It might seem strange to promote a commemorative month on its last day. Originally, I was just going to skip this topic altogether, because personal reflections often find themselves as a part of bluejayblog. I’m touching on the topic of life rebuilding because this is not something we do only in June.
There is no special time of year for something earth-shattering to happen in a person’s life. Nor does someone notice that some major lifestyle changes need to be made, only in June. On the other hand, June can be the time to jump-start a life rebuilding program, even if the motivation starts on the last day of Rebuild Your Life Month.
Earlier this month, I reconnected, on Facebook, with one of my best friends from high school. I think the last time I saw him was in 1972. He was the brother of my only real girlfriend. When all of us were together in public, we were the “Three JJs”. After a very short online chat, I thought about those long ago times of my life. I recalled the various times I needed to rebuild my life.
My first attempts created an obsession over self-help books because friends, family, and clergy only presented cul-de-sacs. I finally figured out that self-help books only work if you find one or two that you actually use. Flitting from one to another, not using the advice, is just an escape. I finally recycled my large self-help library and felt free. I did manage to glean a few helpful practices from a few of the books.
The most helpful advice was to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. This is not the magical thinking woo that we find in pop culture. If we mentally list, each day, the good things we have in our lives, we get a positive attitude adjustment. Good times to do this include first thing in the morning and the last thing to do, just before bedtime. This attitude of gratitude provides a strong backdrop for each day.
Personally, I incorporated this ritual into the part of my mornings for meditation. A person can also do this while doing a regular activity. Sometimes I run through my gratefulness list during workouts. Many people find time during other physical activities.
The other big piece of mental advice is to continually be mindful of how accepting we are. I found out that mere tolerance doesn’t do the trick for me. My life got a major boost when I finally accepted myself for who I am, not what other people wanted me to be. It didn’t take much longer to figure out that when I accept other people for who they are and don’t just tolerate them, my attitude and happiness increases by leaps and bounds.
Part of my problem was wanting other people to conform to my ideals. I finally realized that if I couldn’t force change upon myself, I couldn’t hope to change other people. So, acceptance of life as it comes and other people as they are provides a solid foundation in any life rebuilding program.
Another thing I retained from self-help reading is to write down a list of what you want to “repair” or remedy. Then figure out what you can actually do to fix those problems. It’s important to actually write these things down on paper. Don’t just mentally think about them. Also, don’t just type a list into your computer and file it away. The act of putting ink to paper solidifies the list. Keep that list in a place you’ll see it each day. For the big things, I put Post It Notes on my mirror and at my desk.
As I finally started work on my rebuilding programs, I focused upon one aspect at a time. Trying to do many things at once scattered my attention and energy. Multitasking is a poor strategy for life building. I also found the greatest success comes from tackling the biggest problem first. Nibbling around at the lesser issues, for me, is just another form of procrastination. When I dive in, head first, things get done.
It’s also important to have some moral support. Friends and family are great for this. I make sure not to just “dump” my complaints on them. I listen to their opinions and consider their advice seriously. I come away with more solutions to put into the mix of fixes. This is all carefully weighed and possibly used as I work through the problem. I utilize what I can and take responsibility for the results. Of course, a good friend or partner is just good to have as a fellow traveller.
Talking and thinking about rebuilding life isn’t nearly enough. A person must actually get down to brass tacks and physically do it. If I want to feel better, I need to eat better and have effective workouts. If I need a better social life, I work up the courage, then actually go out and meet people. Whatever needs redoing requires real doing.
We’ve all had to rebuild our lives at times. We can look back and use what helped us to move ahead and we can discard the techniques that don’t work. Once we’ve finished our life rebuilding project, we can step back and enjoy the results of a job, well done.