Photo by Jacqueline Munguía on Unsplash
"Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we respond to it."
~ Chuck Swindoll
A tale of two viewpoints
There is a story that is told of two men in the hospital. They were roommates. One man was in a bed far away from the window and the other had a bed that was right beside the window overlooking a beautiful and spacious courtyard. Each day the man by the window would describe all he could see in vivid detail for the other man. He would describe young families enjoying a special day together, giddy couples strolling hand in hand so much in love, beautiful flowers blooming in gorgeous colour, glorious sunrises and breath taking sunsets. The list went on and on. At first the man away from the window really enjoyed these daily descriptions of interesting activity, but it was not long after that he became increasingly jealous and resentful. He did not want to simply HEAR about the flurry of activity outside his window, he wanted to SEE it too.
One night the man by the window started having a medical emergency and begged the other man to call for the nurse. Due to his jealousy, the other man refused and completely ignored the man by the window's desperate pleas. Sadly medical attention came too late, and the man by the window passed away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the man who was far from the window asked to be moved to the bed beside the window. He could hardly wait! He was desperate to experience the incredible activities firsthand, not vicariously through his roommate for once.
Excitedly he lifted himself to get his first glimpse and what he saw left him absolutely speechless. All that could be seen was a brick wall! This story reiterates the importance of a positive attitude and perspective.
Reframe the situation
I am realizing more and more that mindset is everything when it comes to how we view various life scenarios. Whether something is an ordeal or adventure, a steppingstone or stumbling block, often lies within how it is perceived. Sometimes in life we need to reframe a situation to grasp what the true-life lesson is, or to give it a positive spin.
Two people can be experiencing the exact same scenario yet "see" it very differently. One may see it as an amazing opportunity, and the other may see it as a worst-case scenario. We often talk about the glass "half full or empty" illustration, but our attitudes towards life in general are instrumental in how we succeed in life.
When it comes to a marathon, some want to win, and others just want to finish. I tell my students to focus on self improvement and to not compare themselves to others. Their goal should be to be their own competition and focus on being a little better than yesterday when it comes to their goals.
I remember one little guy that I taught would try so hard in class but what he would usually get was C's on his report card. He would get so defeated when he would get his marks back, but one area he really excelled in was Visual Arts. He was a great artist, and I will never forget when he got his first "A." He was in a state of shock! He kept saying "Thank you Mrs. R.!" I said "Don't thank me. You earned it! You did amazing!" He then said "But you don't understand. This is my first A! I can't wait to show my mom!" This was so much more than one mark to him. This became a catalyst for change as he then started to believe in himself more and that affected his whole school experience in a positive way.
See the good
It is so easy to complain. If I am not careful, I can go down this path easily. I must train myself to reframe some of life's frustrations and put a more positive spin on them. It is not always easy to be positive. Sometimes it takes work.
Here are some recent examples in my home that I did the old switch-a-roo on.
I specifically seek out people who have positive mindsets. They keep me grounded and help me get back on track when my attitude needs a change. They are my kind of people. They share their stories of hope and healing. They let you know you are not alone and remind you that usually much of what we stress about doesn't really matter in the end.
Life can be just plain hard. Believe me I have been there. There have been seasons of my life that I thought how can I possibly handle any more pain and heartache? As hard as it was though, I knew that If I kept the faith and believed that I was given this pain for a purpose, I would eventually come out on the other side and that has been the case, time after time.
Staying positive is difficult. It can be an uphill battle when negativity and stress weigh you down, but by reframing the situation and looking for the good in the scenario you are moving forward when the times are tough.
Is your response in certain areas, weighing you down? I know I have needed to reframe many situations lately and it is a very effective and handy life skill to develop. Care to join me? I highly recommend it.
Until next time,
Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Little Lesson Learned: Looking for the positive or learning opportunity in a negative situation can make all the difference in the world.
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