the opportunity to change many of their faulty subconscious beliefs and replace them with beliefs or perspectives that create less fear and more peace. In the book, I encourage you to choose to view the higher power in the universe as love, not someone to fear. This alone can be a life changing shift. I also encourage readers to choose to see life as a classroom, not a test, where your value is on the line. I also encourage a belief that there is order, purpose and meaning in the universe and it is working with every choice you make, to create the perfect classroom journey for you, every day.

This means your journey cannot be ruined by anyone else, because you will always get the experiences that will facilitate the lessons you need most. So, if someone injures you or breaks your heart, that has to be the perfect next lesson for you or it wouldn’t happen. I encourage my clients to trust the universe that it knows what it’s doing. At least you have the option of playing with this perspective and seeing life this way if you want to. Try this perspective on for a week or two and trust you are right where you are supposed to be, learning your perfect lessons, safe in God’s hands, no matter what happens. Just see how this perspective feels.

I know some of you will be thinking that I cannot prove this idea is truth and it might be delusional or wishful thinking, and you might be right.

But you cannot prove I'm wrong either. You can’t prove the universe is random, chaotic and without order. So, where does this leave us?

This leaves us that we each get to choose our perspective. We can see the universe as conspiring to serve us and bless us at every turn, or we can see it as chaos or ambivalent to our needs. How do you want to see it? You get to choose.

If you don’t consciously choose a perspective that feels best for you though, your subconscious mind will choose for you, and it will probably choose chaos. Chances are this has already happened and it is why you aren’t feeling peace about your life.

So here it is, the big secret to a better attitude when things go wrong in your life (and this secret comes from one of my best coaches, Sean Barnett) lies in changing one little word from the question you asked me above.

Change your question from “Why do these things keep happening to me?” to “Why do these things keep happening for me?”

You could choose to see the universe as a wise teacher constantly conspiring to serve and educate you. You could choose to look for lessons, growth and knowledge in every rough experience that comes your way. You could choose to see every mistake as a lesson you signed up for, because you apparently needed the lesson that mistake would create.

This mindset would mean you always make the right wrong choices you need to learn something from. If you married someone, but it ends in divorce, you married the perfect teacher and the divorce must have served your growth in some way. At least you have the option of seeing it this way if you want to. You might try this perspective and see how it feels.

Here are four new belief options you might use to replace the inaccurate ones above:

  • If I am righteous and follow my religion I will have added strength and comfort to get through life’s perfect classroom and whatever rough lessons it brings.
  • There is perfect order in the universe and everything that happens is here to serve and educate me. There is purpose and meaning in everything and everything happens for me, not to me.
  • If bad things happen and I feel distant from my higher power, it’s not because I’m not loved and cared about. It just means this experience is an interesting part of the perfect lesson I need right now.
  • No person, no situation, no accident or problem will show up in my life unless it will serve me in some way. If I look hard I may eventually see the positives each experience has created for me, but even if I can’t see it yet, I can trust there is one and this will bring peace.
If you choose to believe every experience is in your life for a reason, and the purpose is always to benefit you, it will soften the blows (at least a little) and bring some level of comfort even though the rough times are still rough.

Hard times are not a punishment or a sign God has forgotten about you or doesn’t care, but a sign that you have the capacity to grow a lot from this challenge. Take the rough times one day, one hour or one minute at a time, and stay in trust that you will grow past this and better days are coming.

I know this, because it’s the nature of the universe that nothing lasts forever. Rainy days always end and eventually the sun comes back out. If you are really struggling with the hard times consider getting some life coaching with a certified Claritypoint coach (we have options to fit any budget).

You can do this.

Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach, speaker and people skills expert.

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