When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us, Alexander Graham Bell.
Do not cry if the Sun sets at the end of the day, because the tears will not let you enjoy the beauty of the Stars, Anonymous.
It is up to you to decide if the glass is half full or half empty. More important than our experiences and circumstances is the subjective evaluation we make of them. The relationship between our assessment and reality is not direct, but rather complex.
You can always make a positive reading of your personal history, even at the most difficult and challenging times. Personally, when I went through lung metastasis, I learned that life is very short and that I have to make the most of it. I rediscovered the love of God, my loved ones, and some good friends. I realized that many things that used to overwhelm me were not as important as I thought they were.
Imagine that you have messed up badly, have experienced something negative or traumatic, or have felt the bitter taste of failure. It may be that you have failed an important exam, your boss has already lost faith in your work quality and productivity, and is questioning very seriously your suitability for the job, or you’ve just said something stupid to your girlfriend’s mum.
You may be tempted to blame yourself over and over and give up. Please, don’t victimise yourself, and do not say things like: I do not have any hope; I am out of luck; There is nothing I can do; I will never achieve that bachelor’s degree; I will be left on the shelf forever; Whatever I do, everything remains the same; etc.
You always have a choice, an opportunity to make course corrections, improve, and reinvent yourself. You can improve your chances by taking responsibility, making good choices, changing your approach for better outcomes, and working hard!
You need to reinterpret the failures and bad experiences as outcomes, as opportunities to learn, grow, and expand beyond your limits. It is all about rethinking them with a positive attitude. Be optimistic because you can and you will achieve results!
Let me suggest you a reinterpretation of what has happened to you, where the permanent, personal, and global becomes transitory, impersonal, and local. I will try to be a little clearer about what I mean.
Replace those permanent statement about yourself with: “I had a bad day and everyone has bad days, but I’m going to pass because I’m doing my best,” “I have failed Maths, but I have passed Social Science, History, and English,” “I drank too much yesterday, so I talked too much, I will limit my alcohol intake significantly from now on.”
In other words, what is permanent and stable becomes a transitory outcome. I am not talking about empty optimism where everything is rosy and we do not accept full responsibility for our mistakes (No excuses. No explanations. No rationalizations). It is about realizing that “no evil can last forever,” and that by changing our mindset, choices, and actions, good outcomes will follow.
Personal statements (“I am very clumsy/silly/stupid,” “I’m a failure,” “I am not good enough for her,” “I don’t have what it takes to succeed,” “I’m a loser and there is no point in studying because it doesn’t make any difference anyway”) are turned into impersonal and external explanations (“I need to study harder and harder and practice my Spanish every day, but I was unlucky in the exam, too,” “I have failed, but I am not a failure. Learning from failures, setbacks, and rejection, and bouncing back, leads to more resilience, growth, and success,” “My relationship is having tough times since my wife lost her job. I need to learn to actively listen and show her that I am paying close attention by providing verbal ― ‘uh’, ‘um’, ‘go on’, etc. ― and non-verbal cues, such as smiling, eye contact, and nodding).
Global adjectives that affect all areas of ourselves (“I always fuck everything up,” “I don’t stand a chance,” “I am a complete and utter failure,” “Why do I always screw things up?”) become specific and particular (“I failed this test because I am not as good at Maths as I would like to be, but I performed well above average on most exams,” “I am having a very difficult time in the office, but my family is happy and they love me. We do not have any mortgages or debt, so we can live very cheaply if we need to,” “I made a fool of myself at the party, but I apologized and they accepted it. I am usually very friendly and quite outgoing.”
Why is it valuable? The reasons are many: You will be happier, have better self-esteem, and be more resilient; this style helps you achieve your goals, improve your ; It gives you the desire and energy to overcome obstacles, to consider these as temporary outcomes. It will help you make better decisions and choices, and build a network of emotional support more effectively.
However, the negative explanatory style is associated with low self-esteem, irritability, depression, anxiety, stress, higher mortality rate, decreased immune system -you are more likely to get ill-, etc.