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I have an acquired disability, have no purpose in life and poor relationships with family and friends - how can I be more positive and think better thoughts?

heart to heart
I was in a motor vehicle accident in October 1999. It has left me disabled in my balance - the result of brain damage. My problem is mostly with my Mother, but with others as well. I find that they are too overbearing and negative. I try not to associate with them, but sometimes it's inevitable. My thoughts are dark as well, which doesn't help matters either. How can I have a more positive attitude and think better thoughts about others? Your articles help somewhat but I need better information about myself and thoughts to make a change.
Wallace's reply
Wallace I want to give you two related pieces of advice. The first is about having an inspirational purpose for your life. The second is how to manage your thought process.

Having an inspirational purpose for your life
Every one of us is born to contribute something meaningful to human society. To achieve this we have within us a creative impulse - if that creative impulse remains unexpressed and unexplored, the natural positive energy we possess, that needs to be directed outward towards serving other people, turns inward and becomes self destructive, manifesting as dark thoughts and a negative outlook.

I realize you have been knocked off your original path in life and are retired early, but it is essential that you find a purpose for your life that you find inspiring and enlivening. This purpose does not necessarily need to generate an income, but it must be something about which you care deeply and which does not stress your disabilities but instead uses the abilities you have. The fantastic technical and other resources available in modern society, allows even quite disabled people to find the means to be creative and fulfill their life's purpose. In addition there is a great deal of work that needs done in the world that does not generate money. This work is particularly suited to the retired. Indeed some of society's most pressing problems can best be solved by people giving their time to causes without expecting or needing an income.

So I want you to ask for guidance within as to your life's purpose. Your life's purpose needn't be something huge indeed it is usually best to start with something quite small and let it grow.

Create a quiet space free from disturbance and filled with peace. Get a large piece of paper, A3 size or bigger, and with colored pens create an attractive mind map about your life's purpose, (see further help and resources below). Do this several times until you are happy with the result. Then when you have finished your mind map hang it on the kitchen wall in your home and share it with people who come to visit.

Ask people that visit for help with your life's purpose. When you do this discriminate in favor of positive supportive people. These conversations will naturally generate opportunities for you to follow up and explore. As you follow up these leads, your life's purpose will begin to become a reality and you will start to make contact with more and more positive people. Some of these people may become your friends. Treat finding and fulfilling your life's purpose as a wonderful adventure in living (which it is) and watch your purpose unfold as if by magic.

Managing your thought process
Every time you have dark negative thoughts replace them with thoughts of your life's purpose. Imagine what it would be like to know your life purpose and to be working to fulfill it. As your purpose becomes clearer, imagine yourself having created whatever it is you wish to create and feel the thrill of having brought such a thing into the world. By continually visiting these feelings in your heart you will shrink your negative thoughts, amplify your positive thoughts and begin to act like a magnet that will draw the help and resources you need to fulfill your life's purpose. By doing this you will be focusing on the positives in your life situation.

I also want you to develop the inner discipline to focus on the positives in your relationships with other people. Draw a distinction in your mind between the person's heart (which is always inclined to good) and their negative behavior (of which they themselves may be quite unaware). Do not let their negative behavior cloud your own heart. Instead see the good in their heart and be grateful for their presence in your life. Then communicate with them while maintaining that sense of open hearted connection. If you do this then you will always do and say the right thing.

What we focus on grows and what we are grateful for comes into being. Therefore every morning when you get up I want you to look in the mirror and say "Today God, I am grateful for another day of life and this day I will focus on my life's purpose and see only the good in the hearts of others" - say it three times. Then in the evening before you go to bed I want you to look into the same mirror and say three times, "Today God, I sought to fulfill my life's purpose and see the only the good in the hearts of others. I ask forgiveness for any negative or destructive thoughts or actions I may have taken and I leave the results of today's actions in your hands." Then immediately go to bed and sleep.

If you follow this advice with a good heart and good intentions then, as your life's purpose unfolds, you will think more positive thoughts and your relationships will all improve. You will have changed your life from the inside out!

Further Help and Resources
If you want help with mind mapping (this is a creative method of visualizing and coordinating your thoughts on paper), I recommend you order The Mind Map Book by Tony and Barry Buzan. In particular look at the section titled Self-Analysis on page 148.

If you want help in listening to and following inner guidance I recommend my book Unfold Your Wings and Watch Life Take Off. In particular look at the section titled Your calling can increase creativity many thousandfold on page 60, which shows how, when I was recovering from a severe mental breakdown - the result of reacting negatively to my own disability - I began thinking positive thoughts by starting a project that raised a large sum of money for refugees in Africa, which was featured on television - I think you will find this story particularly inspiring for your own situation.

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