Change Negativity to Thankfulness
It Has Been Said...
- The most destructive habit is worry
- The most worthless emotion is self-pity
- The ugliest personality trait is self-centeredness
- The biggest turn-off is complaining
Look at the Bigger Picture
It's not easy to be thankful in the tough times without being able to see life's bigger picture. For those who do not believe that there is a bigger picture, this of course is a moot statement, but as a Christian I strongly believe there is a bigger picture, and I try to keep this in mind when I am overwhelmed with things that just don't seem to make sense.
I worked with a friend who was several years my senior. In her 60s, Lilly had a sharp mind and was determined to work as long as she could. The majority of the time she had a great attitude, which I'm sure helped keep working well into her mid 70s. Though she eventually suffered with a few health problems, Lilly never lost her touch intellectually and was able to continue driving and working a full 8 hours, even when she started needing a walker to get around.
As time went on though, Lilly seemed to take on an almost defeatist philosophy about life. This was so unlike the lady I once knew when she began saying, "Life is hard and then you die." At first everyone laughed good-naturedly along with her, but as time went on Lilly repeated these six words more frequently and more pointedly, and soon she was not laughing. I'm not sure when it happened for her, but eventually I realized that this had become the way she viewed life.
Lilly is a lady that I will always admire. I learned so much from her over the years, yet these words ring a startling truth. Life can be tough! There's just no way around it, but the more my friend kept repeating this negative statement, she became more and more negative in conversation in general. Her negative attitude eventually became so bad that people started trying to avoid her as much as possible. It was a sad situation, but certainly not a surprising one, for no one enjoys being around the glass half empty person who is always worrying or complaining.
Get the Proper Perspective
Life seems more difficult for some than for others, but regardless of who has the hardest time, each one of us have, have had or will have our own set of problems, disappointments, and concerns. Even so, it is important to try to see both the good and the bad in proper perspective, and to never give up hope in that bigger picture.
While the movie, "Grumpy Old Men" might have been funny at times; in reality there is nothing funny or fun about being around grumpy people. Grumpiness and negativity go hand-in-hand, and both can become disastrous habits in a person's life.
Whether focusing on the past, present or the unknown future, grumpiness, irritability or the habit of complaining is not limited to senior citizens. No matter what our age, we all have those moments when we feel we have had all we can take, and we just have to let out a bit of disgruntled steam.
When the unpleasant things of life begin to take control and we start to feel overwhelmed, depressed or out of our control, it is important to try looking at the real source of whatever it is that is bothering us. What we may be surprised to find while looking at our irritations from a different vantage point is that there are healthier ways to deal with life’s unpleasantries.
Consider the Pearl
One way might be to consider that the particular irritation of the moment might even be a blessing in disguise. Take a moment to consider the beauty of a pearl. Just as the sand's irritation in the oyster is an important process that can produce a beautiful and priceless pearl, the possibility is there for us as well to be made stronger and more beautiful through each of life's experiences. This is a truth for all ages, and for as long as we have breath in our bodies.
No, it is not always easy to look back at yesterday’s bumpy rides or at the irritations of today. Still, we may well find that these situations or people who rub us the wrong way and irritate us to no end are the very catalyst needed to help turn us into something priceless, beautiful and of great value.
Though it is certainly not a fix-all, as long as we are not overtaken with bitterness or other forms of negativity, we just might find that as we look at life from the point of view of the pearl, we will be much more likely to live out the rest of our days in joy and thankfulness.