In this blog, I talk a lot about the negative facets of my childhood, and how they’ve pushed me to fight for a life and a Sonia that I can respect and enjoy. Because I believe there is always a positive way to look at things, always a way to make a little sweet juice from a lot of rotten fruit, today I want to focus on all of the positives in my childhood negatives. With this, I hope to help you channel your inner positivity guru so that you can think through how some of your life’s negatives are actually crawling with positive goodness.
Finding ways to be more grateful in general, especially for things that are not so shiny upon first glance, is one of my proven paths to feeling happier on a daily basis. Plus, the more you practice looking at things positively and pulling strength from negative situations, the more you build up your ability to deal with problems and bad days quicker and more effectively. I don’t know about you, but anything I can do to feel joyous corn more often than I feel down, sounds like a good plan to me! Here’s a few ways I’ve turned childhood noise into adult shine.
Parental noise = Kick-ass fighter attitude
Sure I have daddy issues out the wazoo, and sure he’s not my favorite person in the world, but it is because of him that I have become such a fighter and life enthusiast. It is because of him that I work so hard and stay so focused on chasing and protecting my HAPPY with everything I’ve got. It’s why I strive to be a good person in every situation, and always ensure people know my word counts for something. And it is why I am dedicated to helping motivate other people towards a better life.
Plus, although his methods were not exactly material for a parenting magazine, and they definitely made life as a child and teenager pretty hard, I am grateful that he was so strict. I think it always kept me on the right track, and now, even as grown woman, I still savor and cherish my freedom every single day. And finally, although my relationship with him could use some major TLC, I have one hell of a mother. A lot of people don’t have solid relationships with or support from either parent, and I can appreciate how lucky I am to have her despite the imperfections.
Additionally, my parents live a very sheltered life. They don’t drink, or go out, or keep friendships, really. Growing up, my father believed that as long as your basic needs were met, you should be happy, and anything else was just asking for too much out of life – boooooring. This was always troubling to me as a kid who just wanted to learn, explore and grow. So I’ve made it one of my life’s missions to seek out experiences, keep close relationships, have a lot of fun, and learn, learn, learn.
Finally, life was also very controlled growing up, and now having control over my own life, where I live, how I spend my time, how and where I choose to be spiritual, and how I run my life overall, is exhilarating. And don’t you think that just because I’m 28 and living over a thousand miles away from home, that the attempt to control my life has changed. The difference is now I am not afraid to stand up for myself. My childhood taught me the importance of really living life and living it my way, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Poverty noise = Drive, Humility and Appreciation
Let’s be real. Growing up poor sucked. Hell, it still sucks, because even though I’ve moved myself out of poverty, I still deal with its backwash in many ways. For example, I’ve lived in Chicago for nearly three years and I’ve never been visited by my parents or my little sister mostly because of money. Even when I graduated from business school last year, no one came, and those kinds of things hurt.
I always have to be the one to make the trips to Miami, during which I always have to spend a lot of money, because everything’s on me. Every year, I help fund birthdays and Christmas for my little sister, and although I’m more than happy to do it for her, that kind of responsibility is hard when you’re just trying to make it yourself and managing a pretty penny in debt. From a very young age, it’s been me, and that’s it. I’ve always had to help myself, because there’s never been anyone to help me. I’ve always known that if I screw up, there’s nowhere to turn.
On the bright side (you know how I love to find it), I believe it is all of this that has made me such an incredibly driven and proactive person with quite the hustler spirit (the good kind of course). It is because of my poverty noise that I am always striving for better, and I’m never afraid to work just a little bit harder. It is also because of my poverty noise that I can still appreciate every single little luxury and even the smallest step of progress I experience. It is because of this that I cherish my education even if I will be paying it off forever! I know how easily I could have ended up on another path, and I’m certain it was worth every penny.
My point is that there is no need to wallow in childhood noise and sorrow your entire life. If your childhood wasn’t the best, why would you want to drag that into adulthood? It’s time to take a good look at how you grew up, the good (there is always a little good to consider) and the bad. Then use the bad to propel you to build a better life for yourself, do it differently and break the chain. Take those negatives and use them to make you stronger and strive for better. Don’t use them as an excuse to live an unhappy life or treat others unfairly. By doing that, you only hurt yourself and the ones you love. Don’t you want to create new patterns you can be proud of?
Sonia, Word Share Junkie