Personally I’ve never been one to adopt a positive outlook when things go wrong. In my life, things tend to go wrong more than they go right. This time last year I was struggling. I was caught in some toxic friendships, a toxic situation with a guy, my best friend wasn’t returning my messages because she had stopped taking her anti-depressants, my grandmother was succumbing after a 3-year battle with stage 4 lung cancer, and my younger brother had attempted to commit suicide twice, was addicted to several narcotics and had premature dependencies on alcohol and marijuana. A lot of adult scenarios were thrown at me, someone who had just entered the adult realm and I wasn’t ready. My grades suffered, I lost weight, I lost my hair and I lost my sense of self. I had no true friends. I had no one to turn to and for once in my life, my mother needed a shoulder to cry on more than I did, which scared me. It’s very scary to see your strong, heroic mother bent over sobbing on the bathroom floor. I guess everyone has their kryptonite.

I usually take on a cynical approach to life. My daily statements always had an underlying tone of pessimism. I just so happened to pick up a self-help book, in the name of being cliche, but it made me feel better to read something that could progress/improve my life. Best decision I had made all year. Stephen R. Covey writes in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that there are always going to be things in life we aren’t in control of, called pre-determined aspects. Genetic determinism (how we look), psychic determinism (our upbringing), environmental determinism (the people around us). These create stimuli in our life. We don’t determine the stimuli in our life, but we control our response to them. Nobody can tell us how to react to situations.

Here I was in a downward spiral, feeling so out of control and vulnerable when I realized I controlled everything from here on out. And I always will. There will be so many obstacles in my life and if I were to let each hardship determine who I am, that would be giving dominion of myself over to my fears. Fears are immobilizing. Self-control and optimism were my saviors. Highly encourage the reading of this book.

– Anonymous