Wednesday, November 23, 2011

LLL: It's Easier To Be Thankful When You Focus on the Good...

"Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results." ~Willie Nelson

Livin', Lovin', Life.... Choose to look at the good!

Last week I conducted software training  for a group of reps who was required to begin using the new program within the next week. There were a couple individuals who continually complained about what the program couldn't do instead of focusing on what it could. The problem with this is that looking at the negative was preventing them from learning what they needed to know to do their job successfully.

As I was flying home from the training, I began to draw comparisons between the reps' mindsets and life in general. How often do I focus on what I don't have, instead of what I do have? When has my negativity gotten in the way of my being appreciative of the blessings life has given me? When do I hone in on the idiosyncrasies of an individual instead of highlighting his/her goodness? When I focus on the negatives I find myself being more negative, but when I put my eyes on the positives I am uplifted and energized.

In my mind's typical fashion, it moved from generalities to specifics... losing Austin... and was reminded once again how blessed I have been. I know I've blogged about this before, but I think about it often - while grieving for Austin, I have been able to see the goodness of this world. All I have to do is look around and be thankful for my friends (including the friends Austin left me), husband, sons, parents, and siblings. I have a beautiful home, loving support, food on the table, a warm bed, and lots of extras. I have more than I need, both physically and emotionally. I am truly fortunate and blessed!

My thoughts continued drifting with more thoughts of Austin. One thing that made him so "likable" was his ability to enjoy what he had. Sure, he was always wanting another toy or gadget, but he also thankful for the little things in life. Whether it was an old beat-up pick-up truck, or a newer Subaru he was driving, he was proud of them. He was content with his worn out sneakers. In fact, I had to force him to let us buy him a new pair of shoes and throw his stinky, holey ones away. Did he ever get frustrated with different situations? Absolutely! But then he'd regroup and figure out what he could do to either accept or change what he didn't like. He didn't focus on what he couldn't do, but chose to take action on what he could do.

A few blogs ago I discussed the importance of embracing who we were made to be. But, I truly believe that needs to be taken one step further. We must also accept others for who they were made to be, even if they are different than us! Does it mean we'll never get annoyed or irritated with people or situations? No! What it means is that we won't expend energy dwelling on the negative, but instead allow ourselves to become energized by the positives. We will be thankful for the differences in others and see how they can compliment us. By doing this we lift others up, instead of dragging them down.

Austin loved his friends and family, even when we drove him crazy. His attitude carried over to everyone he met, he just loved finding new friends. He possessed a special gift of being able to see the good in people, and ignore their quirks (most of the time). He appreciated them for who they were. (Again, I know I've mentioned this before... but that's what made Austin so special.) I remember one time when Austin came to visit. We went to Quedoba's for lunch and one of the workers was trying so hard to do a good job. Austin struck up a conversation with the guy, showing him that his friendly customer service was appreciated. That was Austin, always taking time to chat it up with someone, to make them feel valued.

Do you ever notice how negative individuals drain you, but people who tend to be positive lift your spirit? Who do you prefer to spend time with? How much more enjoyable would our days be if we valued the good in others, and ignored the peculiarities? What would happen if we looked at the positives of life (both in people and situations), instead of the negatives? The more we appreciate what we have, the more we will realize life is good. Amongst the challenges we face, both the everyday and life-altering ones, life is still very, very good!

Today (and every day) give thanks for what you have!!!!

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