Life Changing Mantras That Work

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Positive thoughts are a powerful way to create a positive attitude. How to have positive thinking can seem tricky, but it's absolutely possible and doable.

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Do Thoughts Direct Energy

Positive thinking has long been thought to be a powerful tool in changing one's day and even one's life — for those who believe in "that sort of thing." For some people, the idea of using positive thoughts to create a positive attitude in order to lead to a positive outcome feels a bit ... fuzzy. On VProud there is an amazing video in which Aleta St. James, a world renowned energy healer, makes a compelling case for how thoughts direct energy and therefore create change. And below, mother and writer Kristin Shaw shares an utterly raw and transparent essay of how this worked for her, taking her from a place where she was bent, but not broken, to where she was whole. Kristin's essay absolutely took our breath away. We think it will do the same for you. It may even make you believe in the power of positive thinking or "that sort of thing."

—The VProud Team

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When You Are Bent, But Not Broken

By Kristin Shaw for VProud

She was 19, working as a secretary for a small firm, when her friend asked her if she would be interested in a blind date. Her friend described him as smart, and handsome; a college boy.

"There’s only one thing," she added. "He has only one arm."

The young woman didn’t hesitate. She shrugged and said, “Why not?”

He had lost his arm in an accident, when he was 16. His friend, 18, was driving too fast, and the police were chasing them through rural New Jersey. The cops set up a barrier, forcing the car off the road. The car was going too fast to avoid the collision. 

The vehicle hit one telephone pole, and then another, 150 feet away, injuring the younger teenager badly, and his parents were told that they didn’t know if he would survive the accident.

The driver walked away without a scratch.

The 16 year old, on the other hand, did survive, and awoke with his right arm missing just below the elbow. When his oldest brother raced to his hospital bed from Philadelphia, the teenager was smiling and welcoming. Quiet and reserved by nature, he had been forced to make small talk with visitors from his school, church, and neighborhood, and he rose to the challenge. Everyone wanted to know how he was doing, and he was already changing before their eyes to adapt. 

His mother was afraid that the life she had dreamed of for her son was over. He had planned to follow his brothers into the military and marry and have children like they did. Now, all of that was over.

He is no longer whole, she thought. What if no one falls in love with him? What if he never marries?

But he did marry that woman he met on the blind date. She dated the man with one arm for more than two years when he proposed to her, simply, in his quiet way. They married when she was 22, and he 24, in his Christian Reform church, much to the happiness of his mother. A few years later, their first child was born, a little girl. And then another, three years after that.

Four decades later, his oldest daughter was going through the worst time of her life, in the middle of a divorce. The relationship and the marriage was punctuated by violence and hurtful words and actions, and the light had left her eyes. Still, divorce felt shameful and wrong, and she felt hollow.

No one will ever love me again, she thought.

Her father knew better, but he didn’t say that. Instead, he made arrangements for her to come home and sit, staring into space, as her heart regenerated. He helped her create a budget she could avoid bankruptcy after years of amassing credit card debt on the back of a failing marriage. He and her mother loved her as hard as he could.

They are my parents. They showed me that I was not broken.

* * *

My second husband, the one I have been waiting for all of my life, once told me that there are trees in nature that do not grow or reproduce without fire. Many plant species in wildfire-prone environments require the fires to germinate, establish, or to reproduce. Putting out the natural fires too soon not only eliminates these trees, but also the animals that depend upon them. Not letting them burn can lead to the buildup of dangerous, flammable debris and the creation of less frequent but much larger and more destructive wildfires. When a forest fire flares, the trees in this category not only stand tall, but flourish, spreading their seeds for the next generation.

He tells me this story often, when we are facing difficulties. 

There are many of us standing here, post-forest fire, thriving and growing and reproducing in the ashes of what once was. This is why my father carries no regret for the car crash that took his arm. He sees that it took him on the path to his life now, and to his wife of 48 years and his two daughters. This is why I don’t regret my past with an unhealthy relationship, because it gives me the strength, knowledge, and appreciation to help other women in the same situation and it helps me see the beautiful life I have built since then.

Just because you’re burned doesn’t mean you’re going to turn to ash. It means that you are going to come out of this, whatever it is, with a stronger root system when you’re through. You are bent, not broken.  

Like one of these very special trees after a wildfire, your branches will grow again and you will bloom, and not even in the same direction. Just focus on growing and living.

When I was going through my divorce, I created a mantra:

I will be strong.
I am beautiful.
I will not be bitter.
I will love again.

Every day, I repeated it to myself, until I believed it. When I first started dating my second husband, I was still raw, and tired, and burned. I asked him why he would bother dating me, a woman in the aftermath of a divorce, with so little to offer?

"Because I can see you," he said. "I can see who you are and how much you have inside you. It’s just going to take some time for you to see it, too."

I WANTED to believe it so hard that I made it come true. And when the pain subsided and the tears stopped flowing, my mantra started to inhabit my brain without me having to remember it.

When you are in recovery mode after your own wildfire, create your own set of beliefs: this is your chance to start over. It’s not some kind of new-age hippie thing – it’s training your brain what you want it to know. It’s time to emerge, Phoenix-like, from your ashes, with your own mantra. Own it. 

kristin shaw vproud
Kristin Shaw is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. She is a co-producer of the Listen To Your Mother show in Austin, the Director of Social Media and staff writer for Airport Improvement magazine, and has been published at national sites like The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Brain, Child; and Scary Mommy. Find her at Join Kristin's honest conversations on VProud.

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