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, he 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 has always stuck with me about how important a positive attitude and perspective is.
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 stepping stone or stumbling block often lies within how we perceive it. 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 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 mostly what he would get was C's. 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.
It is so easy to complain. If I am not careful I find myself going down this path easily and often. I have to train myself to reframe some of life's frustrations and put a more positive spin on them. Here are some recent examples in my home. The laundry basket is always overflowing, but we are blessed to have so many clothes and a washer and dryer that keeps on going! The house needs tidying again, but where would I be if I did not have these amazing people to spend my life with? The bills just keep rolling in and I am so thankful we have good jobs and the ability to pay them! What are we going to have for dinner? Thank God we have food and are actually having dinner. It is so cold outside, but we have a warm and cozy home. You get the idea. Life is good! Often what we have some could only wish for. It is easy to get caught up in negativity, but that only leads to discouragement.
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. Those are the best 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 where negativity and stress weighs you down. Reframing situations to consider what is the good in this scenario or what can be learned from this trial can help us keep moving forward when the times are tough. This quote is very true that says "Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we respond to it." Is your response in certain areas, weighing you down? I know I have been needing 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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