Guest post by Brooke
As everyone who has ever read the Grateful Life knows, Trish is… hokey. This is not an insult or an accusation, but it is how Trish describes herself, and it is true. She asks her readers to “manifest” their dreams. To make dream boards. To try to make others’ spirits feel big rather than small. She talks of a greater good, self-love, and the power of the universe. Eye Roll.
I adore Trish – she has become one of my best friends and I am honored to call her one of my bridesmaids for my wedding in May. I read GL religiously. But come on. This stuff all sounds so hippie-dippy to me. Trish's co-workers, family, and friends - myself included - love to tease her for her new age-y outlook on life, and thankfully, she always takes it with a smile.
But every once in awhile, while Trish and I are hashing out our thoughts on one situation or another, she will get a glint in her eye, smile, shake her finger at me, and say “See! You are just as hokey as I am!” And she’s right. One of the reasons we get along so well is we both see life generally the same way – we just have different ways of describing it.
Here are some of my core beliefs:
1. I believe that people are generally good – or that most of us truly try to be, for the sake of our own consciences. (How many lost iPhones and wallets have I had returned to me by good Samaritans? Too many to admit here without embarrassing myself.)
2. I believe we make our own luck. I believe I have gotten where I am in life not just because of the hand I have been dealt, but more importantly because of my positive outlook and the way I handle what life throws at me. There is no one out there who can affect my life more than I can.
3. I believe confidence and optimism are the keys to getting ahead in life. There are very few successful people who say that they doubted that they would be successful or that they had the talent to get them there. No good ever came from thinking negatively, but a whole lotta good can come from thinking positively.
4. I believe that we cause most of our own conflicts. While there are obviously times that something bad happens to us out of our own control, I find that most often, I did something to cause my own bad situation, or reacted in a way that only made the situation worse. I believe that holding grudges is a bad practice (preach it, Kim W.), when most people are out there just trying their best. No one is perfect, and holding a grudge has never made anyone feel better. Your own life is a lot better when you learn to let go, and forgive.
5. I believe that everything happens for a reason – or rather, that it is what has happened in the past that leads to what is happening in the present and what will happen in the future. Cause and effect. I believe that we should learn from the past to make better, smarter choices for the future. Do you ever have any regrets in life that you wish you could go back and change? Even if it would change everything about your life today? I don't. It is exactly those missed chances that led to the life I am living today.
That all sounds pretty non-hokey to me. But really, aren’t I just saying that I believe in manifesting one’s dreams? That self-love has gotten me where I am today? That there is indeed a greater good, and that we should forgive others, as we are all just trying our best? Whoa. Hold me back before I go make myself a dream board!
Here is something I haven't yet admitted to Trish - ever since she asked me if I want to make someone's spirit feel big, or feel small - I have been doing just that. I can be a pretty sarcastic person, and have been known to make a joke or two that accidentally hurt someone's feelings. But lately, when I have been about to make a comment like that, I ask myself, will this joke make this person's spirit feel big? Or will it make it feel small? And if I decide it might make their "spirit" feel small, I don't say it. Even though sometimes I might find some of Trish's language hokey, it turns out she is giving some very practical advice that even a realist like me can learn from.