Monday, May 14, 2012

Always look on the bright side of life....

On a Monday morning, especially a cold winter one after a sleepless night it can be very difficult to spring out of bed in a good mood, ready to embrace the day and all it has to offer.  For some people it's not just cold Monday mornings that this is a challenge, but every day is a battle to find peace, happiness and joy in the moment.  I definitely fall into this camp on occasion and it's important for me to surround myself with reminders - words, phrases, objects - that remind me of 3 things.

1.  Perspective is everything.  It's very easy to see the negative.  To believe in it.  To give in to it.  To look at a hopeless situation and to add our own despair.  It's much harder to step back and look at the bigger picture.  To take a moment to look at the situation or circumstance in the light of the passage of time and ask yourself - in one week, one month, one year will you even remember this?  Sometimes the answer is - yes of course. Life is full of very difficult challenges - illness, death of a loved one, relationship breakdowns, depression.  In these circumstances perspective may not help.  It may not bring a measure of peace or comfort.  But in the everyday of life's happenings - the big deadline you're facing at work, a challenging personality in your life, a difficult boss, general woes of the day - having perspective allows you to take control over the situation.  To push the pause button and step back and ask yourself - how will I feel about this tomorrow/next week/next year?  Will this matter to me?  If the answer is no, then ask yourself - why am I putting so much energy and emotion into it now?

2.  Your attitude is under your control.  We operate on autopilot most of the time.  When life throws us a challenge we respond to it and our first response is usually an emotional one.  Sometimes we live in that automatic response.  We act out of pain, hurt, frustration, and we seemingly stay stuck in the situation or circumstance.  Its a vicious spiral down, and it's very hard to step out of.  If, in these circumstances, we are able to step back and put things in perspective (#1 above) it is possible to realise that our response doesn't have to be the automatic one.  We can choose to act differently.  To respond in a way that brings change.  To focus on the opportunity in the midst of the challenge and to alight our behaviour with that which will bring a change of circumstances.  We can choose not to remain a victim of circumstance, but to be a catalyst for change, and someone who chooses joy and hope.  Is it always easy to do this?  No.... hell no... but it is a choice we have, and realising you have a choice in your behaviour and response is incredibly freeing.

3.  Sometimes life just sucks.  Sometimes things are completely beyond our control.  Things are beyond hard.  We might be facing the impossible.  Realising that sometimes life is just like that is incredibly freeing because it means its temporary.  Life isn't always horrid and horrible.  Just like it isn't always full of joy and hope.  The thing is, life is always moving and changing, and when we realise this, it can help us understand that sometimes we are just in a challenging season... but it's just that - a season.  It will pass and it will change.

I'll leave you with some inspirational words from the 'Now is the time' book I've been reflecting on lately.