We will be talking a lot about the importance of healthy thinking in this blog and future ones because your thought life is where the battles are won (or lost). You can’t control what thoughts come into your mind but you are in complete control of what you dwell on. Your mind works much like an alarm clock in that it will do whatever you set it to do. If you want to get up at 8AM but you set it to go off at 9AM, then guess what? It’s going to go off at 9AM. By nature, I can be a pessimistic thinker but I have learned over the years how to see life’s challenges in a more positive light. How about you? Do you struggle with pessimistic thinking? Do you tend to see the partially filled cup of water as half-empty instead of half-full? One perspective is “I am missing half of my water so where’s the rest of it?” but the other perspective is, “I have a half cup of water to work with and that’s a lot better than nothing.” Both people see the same cup of water but the perspective they adopt changes everything…everything. Here are some things you might want to focus on and be grateful for.
1. You still have a job and a means of supporting yourself and your family. You may not always like your job but at least you have one. You did not come to work to find a pink slip on your desk, your computer access blocked, or someone waiting to escort you out of the building. Someone else did.
2. You were healthy enough to get out of bed and function. If you are sick, it is likely a relatively mild issue that will soon pass. Someone else can’t say that today.
3. You did not get that dreaded phone call in the middle of the night about some tragedy within the family last night. Someone else did.
4. Perhaps your children are not where you want them to be in life but at least they are still here (if one child is not here, most likely you were at least able to have some precious time with him or her). Yes, they could be doing better for themselves but they could also be doing a lot worse. Your children are not just a reflection of you. They have had many other influences in their lives besides your parenting and unfortunately you can’t control all the negative influences around them. Don’t beat yourself up over the things you wish you had done better in their more formative years. You did the best you could with what you knew at that time.
5. Your relationship with your spouse may not be as close as you would like but at least you love each other enough to still be married. What can you do on your end to improve things? You’ll be surprised at the other person’s response when you take the initiative to change things. If you are not married, it is far much better to be single than to be miserably married…like many married couples are.
6. You didn’t wake up wondering if you would eat today. Most likely, your struggle was what (of the many options) you would eat.
7. You woke up to running water, adequate heating/air conditioning, lighting and electricity. Someone else woke up outside…on the cold and hard cement. Worse yet, someone else didn’t wake up at all.
Stay tuned for more things to be grateful for in Half-Empty or Half Full (part 2).