Does anyone remember the show The Facts of Life? It’s an oldie, and honestly I don’t even remember if it was a goodie. I just remember the theme song and sing it through every crazy time in my life… “you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life.“ 🎶
That is where I am at in life right now. I think most of the time, that’s where we all are. We are constantly caught between the influx of good and bad, and no matter how much that we will it to all be good, it will rarely happen that all of the events and emotions going on in our life are synonymous to one or the other. For me, I have it all going on. The good: my book is coming out, I’ve read a lot of great books lately, we are completing some long awaited projects in the house, it is spring, kids sports are in full-swing, and my family is happy. The bad: currently typing from the ER with Noah that has had a persistent fever for 3 weeks, our house is chaos from the projects, PMSing and annoyed with almost everything, and haven’t had a self-care moment in quite some time. If I am being honest, I think sometimes we focus on one of these things and run with it. Doesn't it seem thought that no matter what good is going on, even if we have a thousand things going well for us, we still seem to dwell on the bad? It is how our brains work. As we focus on that one negative thing, our brains subconsciously start looking for other things that are similar to it. Before long we are caught up in the negative thought patterns that easily drown out the good ones. We don't intentionally look for the bad, but it is almost worse that it is unintentional because then it feels like we have no control over it. But the good news is, we do have the power to change it.
If you are stuck in this pattern of hyper-focusing on the bad things going on in your life, I have something for you to do.
First, find the root of your negativity. For two weeks I have thought that I was in a bad mood because of the house project that we are doing and the mess it is creating. It never occurred to me until I sat and thought about it that the reason I was anxious, frustrated, worried, and sad was because of my kids' health. Someone has constantly been sick in our house, and now Noah hasn't beat whatever is going on with him for 3 weeks. What I really am feeling is helpless and out of control of this situation. So to fix it, I have hyper focused on all that I can control, which is my house.
Second, look for one or two ways to manage your negative feeling. Using my situation as an example, no matter what I focus on, I can't fix the immediate situation. What I can do is manage certain factors and control the things that I can. For me, I got a second opinion for Noah and I am making sure everyone in our house is hydrated and taking extra Vitamin C. It may not change the situation, but it makes me feel better knowing I am controlling what I can to keep us healthy.
Third, practice gratitude. Just like it works with our negative thoughts, when we focus on our positive thoughts, we unknowingly start looking for more positivity. If you know that each morning or night, you are going to force yourself to WRITE three things you are thankful for THAT DAY, you will begin to look for those things as they are happening during your day. Studies show that people that practice gratitude are exponentially happier the longer that they practice it.
Doing these things won't change your circumstances. No matter how much gratitude or problem solving you do, we are still people trying to get through life and that comes with good, bad, hard, easy, and messy situations. We still have to get through them regardless. But when you focus on the good, you will find the good, and when you find the good, you look for more good, and you believe that there is good in your life.
I hope this helps if you are struggling today.
Love you always. RL.