Hardly a day goes by that I don’t speak with someone who is trying to figure out how to make it through the day. Now, keep in mind, most of them are exaggerating when they say they don’t know how they’re going to make it. What they really mean is that they are tired – mentally, physically or emotionally, or some mix of all three. Maybe they legitimately need a break, or maybe they just need to take a minute to see some of the positive side of their life. Some of the folks I talk to seem bound and determined to see the negative side of everything even though their average day is full of blessings. Given that happenstance, I thought I’d take a minute to focus on the meaning of a few things that can help us all see the brighter side of each day. The question I asked, to select these things was, “What do you live with?” I mean each day, day in and day out. What’s good in your day?
Many times when I talk with someone and ask them about their faith in something – religious, spiritual or otherwise – they will unequivocally state that they have no faith. What usually results immediately thereafter is a back and forth where I lead them into the realization that they have faith in an awful lot and they just don’t realize it. I wrote about that type of back and forth in this blog. We all have faith; it’s just a matter of what we have faith in, whether or not we realize we have that faith and what positive energy we can attain by recognizing our faith.
Something else I often hear is someone saying, “You just can’t trust anyone,” or, “I never know who to trust.” This isn’t something I often hear from people who are… say 40 years old or older. It’s something I tend to hear from the younger generation. The observation I’ve made is that quite often that generation is either entirely too trusting of everyone and end up getting burned a lot, or they are almost entirely distrustful of everyone and end up feeling quite alone as a result. The middle ground has to be found. I’ve previously written about how much you should trust some people and what you should trust them with. The thing to realize is that if you have anyone in your life that you feel you can trust 100% with everything, free of judgment and confident in their ability/willingness to support you with their friendship or care, then you are blessed. There actually are people in the world who don’t have anyone like that in their life every day.
I can’t begin to count the people who I’ve heard say, “I have no hope.” Hope of what? Do you actually stop and realize what you do every day that demonstrates how much hope you carry around? Do you realize you can increase how much hope you have and start making the things you hope for change from dreams to goals to realities? As I write this entry, it was almost exactly a year ago that I wrote a blog called Expansive Outlooks. It focused on realizing how much positive actually exists in your day and how to leverage it into an ever growing energy that fills you. If you fall asleep each night sure that you’ll wake up in the morning, that is the simplest expressed form of hope. But there is so much more. Embrace it.
Too many people start each day unsure of what they will accomplish, and sometimes even wondering if they’ll make it through their day. Others walk into a room and worry what others will think of them; if they’ll fit in; if they’ll be liked. Both of these circumstances can be changed with one thing: confidence in yourself. Self-confidence should never require input from others. Other reassure you that your confidence is well placed. They validate the feeling you already hold. Confidence is getting up glad to be alive and knowing how many of your goals you’ll attain in that day, also aware that if you fail to attain the goals this time, you’ll try again tomorrow. Confidence is walking into a room not worrying about whether or not you’ll be liked, but knowing you’ll be just fine if you’re not.
Love exists in some many ways and it’s demonstrated all around us. Unfortunately, if we’re not the target of it, we can often feel unloved. The reality is that love can be expressed in more ways than we can count, but we have to open ourselves to it. Once open to it, when we find it or it finds us, it needs to be nurtured, cared for, focused on, given time and effort. I’ve spoken to many couples who have been married 50+ years and when I’ve asked them what the secret is the most common answer is, “Hard work.” They explain that long term love of another takes an investment of time and emotional energy. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it. Love can be found where you grow it.
I’m sure that some people are tired of hearing this from me, but I’m not old. I will never be old. This has nothing to do with me being a Leap Year baby and only having had 13 birthdays (so far), but is all about this outlook: We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. If you want to keep a positive outlook, a young attitude and a confident, happy, positive daily life then you have to focus on all that’s ahead of you. It’s vital to understand and accept this reality: it won’t be easy. Life likes to throw surprises, challenges, obstacles and more at us. Every one of those things can be viewed one of two ways: they can be seen as something that slows us down or prevents us from attaining a goal OR they can be viewed as the parts of our life that we grew through; that made us stronger and more prepared for the next time life tries to knock us down. That “refuse to quit” mentality is what makes a warrior strong and, ultimately, invincible. You cannot beat a man who simply never quits. Be a warrior.
I wish there was some simple and easy to remember acronym for those six things. Unfortunately, all of the easy to remember – or so often heard – acronyms mean negative things. SNAFU. TARFU. FUBAR. BOHICA… and so many more. Forget them, or just laugh when you hear them. Nothing is ever perfect but there is beauty in the imperfections if you just have the right outlook. You have to look past the immediate challenge or distraction and see the beauty in the foundation; find the hidden meaning or gift; learn a lesson and see the value in that. When you’re having a rough day and can’t find something to feel good about, stop and ask yourself this question: In my day, at this moment, am I blessed with faith? Trust? Hope? Confidence? Love? If not, check your attitude. An adjustment might be necessary and with it you might see those other blessings.