By Janeen Ellsworth
Ever experienced a self-fulfilling prophesy?
I have. Happens all the time.
Whatever I'm getting myself ready to go do--whether it's attend a party, have a coffee meeting with a client, or pick the kids up from school--no matter what I expect to happen, that very thing pretty much always happens.
And usually, with my Negative Nelly-prone attitude, that means I definitely have a lousy time at that party, or that I get asked to do more work for less money by that client, or that my kids will be in bad moods and bickering with each other the moment the school bell rings.
Because I expected that to happen.
But recently I've learned that these Negative Nelly expectations can actually be turned upside down! And when they work in the reverse direction, they're extremely powerful!
We can actually choose to take on more of the Positive Pauline kind of expectations instead, anticipating that good things will happen at that party or that meeting. And when we choose to seek out goodness, we discover that good things do result, simply because we've anticipated that they will.
When we shift our perspective, making a deliberate effort to see the good in life, we allow more good energy to flow more freely toward us and, thus, we feel better about being alive.
To consciously seek out the positive in life means it will appear. And it doesn't take long to realize that all that positive stuff has been there, waiting for us, all along.
It may be hard to do at first, and when we initially start this experiment of seeking the good, these instances of goodness may be small and seemingly insignificant. But then they add up, and before you know it, you've got a whole good-vibes train chugging through your life at full speed, all day every day!
The friendly neighborhood cat who emerged from the trees while I was walking to the grocery store last night was one such sweet little gift of good energy. I'd set off on this journey feeling stressed and tired at the end of a long day. I'd forgotten to buy milk earlier and knew we were low on lunch food to pack for the kids today. But as I set out down the street, I looked up at the moon and breathed, reminding myself to look for something good to happen along the way--even if it was just that I'd find milk on sale at the store.
But then this darling kitty came jingling toward me with his little bell around his collar. He was a chatty guy, and had lots to meow about as he approached. I bent down to say hello and scratch his head, and he rubbed against my leg, ever so lovingly. I'm a cat person, so I didn't mind this, but I think he could tell I was open to his advances;) Kitty escorted me all the way down the block; as if he had named himself my own personal feline guardian.
Had I been stuck in my old mindset (Negative Nelly), I would've maybe not even noticed the cat, or I'd have gotten annoyed with it bothering me. But instead, this time, because I was consciously looking for the good on my short journey, I felt lighter and more free to giggle as this sweet little animal gave me all of his attention. It made my trip to the store so much more enjoyable. And I was tickled with delight all over again when that friendly kitty found me on my return trip! Once more, he accompanied me all the way down the street, safely shepherding me to the intersection and chattering the whole way.
This seeking-out-the-good is a cool experiment, and anyone can try it; no matter where you go, no matter who you happen to be spending time with, no matter how much of a Negative Nelly you think you are!
The first step is to notice when you're feeling annoyed about your current circumstance. The second step is to stop and ask yourself, "But is there anything about this situation that's nice or good? Anything at all???"
Maybe your job doesn't pay well, but perhaps you could find a hidden jewel in there, like your flexible schedule or the fact that you have a great boss.
Maybe you're grappling with a rocky friendship that makes you want to pull your hair out, but, when you stop to think about it, that particular friend is always fun to be around?
Or maybe you're unhappy with your appearance for some reason, but when you look in the mirror you can pay yourself a compliment for taking good care of your skin or eating healthily to nourish your body?
When we purposefully seek out the good in our lives, we're always sure to find something positive--although sometimes we may need to strain our eyes a bit to see. And if there's absolutely nothing good about your particular circumstance, then maybe it's time to cut ties and eliminate that toxic energy from your life altogether? It's up to you--you're in control.
But once we can train ourselves to see our circumstances with a little more sunshine and a little less gray sky, we begin to experience more joy and more pleasure.
What parts of your life are you feeling unsatisfied with? What redeeming qualities can you find in these circumstances? Can you name two or three? Five?
Ask yourself these questions every day, and soon you will feel lighter and happier and more at peace with your life. Having undergone this perspective shift, there's no other alternative BUT to feel better about being alive.
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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