I thought it was a great idea to see The Shack and the latest episode of This Is Us on the same night. I didn’t think my body was capable of expelling that many tears.

If you know me well, you know I’m not a religious person. I do consider myself to be spiritual. I believe that I am empathetic, and that I am capable of seeing things from others’ perspectives. What I have always had a hard time understanding is how evil can exist in the world. How can someone choose to make a bad decision, without thinking how it affects everyone around them?

How can someone choose to keep a secret, or to commit a crime? Over the past few years, I have learned to let go of the negativity. This change happened when I was doing a lot of self-reflection; I was unemployed, from November 2013 until June 2014. I had a lot of time to think, write and be outside because I couldn’t afford to do much else. I realized that I preferred these moments over many activities that were consuming so much of my life. I still enjoyed being around my friends and family, but my alone time was just my thoughts.

Yes, I still feel anger, and confusion, and dismay at times, but I focus on where I can effect change. I choose to focus on the good in my life with fervor, and to take the path that will be better for those around me. I choose to smile and say hello to random strangers. I choose to find strength within, those who are willing to accept my help, and those that will support me. I choose to spend more time outdoors, because sunshine and fresh air make me feel stronger from within.

I often say that if I had not made this choice to be more positive about what was happening in my life, I could not have survived the last 18 months. We needed that good energy to counteract the evil that was invading Mom’s body, whether in the form of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. She needed good vibes around her, and I didn’t have room for all that baggage that I was carrying around. This baggage wasn’t going to help us, and it wasn’t going to help me become a better person unless I learned to let it go.

I had to learn how to forgive, and not to blame people, or circumstances, or myself for whatever was happening. Whatever your belief system is, you know that there is a reason for what happens, and we just have to have faith in ourselves, and those who are with us that it will work out for us in the long run.

As I said to a friend earlier this week, “We can’t keep the negative out all the time, or try to change them to better people, but we can’t let them get to us either.”

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