All too often, I blame the weather for my moods. When the sun is up, the day is bright, the temperature is pleasant, and the sky is the bluest of blues, I typically feel happy. When the sun is hiding, the day is dark, the temperature is not so pleasant, and the sky is gray, I typically feel blue.
“Another gloomy day? Really?”
But, the happiest people are the ones who see the bright spot in dark situations. They can spot the flower hidden under the weeds. They can look at an abandoned home and imagine a beautiful castle. Some of us are naturally optimistic, but many of us have to remind ourselves to find beauty in the ashes.
Beauty is Everywhere if We Stop to Look
Is there ever a circumstance where something good cannot be found? Even in some of our deepest grief, we are blessed. Families come together during times of loss. Friends rally around us when our hearts are broken. Communities come together during times of crisis. It isn’t always front and center, but there is always something worth cherishing in each day – gray or bright.
Today has been a gray day so far. Yesterday was too. I wanted to complain, especially when I opened the door to let our dog out and saw the pouring rain. Pouring rain + golden retriever = muddy paws. Not only do I show the depth of my self-focus when I complain about how the weather affects me (farmers everywhere are thankful for the gentle rain!), but choosing to see it through negative lenses puts a dark tint on my entire day. Should a cloudy sky be able to rob me of my joy?
We Will Always be able to Find Beauty or Repulsiveness in the Same Situation
How we view our days probably has more to do with the contents of our heart than the actual circumstance. Rain for a happy person equals the hope of green grass, the excitement of the flowers to come, and maybe even a soggy (but refreshing) run.
The rain does not cause the gloom. The gloom was already there (barring Seasonal Affective Disorder, of course). This is not to say that happy people are not occasionally disappointed when rain ruins their plans, but chronically happy people are typically able to bounce back and find something to be thankful for in the situation.
“The repair guy is coming anywhere between one and four. That totally screws up my entire day!”
“The repair guy is coming anywhere between one and four. That gives me three hours to enjoy that book I never can find the time to read.”
Seeing Beauty is a Choice
While I believe it takes us time and practice to retrain our minds to automatically produce positive thoughts instead of negative ones, I think how we see situations is ultimately a choice. I normally do not stop to consider which reaction I want to have; instead, the reaction which is naturally in my heart is what rises to the surface. However, stopping and realizing my automatic thoughts are generally negative gives me something to work on – and, I can choose to work on renewing my mind or I can continue to see the dark side of each situation.
If I tell myself the truth, verbally, loud enough and long enough, it will eventually find its way to my heart. Soon, the truth will be what automatically rises to the surface and it will show in my reactions.
Do you tend to embrace the beauty in your life or are you drawn to the ugly? Flowers or weeds? Encouraging conversations or gossip? Gentle smiles or eye rolls? Is there beauty in your heart or discontentment? It may be hard to believe, but how we see the world is really up to us, based on the beliefs we hold. (Eric teaches our clients how to evaluate those beliefs and turn them around to focus on the truth.)
Will you and your sweetie retrain your minds to see beauty even in the trying times?