(Picture of me from above!)
Today I woke up to a small cold and a very simple phrase flashed through my mind: “Today is not going to be a good day.” Honestly, who wouldn’t think those words after a groggy night’s sleep? But, I have reflected on this reaction I had all day and I realized how easily programmed my mind is for negativity!
I wonder about how easily we all give in to these urges to be cynical. It makes me think, “Do we inadvertently become morosely set about our circumstances? Do we decide before the day or the events in our lives happen there is no happy ending? We desire happiness and security and yet. . . before we can appreciate beauty and see opportunities before us there always seems to be something off about our day.
(Confess! You have felt like this sad clown before)
When it rains, we complain about being wet, our now dirty cars and (in my case) riding bikes with fogged glasses and wet bangs. When it is sunny, we complain about how hot it is and. . . how long it has been since it has rained! Our hair frizzes, our hearts are broken intentionally or unintentionally, the light turns red right before we cross and our favorite series gives us cliffhanger after cliffhanger.
These patterns of negativity go on day after day. There are memes and funny t-shirts lamenting and even praising our decisions to be unhappy. But should it be so?
When I was on my mission in Russia, I went through an incredibly difficult transfer in my last winter. Let me tell you, the sun did not shine. . . for several weeks. It was gray, it hardly snowed, and it was cold. My heart was broken and I really and truly had to fight oncoming depression. I cried a lot, but mostly by myself. I put on a strong face in front of others but any happiness I had was forced.
There came a moment for me though when I knew I had to fight the foggy, lonely, bitter sadness swelling inside me. So I started writing happy notes to myself and sticking them on the mirror for me to see whenever I and my companion Carly came home. I talked about shots of blue I saw when the grey clouds seemed to part . . . just a little. I laughed about funny things like silly billboards, romantic pigeons and skillful, yet dangerous taxi drivers we daily encountered. And, though it was hard, I pulled myself out of my rutt with God’s help.
My problems did not disappear. I still left my area after six weeks, lamented a relationship with a young man who would never love me back and worried about my future. But let me say this. Because I looked for the good things happening in my life I FOUND THEM. I covered my mirror with daily blessings and happy moments and I began to believe they weren’t just part of my I imagination. I truly was a blessed and happy person. It just took awhile for me to see it.
I’ve had to remind myself multiple times in my life the truth Abraham Lincoln once said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
So…. as I left my apartment this morning I made a decision to, despite my mushy brain, long work schedule and clogging throat to find happy moments. So I did.
- I saw a praying mantis right as I got down the stairs!
- I finished putting up my glow in the dark stars all over my room. (Don’t be too jealous. 😉 )
- Though my salad had cucumbers in it, I really enjoyed it and felt good after eating it. (I picked most the cucumbers out when I realized they weren’t just funny tasting hard avocados.)
- I had no fussy customers today.
- My friend helped me buy a really nice dress which makes me feel like a spanish fashionista (Family it is floor length. Don’t be shocked)
- I talked to my Dad on the phone today. I missed him so it made my day.
- There were no long lines at the grocery store! Twice. . . (I forgot I need cash so had to go buy something else.)
- I realized I can bike up my crazy hill to work in only four minutes! Woot! I am strong even when my lungs are having burning spasms.
The list could go on but you get the idea. It takes me only a few moments of reflection to know how wonderful and beautiful my life is. I may not be married, or have children or be traveling the world as I would like. But really, who is to say I wouldn’t find SOMETHING to be negative about even then?
I really love this quote I found by Roy T. Bennett,
Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose Wisely.
I wish you all a fabulous day and glad add this post to my thirty days of self reflection. Life is too short to be mopey! There is a whole world out in front of us waiting to fill our lives with joy, if we are open to it.