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What to Do When You're the Source of Your Own Problems

Below are a few steps on how to handle life when you realize that it's not Murphy's Law, other people, acts of God, the weather or any other outside factor that is ruining your life. It's you. Now cheer up. Everything will (eventually) be okay.
08/17/2015 10:27am ET | Updated August 17, 2016
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There are many times that you can point the finger and blame others for the crappy situations that you stumble upon in life. It was your boss's fault for not mentoring you, which led to you not getting that promotion. It's your friend's fault that they're so flirty and hogging all of the attention when at a bar. It's your mom's fault for cutting you off financially before she taught you how to balance a checkbook.

However, there comes a point in your life when you realize and internalize that maybe just maybe the world isn't against you and maybe just maybe you're the catalyst to all that is going wrong in your world. In the 13 months while at your employer, did you ever think to get involved in the firm outside of your assigned "work" and truly network to meet potential mentors? Over the numerous, repetitive weekends of going out and coming up empty, did you ever think that maybe your friend is whole-heartedly putting themselves out there in order to meet new people and you're just the sourpuss wing (wo)man? Over the years, did you ever think that maybe your parents don't mind helping you out from time to time, but when transferring money to you started feeling like a monthly bill they began to wonder if they raised an adult or an adult-child?

Below are a few steps on how to handle life when you realize that it's not Murphy's Law, other people, acts of God, the weather or any other outside factor that is ruining your life. It's you. Now cheer up. Everything will (eventually) be okay.

Step 1: Throw yourself one last pity party.

Most things aren't fair. The fact that your hair frizzes even when it's sunny or that you genuinely have a gluten allergy when your favorite food group is bread or that your body says you're 5'2" when you feel 6'3" - it's all just not fair. Wallow in this self-pity. Immerse yourself in it (for no more than 24 hours) then start the process of letting these feelings go.

Step 2: Purge.

Make a list of all that is wrong with you and your life... your Job, your romantic life, your finances, your disgusting roommate, your "Instagram friends" and their better lives, your upcoming exams, your growing pile of parking tickets, the procrastination that used to be a harmless character trait and now defines how you function in life. Write down anything and everything negative that has happened to you recently.

Step 3: Sing along to Disney's "Let It Go"

Now. I know many of you will scoff and find me ridiculous, but as annoying as this song is, it's also empowering and uplifting and most of all therapeutic. Just trust me. Singing this song at the top of your lungs will complete the purging process. However, if you're vehemently against this Disney tune, other acceptable substitutes are: Hakuna Matata, Shake It Off, Don't You Worry Child, Run the World, Blessings, or any song that instantly lifts your spirits.

Step 4: Change your face, change your attitude.

There is one thing in life that you can always control - your attitude and how you handle life's 'surprises'. You have to consciously wake up and decide that today will be better than yesterday. Whether you truly believe this or have to force this mindset every day, you need to reevaluate your perspective and how you approach situations so that you can focus on the bigger picture instead of the trivial.

Step 5: Develop Action Steps and Be Purposeful

Review your purging list and identify aspects of each negative situation that you can change. Make this list actionable. Identify key networking events to attend at work, try initiating conversation with a stranger to see where it leads, invest in getting a parking spot, review your bank statements and identify the unnecessary discretionary spending, etc. No matter what is on your list, in every situation there is something that is in your control that you can change. Even if all you can do is "grin and bear it" for now, at least you're changing your disposition and that is a step in the right direction.

You are now the owner of two very personal lists -- a list of problems and a list of solutions. It's up to you to decide which list will start occupying more of your time. If you're tired of your tomorrows replicating your yesterdays, you'll start to develop your action steps and applying them to your daily life.