The last four great recovery secrets could seem controversial.
I'll start with one chestnut I've repeated over and over throughout the years that makes a lot of sense:
1. Do what you love.
If you're a square peg, trying to fit yourself into a round hole will make you miserable. The ultimate victory any of us could have is to do the things we love instead of doing things to please other people. You get to decide how you want to live your life: that is the beauty of recovery: the ultimate goal is to live life on your own terms.
I'm fond of this Bob Dylan quote:
"What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do."
Indeed, the great thing is that a lack of money doesn't always have to stop us from doing what we love. A simple pleasure can be taking a long walk in a park or talking to a friend on the phone.
(I will devote a SharePost shortly to the topic of finances.)
My recovery took off when I e-mailed the editor of Schizophrenia Digest, now SZ magazine, to pitch my services as a columnist. I've been a contributing editor there for nine years now.
Before this, before I found work as a librarian, I did what I convinced myself I had to do: work in offices where I could rise up to become a corporate superstar. This was an impossible goal I couldn't achieve.
Indeed, when I threw off the shackles of working in an environment where the job had narrowly-defined duties and people jockeyed for power amongst each other, and dared risk finding work in a creative sector, where I could express myself and create new opportunities, I succeeded.
Sometimes, it takes time and effort to find out what you love to do. I suggest you join a MeetUp group in your city or town to connect with people who share a common interest. Try one thing and if it doesn't cheer you try something else.
2. Have empathy for others.
It's entirely possible that those of us who could benefit from adopting this message are oblivious to their need to do so. I wrote a blog entry elsewhere about how insecure people tend to criticize and judge others to make themselves feel better instead of doing the real honest work to build their own confidence through their own efforts to change and grow.
This is my favorite example of empathy:
I have a friend who is a tomato thief. He's too poor to afford food so he steals fruit.
Once I had the audacity to tell him two years ago that "money's tight; I have no money." He didn't smack me upside the head. Instead, he told me that's how it is for everyone and he understood.
How could I, a woman with two jobs and third on the side, complain? God bless "Freddie" for his empathy, because another person would be quick to criticize him for all his sins.