If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I'd want to pass along to others...
Operate from a place of gratitude, positivity and selflessness. There is always something to be grateful for. I look at each experience in life as a chance to learn and grow as a person. I am known for taking a day-old batch of lemons and making a kick-butt pitcher of lemonade to share with everyone around me.
I work hard to find the positive aspects from each experience that life throws my way. In 2004, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and I’ve since learned to appreciate the little things in life. You won’t find me complaining about doing the dishes because the reality is there may be a day when this task proves to be physically difficult for me. I don’t dwell on my diagnosis because I believe that negativity breeds more negativity. I’ve learned to appreciate each day and I never take my health for granted.
I strive to stay positive and to have an “attitude of gratitude”. About five years ago, I met a woman who had just experienced every mother’s worst nightmare when her two-year old son was hit and killed by a car. Just a week after his passing, she said, “I am thankful that I was able to be home with him for those two years of his life”.
In the midst of her deep despair and heartbreak, she was able to find something to be grateful for. I left that day with such a deep respect for this woman and the way she was choosing to cope with her loss. She was remembering the positives and living in gratitude.
Life is like a needlepoint picture. If you are looking at the needlepoint from one angle, you will see a mess of strings and knots. If you change your perspective by flipping the needlepoint over, you will see a beautiful picture. Sometimes we don’t understand the little pieces of string or the knots along the way but we need to have faith that each one has a purpose and will eventually make sense. Life can be full of trials and tribulations but there is purpose in each experience if we stop once in a while to truly reflect and grow.
When I think back on my life, I have found that I am happiest when I step outside of my own world and put someone else first. Our world has become very “me” focused. It takes a conscious effort to break the cycle and to step outside of one’s comfort zone.
I encourage you to offer a smile to a stranger or a hug to a friend, a compliment to someone who looks discouraged or purchase a bag of groceries for a single mom. Each one of us has different strengths and different resources available—no matter where you are in life, you have the ability to extend a hand and help someone whether it is with money or simple kindness.
My advice is to live and practice gratitude daily, see the positives in each experience and reach beyond your own world to make a difference in the life of another person through love and kindness.