But regardless of this coming a week after Thanksgiving, Christmas is right around the corner. And in fact, New Years comes after that, then, I'm sure if you Googled them, a list of Holidays nearly every day in some Country at least a few times a week, maybe every day even.
So the Holidays are always around us. Christmas and Thanksgiving are just lucky enough to be classified as THE Holidays. But I was strolling this evening. I don't like to drive to the grocery store since it's only like a mile away, so I just walk. On my way home I was listening to some Christmas tunes on the trusty 6 year old iPod that has yet to stop working. (Knock on wood.) I recollected a lot on something I've found myself telling several people over this past year. In a nutshell it's: Count your blessings one by one.
I think a lot of us get hit with stress and life and drama and trouble and things left and right it just seems to mount, piling up until we feel like we're just going to break down. More often than not, if I the first question I asked you when we got together for coffee ('cause that's what classy folks do on cold days) was "So, tell me what's been going wrong in your life." You could probably start to recollect and recall all the stressful stuff on your plate you've been dealing with, are currently dealing with, and will come to deal with in the near future. Thinking about the craziness now, and on top of that the craziness yet to come makes us feel like, sometimes, we can barely breathe.
But what if the first question someone asked you was, "So tell me. What's going right in your life?" Would you just answer half seriously, "Nothing, I'm stressed. I have problems." Or would you stop and actually think?
What I've witnessed from experience and observation seems to tell me that the way the brain works, the way people work, is that we unfortunately find ways to thrive on negative energy. We like to complain. We just do. And I'm sure all of us have that friend who likes to basically make it a competition with who has more problems. "You're going through this? Well you have no clue what it's really like because I'm going through this!"
I bet you didn't realize, but at one time or another (likely many times) we've all been that person. For some strange reason...we like to feel bad about things and we like to tell people about it in hopes that it will make us feel better. But it never does, and we start to feel worse because all we've done is focus on what's going wrong in our lives.
Do you ever get pissed off when people try to be positive or motivational? Yeah, you do. I do too. I even get pissed off at myself sometimes when I try to be positive toward me about the things that are making me upset. "Stop it conscience! I want to feel bad right now! Just...leave me alone."
But there's good news today. There's good news every day. And yes, this is my transitioning into being positive. If you're having one of those days like I mentioned above, and you just don't want to hear chipper people try to tell you to look on the bright side...tough. This is happening. You might not want it, but I can guarantee you need it.
Break down your life. When you stop to legitimately give thought to the things that make you happy, you'll find you can list A LOT of things. Random things too. Watch this, here's some of the things that make me happy.
- Green Grass
- Rolly Pollies
- Cold Weather
- My wife
- All of my friends and family
I want to keep this short and sweet because you already know what I'm going to say before I say it because I'm sure you've heard it a thousand times. But maybe you just need to hear it a thousand and one times before you start believing it. We spend our lives measuring our happiness in terms of our unaccomplished things, not the other way around. We get sad when we realize all the things we haven't done. We get depressed when we think about the things that we want but cannot have. We spend our lives focusing on the big picture, on the future, on trying to achieve it all at once that we lose sight of what we have in the here and now. And what we have now is an infinite amount of things that we're taking for granted, like air and clean water, friends, food, the internet, a roof over our heads and clothes on our back.
If you stop to really think about it, there is likely no end to the things that make you happy. It doesn't matter how big or small they are, they bring you joy, and that's something to be glad about. We are all incredibly wealthy people. I can't tell you enough how important it is to remember what a blessed life it can be if we just, as cliche as it sounds, stop and smell the roses once in a while. Roses are beautiful and they smell nice and they make me happy. Why not take a little time to appreciate those things?
So if someone seems a little downtrodden, throw them for a bit of a loop. Instead of saying, "What's wrong?" ask "What's right?" Help your peers to break down their lives and build them back up as a tower of gladness, not a tower of sorrow. The towers of gladness are fortresses, built strong on bedrock. The towers of sorrow are thin, trembling, dangerous things that can come crashing down at any moment.
If the first question is "What's right?" and we go into a discussion of what brings you gladness and joy, and then I ask "What's wrong?" chances are, it will be very little. There is a finite amount of what is wrong in our lives compared to with what is right. We're just not thinking about it properly. It's not money, or cars, or houses, or electronics. It's feet and toes, fingers, and a belly button, beautiful eyes, vegetables, colors, flavors, scents. They may be small, but count your blessings one by one and soon you'll find they begin to add up.
There is so much happiness to find within each day. You've just got to remind yourself once in a while, you've got to stop and ask yourself the question, "What's right in my life?"
I bet if you do, you'll find there really is a lot to be Thankful for.