I recall thinking about this concept when talking to a man I met outside a grocery store. I wrote a blog post about the experience titled something like, “Not a Typical Man; He was Different.” I remember the man asking me
“Are there things that you would like to change about your life?”
I told him there were. His response was simple,
“Stop talking about them.”
I think it wise for me to add here YOU STOP THINKING ABOUT THEM too – don’t keep coming back to something you don’t want in your life.
There is truth to that. I’ve experienced it first hand…
For a long time, I was such an idealist; I had a great vision of a Fairy Tale life for myself. I basically imagined a life with all the joys and fluff but none of the obstacles on the way to “Happily Ever After” Then all the obstacles of reality hit me square in the face – and there were times when I focused on obstacles to the point of not seeing the possibility of my own “Happily Ever After”
I thought about the “ideal” that I imagined for myself; and I thought about how life DIDN’T seem to happen the way I planned and dreamed (even though it seemed to happen for others). And it used to depress me. Then I wondered,
“Where was my fairy tale life?
“Where was my ‘happily ever after?’
I want to share with you something marvelous I heard in General Conference this month…
“No matter our circumstances – no matter our challenges or trials – there is something in EACH DAY to embrace and cherish. There is some thing in each day to bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it. Perhaps we should be looking less with our eyes, and more with our hearts.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I am SO THANKFUL I didn’t stay in the darkness; that time DID come to an end... I came to learn some wonderful truths for myself which displaced the old unrealistic thinking (I LOVE the eloquent and poetic reminders given at Conference! :D).
There is a journal entry that I wrote which relates to this. NOTE: This is in reminiscence... I currently LOVE THE PRESENT. My life is GOOD, and gets BETTER with each passing day and year, so I look to the future with hope and enjoy today. But remembering a time when I did not - is a blessing that helps me to keep loving today. And so, I love to re-read this now and then…
“I would remember the past… Somehow, the bad past was ignored. I simply brushed it aside when it came to mind, in favor of longing for the good past and for all the joy I found in it – despite the parts that I pushed out of my mind, which I decided didn’t matter; I determined that the past negatives were so worth all the past positives that went with them.
“But no matter what, I could not go back into the past and relive my life, somehow making it so that the present pains and uncertainties would cease to exist. I couldn’t go back in time to change the future/present; and living in the past was killing me.
“So I decided to leave it in the past, and keep moving forward.
“It was the best decision of the century.
“I learned, in time, that I could do the same thing with the present negatives in life, - that I did with the negatives of the past; simply push the negatives out of my mind, with the conscious conclusion that the present negatives are well worth the companionship of the present good that come with them – but are not worth focusing on...
“I learned that when I let go of thinking about the negative, the darkness lifted from my view, and provided the light I needed to be blessed to see the positive.
“I decided to let go – to stop longing for the past – and to be OK with less than ideal… and I ended up having my eyes opened and discovering/seeing that I already had it.”
I am so excited to be inspired by the reminder: my life is what I make it - not only by the things that happen to me or by the things I choose to do, but also by the things I choose to believe – and bring back to my remembrance, over and over again….
Yesterday I was blessed with another great quote which is worth hearing over and over again…
"I am asking that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we 'accentuate the positive.' I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort."I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course."What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another's virtues more than we speak of one another's faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears."
(Ensign, April 1986, p. 2-4). Gordon B. Hinckley
The Lord has been very good to me; to help me to pursue the talent, to look for and see the positive and good in others. I have been greatly blessed by it, as I have never known a person who I did not love.
Now, through prayer and work, I am learning (once again) to develop the talent of looking at THIS probationary LIFE with the positive eyes that I have been blessed to see people through. When I talk to my friend Jolynn about tough life experiences, she always tells me, “It happened for a reason. It’s OK.” I’m starting to believe her. As I think about why we left our Heavenly Home to come to Earth and of how much we learn and grow from truly tough times, I think she is right; and it’s helping me to see more of the good in less-desirable experiences…
Life is still filled with struggles, and there is still so much for me to work on and improve; but now I can see so much more than ashes when the fires of trials come… Now I see mostly glowing embers.