On this peaceful, uneventful Sunday morning in the midst of the busy Christmas season, I feel especially grateful. Though my ‘to do’ list for the day is fairly lengthy, I feel compelled to post before I dig in, just in case someone could use a little perspective.
It’s easy – especially during the holidays – to get consumed with tasks and the stressors of life. Often, we are faced with many demands for our time and attention, so we can feel overwhelmed. But the choices we make are key to alleviating the stress of multiple pressures and burdens.
The most powerful choices we make are between which thoughts to entertain. When life feels out of control or our situation feels desperate, it’s an emotional response to a lack of control. But the antidote is entirely within our control – pausing to reflect on which thoughts we choose to entertain. It’s a choice that no one else can make for us.
Do we think about the bad and the evil that will always exist in this imperfect earthly world, or do we think of the plentiful happiness and goodness that exist all around us? Do we choose to focus on the things we don’t have that we want, or do we intentionally train our focus on the abundance in our lives that would make literally hundreds of millions of people around the globe green with envy? Do we concern ourselves with tragic results that might occur, or do we revel in the wonderful things that have transpired or are transpiring now?
My nephew, wise beyond his years, made the conscious choice to enjoy all kinds of music. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy some types more than others, but he chose to find something to enjoy about every different type of music, instead of saying, “I don’t like rap or country music,” or something similar. It’s a wonderful little example of choosing one’s thoughts instead of being swayed by others’ narratives or directed by groupthink. It takes some practice and some getting used to, but choosing our thoughts in all areas of life provides magnificent results.
My life is not perfect – far from it – but I am considerably more blessed than I deserve to be. I have two careers that allow me to add value in others’ lives, I have an amazing family and some of the best friends a guy could hope for. I’m quite healthy, and I’ve finally found “my girl” after many years looking (the wrong way … selfishly). What more could I ask for?
Whenever I start to worry about things not going exactly as expected, I remember that expectations are the solitary cause of disappointment, and I pause to choose different thoughts to entertain.
I choose to dwell on all the great things in my life. I am immensely happy.