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Look at the bright side of life

Register • Mar 9, 2014 at 8:20 PM

The secret to life: You can’t control it. You can only control how you deal with it. Ultimately, we are who we want to be. If we want to be miserable, it doesn’t matter how many of our goals we achieve. We’ll be miserable. If we want to be happy, we will be, regardless what life throws at us.

How we view each day, each moment of our life, is what stamps that moment as happy or unpleasant. We can turn a series of events into a lousy day or a good one — that is within our power. Our attitude shapes reality, and our disposition creates self-fulfilling prophecies. A day becomes a bad day when we decide it is.

Our response when things go wrong determines whether those events hold any power over us. Our problems can only devastate us if we permit it.

Feeling overwhelmed? If you think, “I can’t deal with all this” you probably won’t be able to; after all, you just told yourself that you can’t. Instead, remind yourself that your problems are just temporary blips in the grand scheme of your life and tell yourself, “I’m stronger than this. This is not going to beat me” You’ll find you’re stronger than you realized. Because you’re as strong as you want to be.

Negative people have common themes they fall back on when troubles beset them:

•“Here we go again” (If you say so. Even though what’s happening at the moment has no real bearing on past or future problems.)

•“Everything always goes wrong” (Really? Do you have a bed to sleep in, a roof over your head, food in your belly, a friend who will listen to your complaints? Just wondering.)

•“It figures” (Especially to you, since you expect the worst and look for it, just to prove you were correct.)

•“What next?” or “Now what?” (It sure sounds like you’re expecting something bad. Why? It helps to remember that each incident is alone to itself. The jar you dropped on the floor has no connection whatsoever to the flat tire you discovered a few moments later. With all the countless days in a lifetime, there are bound to be a few where several mishaps occur in succession. It’s a chance event, not a conspiracy.)

•“It looks like it’s going to be one of those days” (And you certainly know what they look like, since you dwell on any minor annoyances and disregard the sun shining outside).

Negativity can be fatiguing, not only for those who are wallowing in it, but for those around them. You kind of know what to expect.

Planning a camping trip or picnic? “It’ll probably rain” (Yes, that’s always a possibility — so plan for it.)

Buying tickets for an upcoming concert? “They’ll probably cancel it” (If it is canceled, it’s obviously meant to affect only you, not the hundreds of other concertgoers.)

How’s it going? “Well, nothing bad’s happened yet. So, so far, so good. Of course, the day’s not over yet” (That’s the spirit!)

When things go sour, try turning your problem into a source of strength. Deal with it in a positive way, with strength and optimism, and its ability to distress you has been neutralized.

The worse your problems are, and the more you have to deal with, the more others will take notice. Soon they’ll be praising your indefatigable spirit.

You can draw strength by realizing you can be an example to others. In this way, each problem you face only makes you stronger, not weaker.

No one wants problems. Some seem to have far more than others. But at some point, we all have to deal with them. The way that we do can change our lives for better or worse.

It’s up to us to decide which.

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