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Life Upside Down

Have you ever opened your eyes to a new day and thought, “Life feels upside down?”

Maybe someone said something to shake you up, hurt your feelings, or even hated you for whatever reason? Perhaps someone you trusted even disclosed your personal conversation to others. There are some days that will not turn out the way that you expect. How can you save the day before it falls into the depths of ruin?

First things first. You cannot control the actions, thoughts, or words of others. They can say what they please. After all, we have freedom of speech and that is for all of us to share, for better or for worse. You must focus on the “for better,” even if the “for worse” is grabbing a hold of you.

I have done some sparring in martial arts. I am certainly no competitor or champion, but I know what it feels like when a fist or foot comes your way. How can you defend one when the other is already on its way? There is no easy defense. Sometimes, you have to give up one hit for another, or make your own aggressive attack. Defense is not everything, but it is important; more importantly, perhaps, than hitting back.

The world is full of all kinds of people. Some will like what you do or have to say, and others won’t. Not every battle is worth fighting. To keep peace, you might step back, even if in your heart you know it is an unfair battle. This is life, but that does not mean that you cannot still always strive to be the person you are meant to be. In some respects you are being responsible and using your gifts and talents as they should be used.

I started writing professionally years ago to share messages of positivity and martial arts with the world. It has been an excellent endeavor so far! I cannot image life any differently. I was born with words pouring out of me. I found that using martial arts and positivity together creates a better world for all of us. There is no hidden agenda. I simply want to share something good with a world that is often very negative.

Like you, I am not happy every single day, and not everything is wonderful. We all have bills to pay, illnesses with which to contend, and worries that creep in. Keeping positive through it all is important, otherwise it can impinge on your mindset, dreams, and goals. You have control of your own emotions, and of how you wish to see the world, no matter what uncontrollable scenarios happen around you.

If you are negative, chances are that you are hurting yourself and others. You disrupt your family life, your dreams, and your desires, and the lives of others. You thwart your own efforts for success. Even more, you turn your own life upside down and feel like despair is the only emotional escape.

Positivity gives you the very boost that you need when you are feeling your lowest. The weight of the world on your shoulders is sometimes the worst discomfort that you could ever feel. You must remember that no one can control your destiny or your emotions other than you, and that is empowering.

No matter where life leads you, rest assured that you will find the right direction. Just as that opponent in martial arts stands in your way with fists and feet ready, you don’t have to give in order to gain control, but you can fight back more methodically than just throwing fists and feet back at him or her.

Manipulate your mindset to one of a champion, and recognize that there is more than one way to win. There is more than one perspective to everything. Another’s perspective does not have to be your perspective.

That moment in martial arts class when you are thrown during a one-step type routine feels similar to life turned upside down. For a moment, you are out of control, falling, cascading, and wondering what has happened. In life, every curve ball thrown your way reveals these same feelings. When others push back against you, it is all part of the life process.

If martial arts have taught me anything, it is that I have a long way to go! Being a black belt has nothing to do with the belt wrapped around my waist. In fact, I could be writing these same motivational posts if I were a white belt. It is about life experiences and how you apply them to your martial art, and vice versa.

The martial art mindset is as personal as your eye color and your skin tone. It cannot be duplicated anywhere else. Consider it a gift and carry it with you in your back pocket at all times.

When life seems upside down, do not get discouraged. Consider it a challenge and another way to apply your martial art concept, faith, or positivity to life. Keep on pushing through and you will be able to follow your mission. Whether you concede or fight back against the negative forces does not matter as long as you stay true to who you are.

You are a brave and empowered person. You can accomplish your hopes and dreams. There will be setbacks, upsets and difficulties along the way. If life turns upside down every now and again, give it time to settle. Do not act irrationally or with emotions. Face the facts and take a stance one way or another once things have settled. In that martial art routine, where you fall after being thrown, there is only a very brief moment of uncertainty, until you roll and land on your feet again.

Being upside down does not last for long.




My book, The Martial Arts Woman, is now available. Purchase through my e-commerce store: or on Amazon:

This book shares the stories and insights of more than twenty-five women in the martial arts, and how they apply martial arts to their lives.

Unlike most other martial art books, the reader will catch a glimpse into the brave and empowered woman who dares to be all that she can be. Many of these women had to overcome great societal or personal challenges to break into the men’s world of martial arts. This book will motivate and inspire you to go after your goals in life and to fight through every challenge and defeat every obstacle. The Martial Arts Woman will open your eyes to the power of the human spirit and the martial art mindset that dwells in each of us!
Andrea F. Harkins is a writer, motivator, life coach, martial artist, and public speaker. Her book, The Martial Arts Woman, is now available at



7 thoughts on “Life Upside Down

  1. Hi Andrea, your title stopped me in my tracks today! I said those words earlier my life is upside down… thank you for the positivity it’s so needed right now. Anyone going through a difficult time should read your post. Your blog is uplifting & very encouraging. Thank you,

  2. This article very much touches the mind of the Karateka.Allow yourself to feel what you feel,but keep in mind your words have a strong impact,both positive and negative. Use words to motivate and inspire.Yes at times it is very hard to do,but so is mastering the Art that you train.And thats why it takes a lifetime before you even come close to mastering it.Stay on the PATH even when the PATH is HARD to walk

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