During a month-long experiment to try to become a more positive person a few years ago, I identified lots of things worth being grateful for. I know that when I focus on the good things in my life I tend to have a better attitude, complain less, and be more generous with others.
This is not to say that giving attention to negative circumstances is wrong. In fact, sometimes it’s necessary so that wrong things can be made right again. Like complaining about a pain can cause a loved one to drag you to Urgent Care to address the problem. Or talking to your roommate or spouse about something you want to be different in your home or in your relationship brings up a desire you otherwise would have internalized and grown bitter about if you’d said nothing. Or writing to your senator about an important issue you feel isn’t getting enough attention (if enough constituents agree with you and do the same), may encourage the senator to prioritize it more. Sometimes giving attention to the negative things is just what is needed to make positive change.
But if we get so caught up in the wrong, the irritating, and the painful, we may miss out on some fantastic opportunities: things to celebrate and admire and draw energy from.
That’s why I made a list of those kinds of things (and dug it out, dusted it off, and posted it here)—to give my negative perspective a little balance and to find happiness in the things and circumstances right around me that are a gift in and of themselves:
-coffee with an automatic start
-meeting up with a good friend
-the warm sun
-a king-sized bed
-mint moose tracks ice cream
-the support of family and friends
-our dining table and chairs/bench set
-hooks that can be stuck on walls
-freshly baked chocolate chip cookies
-a cool glass of water
-boots and cardigans
-books that facilitate growth
-driving a car that needs no repairs
-popcorn and m&m’s
-the Instant Pot
-one hour $15 massages
If you could use a little more brightness in your day, look around and within for the brightness that is already there. And when you find it, spread a little of that sunshine to those around you.