Thinking Beyond the Bad to Focus on the Good

Cynthia Herron Encouragement 4 Comments

Thinking Beyond the Bad to Focus on the Good

Can we not get through a week without bad stuff happening?

I don’t know about you, but this thought pops into my head almost weekly. And, maybe, you wonder, too, how do we stay encouraged in a discouraging world? How do we think beyond the bad to focus on the good?’

In my case, I tend to write. Burying myself in my latest work in progress or another creative effort that has to do with writing whether that be blogging, journaling, or newsletter prep, gives me an outlet to work through strong emotion. I find writing cathartic as I try to make sense of the bad.

As a writer, I can’t stick my head in the sand and pretend tough things don’t exist. Ignorance is not bliss. (Click-to-share)

If we’re to write intelligibly, writers must stay in touch, to some degree, with current events. That doesn’t mean we stay chained to the television or social media 24/7. That’s not only unhealthy, it also steals valuable time away from our writing. It’s impossible to be productive when bombarded with non-stop negativity. (And yes—that also applies to other negative forces in our lives, whether those are constant complainers, dream-crushers, or time-management sucks. They are what they are, but they don’t have to dictate our focus.)

For instance, years ago, I befriended a young woman whose children were about our kids’ ages. I’ll call her “Sally.”

You may know Sally or someone like her.

Sally’s the kind of friend who initially seems a little offbeat, maybe somewhat odd. Because of this, Sally’s friendships are few and far between. She even tells you this.

In my case (underdog-lover that I am), Sally caught me during a vulnerable season. Besides writing from home, I’d just given birth to our second child and I breastfed ’round the clock.

During that period, sleep-deprivation was pretty much the norm. If I wore two matching socks, that was a good day. (Hey, it didn’t take much!) Bonus points if I shed my bathrobe and actually dressed.

Sally phoned often. When the baby slept. When I worked. When I read, napped, and showered.

She’d rant about her day, some imagined slight, or why others were against her. Sometimes, she’d rant about ranting.

“Look, Cindy… You don’t understand what it’s like. You like everyone. Don’t you ever get mad? Don’t you ever just want to go on a good rant?”

Well, hmm…

“Sally, maybe it would help to think beyond the bad. You know…focus on the good.”

“Good? What good? The dog puked on the floor, the boys puked on me. Life’s just one big puke.”

She had me there.

I had nothing.

I knew whatever I said, Sally would always see the glass half-empty…or bone-dry. She’d never think beyond the bad because she liked it there.

I blew out a breath. I knew then I had to distance myself from Sally.

I couldn’t “fix” her or change her mind.

I couldn’t make the puke go away.

I couldn’t make her see that at least she had a dog, great kids, or a life worth living. She envisioned every moment a disaster waiting to happen.

Those days are long past now, but that season with Sally taught me something.

We get to choose.

We choose what we allow to penetrate our minds or weaken our resolve. (Click-to-share)

We can’t prevent bad things from happening, but we can re-frame our focus.

We can create lists of positive people/organizations and add those to our Twitter feed.

We can refuse to validate Facebook rants.

We can temporarily unplug as we recharge and seek sunlight.

We can let go of the bad without feeling guilty.

Bad exists.

But so does good.

Let’s give ourselves the freedom to pursue it.





Bad news have you down? Time for a recharge!



Know a glass-half-empty or bone-dry thinker? It’s time to move beyond that.





Revisiting Hope 

Considering possibilities by way of simple blessings.


When You Must Go Through the Forest to See Daylight

Discouragement’s real. Crud is a given. But your forest is temporary. Here’s why.


Five Ways We Can Love Better

How do we improve? Five insights to grant perspective.


Original Image Credit: Jennifer1107/Pixabay




Do you think our culture thrives on bad news?

What’s your secret? How do you tune out the noise to focus on the good?



Here’s to great things ahead!

Much Love and Many Blessings,

Comments 4

  1. Laurie Wood

    Re-framing is such an important skill to learn and yet unless it’s forced on us, many of us don’t have a clue what it even means! Until you’ve been through a life and death crisis or some other trauma, which unfortunately it can sometimes take to get through our thick heads, we major on the minors of our lives. Does our hubby toss socks and underwear *towards* the laundry basket but never get them *in* the laundry basket? Is there shaving foam still left in the sink every morning? Those seem like big deals until someone else’s husband doesn’t come home from a deployment – forever – and yours does. Suddenly, you don’t care where those socks land and there could be a whole can of shaving cream foam decorating the sink. At least, that’s been my experience. Gratitude is the key. There’s always, always someone worse off than you. And there’s always some way your life could be worse than it is right now. So be grateful for what you’ve got, even the days the baby pukes on your sweatshirt and you have to change for the third time today. Because YOU have a baby and there’s thousands of women out there who can’t conceive. Thank you, Cynthia, for a wonderful and encouraging post – as always!

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    Cynthia Herron

    Laurie, delighted you stopped by!

    You nailed it, my friend: “There’s always, always someone worse off than you. And there’s always some way your life could be worse than it is right now. So be grateful for what you’ve got, even the days the baby pukes on your sweatshirt and you have to change for the third time today.” Love this!

    On days I sense a pity party ahead, I focus on the good. Yes, bad stuff happens. Evil upends. It throws us off-kilter and makes us want to scream.

    On the other hand, when we seek the light, however dim it may be, that shifts momentum and unleashes hope. (And like you, I would know a little something about this.)

    Thank you for your well-timed words and for breaking it down in a very real way.

  3. Julia

    Another wonderfully written piece of fresh air. Thank you, Cynthia for the encouragement! I definitely want to be the person that goes BEYOND the bad and lives in the land of GOOD. Good thoughts. Good motives. Good actions. Serving a great big, good God.

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