In AA, there’s a motto of ‘keeping your side of the street clean,’ which basically means to hold yourself with respect even when someone does something that hurts you. Although I’m not in AA, I have been to meetings to support others and found this motto super relatable – and think you will too.
Everyday, things happen to us that we can choose to take personally. It can be something as small as being bumped into walking down the street, to having a friend or significant other deeply betray you. I can so vividly recall times in past relationships when I’ve been hurt, and then taking it out on others or only focusing on what that person did wrong.
While it may have felt good at the time, what I didn’t realize when I was doing these things was that I was actually making my side of the street dirty – I was being a toxic person and really not improving the situation for myself at all. The thing with life is, we can try to be in control as much as we want, but things like this are going to happen to us regardless. We cannot control the actions of others – but what we can control is our reactions. Always!
Challenge: Clean up your side of the street
This week, start to re-think how you’ll react in situations where you feel hurt or betrayed. Instead of worrying and taking things personally, tell yourself that this too will pass. I know it’s easier said than done, but to keep your side of the street clean, it’s really important to focus on the positive – and what you can control – and not let yourself get wrapped up in negative thoughts.
I’ve found a few things that have helped me stay positive in situations where I’ve been hurt. First off, I’ve been trying to be more mindful – aka living in the present. Yoga always helps me with this, and so does meditation and spending time alone and self-reflecting. I have also been trying to be more kind to myself – self-respect is something all of us can focus more on, and negative self-talk is a definite no-no. Lastly, I’ve been trying to surround myself with people I feel comfortable talking to and sharing my feelings with. Who are the people you always seem to call when you feel sad? These go-to’s are the people who can help pick you back up again when you’re down – and they’ll help keep your street clean.
Cleaning up your side of the street may take a little extra effort, but trust me, you’ll feel so much better once you make a habit of it!
Anyone with me here?