Refine, Not Define – How To Manipulate Negative Experiences To Your Advantage.
No one is immune to negative or unhappy experiences in life. We all have been there, done that.
A negative experience has the power to pull you back, make you unproductive, and take a toll on your emotional and mental well being.
Some people are affected by it in an unproductive way, and some people learn from the experience, and turn it into something productive.
The difference is this – the people who are affected in an unproductive manner are the people who allow the negative experience to define them. On the other hand, the people who are affected in a productive manner are the people who use the negative experience to refine them.
Don’t let a negative experience define you, let it refine you!
So, here are 4 steps on how you can use a negative experience to refine you:
1. Remind yourself that the past is the past – As simple as that may sound, some people cannot let go of the past. Their past becomes their identity. In some cases that identity creates a victim mentality. After years of being a Life Coach, and having coached people from all walks of life, I can put my hand on my heart and say this – nothing disempowers a person more than having a victim mentality. A victim mentality keeps people stuck. Worse still, it has the capacity to repel supportive, caring, and nurturing people. I volunteer at a mental health support centre where I made friends with a trauma counsellor. He taught me an exercise that he gave to his clients. He would ask them to clap their hands and repeat “That was then, this is now”. In other words, if you don’t let go of the past, you will never experience the power of “Now”.
2. Adjust your focus – I am a big believer in the Law Of Polarity. It dictates that for every negative, there is a positive. Some people get stuck in the victim mentality because their attention is focussed on the negatives of that given event or experience. If they were to focus on the positives that came out of that event or experience, they would not get stuck in a victim mentality. Instead, they would be more likely to get empowered. In the immortal words of Tony Robbins “Where focus goes, energy flows”. If you have a negative experience that is holding you back, please make a comprehensive list of everything that will serve you productively (as a result of that experience). Write it down each day and read it aloud for the next 30 days. I can assure you that you will gain empowerment.
3. Learn to recognise your patterns – In an article in Psychology Today, Dr Mark Bandschick said that everyone has got triggers and responses. He goes on to say “Learn to recognise yours”. That is so true! When we learn to recognise our triggers, we are in a better position to take immediate action in order to control the outcome of that trigger. Let’s just say that a person’s relationship with their partner ends up in a bad break up. They are left feeling very dis-heartened, and gripped by negative emotions. A few weeks later, they are getting back on track to get on with their life. Then, while driving, they hear a song on the radio that reminds them of their ex-partner. Now, the negativity starts to creep in, and they get into a disempowered state. The song was the trigger and the disempowered state is the response. When I was doing Life Coaching, I used to ask my clients to create a “Happiness Trigger”. It could be anything that makes you smile as soon as you think about it. Most of my clients chose their children, their pets, or something symbolic to their success. One lady whom I coached had the image of her dog running on the beach. Every time she imagined her dog running on the beach, she would smile from ear to ear. Learn to recognise your negative experience triggers, and learn to stop them by using a happiness trigger.
4. Forgive and thrive – Forgive yourself, forgive the other party (if applicable), and give yourself permission to thrive. Forgiveness is a very powerful tool for anyone’s life. Sometimes we are very quick to forgive others, yet very slow to forgive ourselves. Look in the mirror and say “I give you permission to soar above any negative experience from the past. Your present moment is priceless, and you will make your future a fruitful one”. Forgiveness is a very liberating personality trait. Whenever I deliver speeches at schools on bullying, I will say to the targets of bullying “Forgive the bullies, and you will show them that you choose to be the bigger person, you choose to lead by example, and you choose to focus on things that are positive, productive, and powerful”.
Please use the above mentioned 4 steps to help you break free from anything from the past that may not be letting you be productive and purposeful.
I strongly suggest seeking professional help if you are dealing with serious negative experiences from the past that are holding you back from being your best.
Growth is the best possible outcome for any negative experience”
John C. Maxwell
I hope I have given you a simple insight into doing something productive in order to break free from negative experiences from the past.
Inspiring you towards your excellence,
Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, Personal Development Coach)
PS: I have just launched a series of personal development videos called Welcome To Your Life. Here is Episode 3 (How To Gain More Motivation) –