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?”
“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.
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.
Considering possibilities by way of simple blessings.
Discouragement’s real. Crud is a given. But your forest is temporary. Here’s why.
How do we improve? Five insights to grant perspective.
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!