I have a board on Pinterest that I have called “Words of Wisdom” where I stash all of the quotes that inspire me. It is a treasure trove of ways to lead a life that I can love and be proud of. The only problem is that I pin things to this board and then more often than not forget about them.
I started thinking about this because I had a slew of not so great days where I was down on myself and I could have used some of the advice that was tucked away waiting for me to remember it was there. I finally did remember and reading through the quotes that I had placed there for times such as these I couldn’t help but smile. I felt empowered towards positivity and determined that I wasn’t going to wait to use this board until the next time I was in need. I wanted to find a way to put it to use everyday.
I combed through the board and found great quotes (so many in fact that I got a little overwhelmed by them). I read quotes like, “Fear has two meanings: ‘forget everything and run’ or ‘face everything and rise’” by Zig Ziglar and, “We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are,” by Max Depree. I wanted to find a way to put all of this great advice to use in my life, but there was so much that I didn’t know where to start.
So I started over.
I found the simplest quote I could and determined to try and use that as a guiding principle for the month. The quote is this, “Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn.”* I thought it would be easy to just try smiling each day and see if it made for better days, but boy was I wrong.
The process started out well. When I was stuck inside my head I would force myself to think instead about the way the corners of my mouth were turning and adjust as needed. There were days where this was all that was needed to turn the day around and many more where this wasn’t the case. I began to get discouraged and gave up on my plan altogether.
Then I read the words that I really needed this month.
I was reading the book Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan in which she talks about a very serious illness that took over her body leaving her helpless while doctors searched for an answer as to what was causing her to be so sick. It is a fascinating read if you have the time and the inclination. In the book Susannah recounts a time when her father was visiting her in the hospital and he suggests a motto to keep her spirits up. He asks her “What’s the slope of the line?” A strange question to which Susannah has no answer. Her father answers for her by telling her, “It’s positive…It means we make progress every day.”
There it was, the wisdom I needed. Every day didn’t have to be happy and perfect, it just needed to build on the day before. Maybe that meant that it was a better day, but maybe it just meant that I learned from the struggles of the previous day and worked to not repeat the same things. Progress, that’s what I needed to focus on, not immediate results.
So, once again I come back to the power of the written word. I am the StoryChick after all. If you are struggling, be reading because I firmly believe that the universe will put the right book in your hands just as you need to read what it has to offer.
*I searched for an author of this quote but was unable to find it attributed to anyone.
Cahalan, Susannah. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2013.