On any given day I hear people asking why. “Why can I never catch a break?” “Why do I always feel so low?” “Why does something always happen to put me in a bad mood?” I have been there myself and know the feeling all to well. About a year ago there was hardly a day that went by that I didn’t end the day with a why question myself. I could start the day out in the best of moods, but by the time my day was done that dreaded question loomed overhead. Dragging, not only myself but my loved ones down. It was like a dark gloomy cloud lurked over me, my job, and even my home. I, like so many people, was miserable.
Then a very dear friend of mine showed me another way to look at things. She told me bad things do happen. No one can stop that, but I am in control of how those things effect me. I get to choose how I respond to and feel about my situations and circumstances. At first I thought she was crazy. I mean, if something bad happens, it’s not like I want to jump up and down and celebrate it. It took me awhile to realize that she wasn’t saying to be happy that something unfortunate was going on, or that I should never have any sad or low feelings. She was simply telling me that our feelings and emotions only carry as much weight and power as we give them.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Guatama Buddha
My friend went on to explain that when we experience difficulty it’s okay to acknowledge that; to feel that, but the longer we dwell on it the more power we give that negative emotion. Power to drag us down. Almost everything has a flip side. For every negative there is a positive, if you look close enough. But searching for that positive is a choice everyone must make for themselves.
Not being one to believe everything I hear, I decided to put my friend’s theory to the test. For two weeks I dug DEEP and tried to find the positive in every situation. I won’t lie. It wasn’t easy. However, during those two weeks, not only was I happier and asked why a lot less, but I was more pleasant to be around. My kids noticed, my husband noticed, even my co-workers noticed the difference. I had people who I rarely even spoke to come up and tell me how much happier I appeared. These same people went on to tell me that my happiness was so contagious that they wanted to be around me more because it improved their moods.
My friend was right. Emotions are contagious. If you are happy and positive; those around you become more happy and positive. After an amazing two weeks, I decided a positive lifestyle was so much more pleasant and enjoyable that the negative one I had been living. And I wanted the peace that came with positivity.
This is not a new concept. Looking back in history many people have concluded the same thing. Many call it karma, quoting Nancy Reagan in saying, “I am a big believer that eventually everything comes back to you. You get back what you give out.” However, Nancy Reagan was not the only well known person who tried to bring this idea to the public. Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” I think this aspect of positive living has been the hardest for me. After all it is extremely hard to forgive someone who willfully and knowingly wrongs you or a loved one. Let alone love them. Then one day I found this quote; “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese. I mulled this over for days. One day the obviousness of the statement sank in. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you forget what was said or done. It simply means that you understand that the person who wronged you has yet to grow to the evolved level you have. They are still being defeated by negativity. When I thought about it this way, I no longer felt anger or resentment towards that person. Instead I felt sorry for them. Now I make every effort to show them as much happiness and positivity as I can in hopes that its contagious nature will stick with them and they may grow into a positive being too. Killing them with kindness I guess you could say.
“It is a fact that you project what you are.” – Norman Vincent Peale
How would you want people to describe you? However you choose to answer that question, you are the only person who can make that answer a reality. No one can make you feel ANYTHING without your permission. Be the master of your emotions. Be contagious. After all, we live life; life does not live us.
“There is only one person who could ever make you happy, and that person is you.” – David Burns
Until next time…live positively Wright.