I was asked recently how, in the midst of the struggles of the year, I seem to be “up” most of the time. The observation from someone I work with regularly and have a great deal of interaction was that he observed I do not seem to be pulled down despite a heavy workload and a demanding schedule.
My first reaction as to “how” do you do this, was to say, well part of it is DNA. I came out of the box with a good sense of humour (which I have been guilty of using inappropriately at times) and that really is a gift from God.
So his response to that was, “so you really can’t tell people how to do this then?” Well, no I think there are things we can all do to help ourselves. Understanding of course, that sometimes life is difficult and this response is not meant to be trivial in nature. We all have days when the weight of circumstances are so heavy we struggle to keep going. That’s completely true, so my response is really a formation of thought for consideration, not a “do this and you’ll never struggle”.
There are several studies under way these days, many published in academic journals about individualism in our culture. We see it all around us, and if we’re honest we see it in ourselves at times. Individualism puts ourselves first, sees our needs as primary and dismisses others. It is an extension of the “me generation” putting an even greater emphasis upon the ME.
This individualism (culture) is caustic, for the community is abandoned for personal gain, and that in time breaks down civility amongest us. The wide spread use of social media has only fueled this, and it is driving us to what Dr. Ed Stetzer calls “the age of outrage”. The outrage of the day fuels many people and I really believe that it creates anger and disappointment which only fuels further bad outcomes for themselves.
So if we need to, or want to, create a more positive outcome for ourselves then it seems that we need to move in the opposite direction. Practically I see this as, ceasing our criticism of others, of being the judge of the appearance, behaviour, beliefs of others. If we refuse to join in the outrage, that piling on of anyone who disagrees with us, or joining the rage of others with our voice and therefore fueling outrage in others, then we are going in the opposite direction. We are more likely to be people of peace and encouragement.
In my own life I am not always successful, but I am trying to be more positive, to not only see the good in others but naming it and praising them for it. I am working to appreciate the simple things of life (though I confess to loving the latest of gadgets and technology) so as to bring some balance in my life. Too often life can be hard, or challenging, but if that is what we talk about, or write about, then I think we amplify it in our own life.
We should work to resolve things – yes indeed – we need to work towards change, especially if we see how it impacts others. But the simple repeating of verbal diarrhea does no one good.
If I am seen by this one man as being positive or not easily burdened, it is partially because that’s my makeup but it’s also because I do not like the alternative.
I once read, “pain is inevitable but misery is optional”. It rang true for me. Maybe it does for you too.
To end, what’s three things that you are grateful for? And don’t name the obvious like food or health or family – be more specific and reach our further.
Now tell someone.