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Life Is Cruel To Us Sometimes, But We Can Choose Not To Be Knocked Down

Life Is Cruel To Us Sometimes, But We Can Choose Not To Be Knocked Down

Life has a habit of throwing us in the rubbish dump sometimes. It can be hard to find our way out and days can feel like a struggle to feel normal again. Feeling knocked down can lead to feelings of apathy, of giving up because you feel beaten down.

But as hard as it feels sometimes, receiving a cruel blow by fate can present us with unique opportunities — opportunities to rebuild our lives and use it as fuel to create a second chance of living life in a new and positive way.

The actor Keanu Reeves has never shied away from his traumatic past. Having gone through dark times in his life, he has openly talked about how the struggles have affected him, how he chose to use these tragic experiences to mold a positive outlook and how it shaped his life. He is a true inspiration for using each setback as a reason to push forward and become a better person.

Prove Yourself Despite Personal Struggles

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    As a young boy, Keanu Reeves grew up without the influence of his father after he left his mother when Keanu was just three years old. Moving from city to city meant Reeves attended several different schools, making it difficult to make friends, all while he struggled hugely with dyslexia.

    While this isn’t an uncommon life situation for many, Reeves has spoken of the challenges he faced leaving school without gaining a diploma. But through determination, he overcame his difficulty of reading and is now an avid reader.

    Struggles from such an early age can influence us to a much greater extent, but we do have the ability to change how we feel and our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves — beliefs that have often been ingrained in us from our early years. We can choose to use them as excuses to struggle our way through life or use them as a torch to guide us onto a better path.

    Recognize the Construction That Comes From Destruction

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      The most tragic part of his life was to start at the age of 23 when his closest friend River Phoenix died of a drug overdose. He spoke of his grief at the loss of such a young, talented person in his life.

      “He was a remarkable human, person, and actor. We got along very well, and I miss him. I think of him often.”

      But it wasn’t long afterward that he met and fell in love with Jennifer Syme  — a whirlwind romance that resulted in Jennifer becoming pregnant shortly after. But with a month of the pregnancy to go, their baby daughter was stillborn, which was something that both found hard to come to terms with. The relationship eventually broke down, and it was a year later that Jennifer was tragically killed in a car accident.

      While we all experience grief at some point in our lives, to have such loss at such a young age would make even the strongest person feel lost and bereaved. But Keanu used his dark experiences to perceive loss as gain, to reconstruct his life and adopt a positive mindset and attitude towards life.

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      Use the Hard Times to Flourish

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        While it’s easy to run and hide when tragedy enters our lives, the key to continuing on your path is to use your experiences — both good and bad — to create a better version of yourself.

        Keanu’s ability to push on led him to become a successful actor starring in huge blockbuster movies. He strived to do what he loved and has shown that adversity doesn’t have to break you — you can come out on the other side.

        Despite becoming a wealthy man, Keanu says his experiences of loss have made him look differently toward money. He is a big giver to charities and often gave away his earnings to the set staff, even when it meant taking cuts to make sure movie budgets were adhered to. His generosity is down to a different way of looking at life with a more humble foresight and sense of gratitude towards the world around him.

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        Going through experiences such as loss, pain, suffering, loneliness, and devastation has a way of showing us the need to appreciate what we have. We have within us the potential to bounce back stronger and more resilient than before. We can learn to be at peace with the beauty that life offers. It’s an opportunity to see that life is short and should be lived to its optimum, an opportunity to becoming our true self and how we can come out a better person on the other side.

        Featured photo credit: wallpapersdsc.net via wallpapersdsc.net

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        Jenny Marchal

        A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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        Last Updated on August 6, 2020

        6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

        6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

        We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

        “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

        Are we speaking the same language?

        My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

        When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

        Am I being lazy?

        When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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        Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

        Early in the relationship:

        “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

        When the relationship is established:

        “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

        It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

        Have I actually got anything to say?

        When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

        A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

        When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

        Am I painting an accurate picture?

        One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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        How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

        Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

        What words am I using?

        It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

        Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

        Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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        Is the map really the territory?

        Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

        A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

        I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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