As I find myself doing these three things more, I find myself in such a happier place. I worry less, and enjoy life more. I hope you will find cultivating these mindsets will be helpful to you too.
Being More Thankful for the Little Things
I always try to have a thankful heart and consider my blessings like my son, family, and friends, but lately I’ve been more intentional about it. It started when I wanted to see grace before my meals to remind myself to be thankful for the food I had and then it became being thankful for my job, a hot shower, all my senses, food on the table, clothes to keep me warm and presentable, and safety etc.
So often I go about my day and I don’t stop to think, Wow I’m so lucky to be able to drive and have independence to get myself from point a to point b when there are people who are unable to. When I took the time to be thankful for things like that I realized that I took for granted all these blessings. It really hit home the phrase you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. So many of us don’t realize what we have. Being thankful for the everyday things we are able to do and enjoy allows us to full appreciate what we have and also keep in mind those who are not in the same situation.
There are people in the world who live with debilitating conditions and provide hope and inspiration to others to rise above the obstacles in their lives and carry on, like Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and legs but enjoys life to the fullest (swimming, playing the drums, driving, etc). Nick could’ve easily wallowed in misery and lashed out at others for his circumstances, thinking of all that he would miss out on or be unable to do, but instead he chose to be thankful for his little ‘chicken drumstick’ (as he calls it) he was born with and used it to answer the phone, kick a ball, and as a mini propeller while he swims.
Living a life of thankfulness changes your perspective and allows you to focus on the positive things in your life instead of the negative. If you challenge yourself to try this more often I bet you’ll find you’re more content with what you have.
Look at Situations and People from Multiple Perspectives (Giving the Benefit of the Doubt)
Lately we’ve had to live with a lot of disappointment: people who said they’d get back to us and never did, people we expected to be excited for us with changes in our lives but haven’t expressed interest, and people who have made assumptions based on incorrect information and caused added stress.
In each of these situations it can be easy to be bitter and fall into a negative attitude. You start mumbling about why they did this or that, remembering other times they let you down, and soon any positive thoughts about them have faded away and you’re left withered with bitterness and your happiness sucked dry.
Not this time! We thought about the situations from multiple perspectives and focused on giving them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they don’t know the answer yet and they’re waiting to call us. Maybe they don’t know what to say. Maybe they are trying to protect their client. These types of thoughts open up your heart to positive thoughts and compassion towards other people. When we mulled on these thoughts we found ourselves more a peace and able to let the frustration go. Let’s see what happens. It’s going to be okay.
And it was. We eventually heard back and it was good news. The people expressed some interest and we found other people to share our joy. The person who made assumptions frustrated more than just us and in the end we think the end result was best for all involved.
When there’s so much unknown, it can be easy to get worried and frustrated, but if you challenge yourself to think positive and give people the benefit of the doubt, hopefully you’ll find you can let it go and move on easier.
Don’t Compare Yourself and Your Life to Others
How many of us look at people’s Facebook feeds and think, I wish I did that? Often we look at the lives of others and maybe we notice things we wish were better in our own. Maybe you don’t work the average 9-5 job and people just don’t understand or take you seriously. Maybe you do things like the mainstream: live off the grid, dress unusual, have a unique hobby, or just feel lot and wish you had it together.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to be like everyone else. The way I see it, we’re all unique for a reason. We’re all a unique puzzle piece with our own shape and colorful image that fits into the greater picture, even if we don’t know what that picture is. So maybe you don’t know where you fit yet. That’s okay. You will. We each have something to contribute and help to make the world a better place. If we use the puzzle piece example: we’re each unique but we still need to fit into the overall picture and we connect with others to do that in order to feel like we belong and have a more positive self worth. If we don’t, we’re like a puzzle piece that belongs with another picture and puzzle completely, and that can be quite lonely. So there’s a balance between expressing your uniqueness and fitting in.
Our uniqueness is where we all shine and we’re even more beautiful when we shine together (not comparing ourselves to one another).
If we work on changing our perspectives, maybe we’ll find a treasure trove of happiness we didn’t know existed.