Sometimes, life seems pretty awful. We dread the tragedies, the upsets, and the disappointments. We try to cling to the successes, the celebrations, and the joy. But life keeps bringing us both. There is no need to fear the “bad” and then dwell on it when it (ultimately) happens.
What you can do is change your thinking.
You can see life differently, and thus, experience it differently. Everything can be good.
It starts with falling in love with reality, warts and all. Accept what is. Don’t judge it.
The other way to change your thinking it to ask the right questions.
One of the most important ones to ask yourself – in the face of adversities and hardship – is:
“What is good about this?”
This question really is not that hard to ask. It seems difficult (if not impossible) because we’re programmed to react a certain way to certain events.
There is no changing reality. Your loved one died. You lost your job. You lost your home. You receive a cancer diagnosis. This is reality and no amount of crying or complaining will change it.
Should you suffer for an extended period of time? Forever? If you suffer, does that do justice to your loved one who passed away? Does it prove you loved them enough?
No. You’re just suffering. And you might be causing those around you who love you to suffer, too.
This is a radical concept in our society. We seem to enjoy drama. But drama is draining.
When you seek the positive, your entire body changes for the better. So does your mind. And when you are light in body and mind, then you can act with clarity and energy. After all, that is what we are, energy. We live and we die, but the energy remains.
I have a desert garden in my backyard. A beloved neighbor gave us all of her potted plants when she moved out of state and the plants have thrived. This year, some new wildflowers grew next to the pots. They’re not related to any of the potted plants and they are not being irrigated. Yet, they continue to grow beautifully on the little rain they get.
People can be like wildflowers. They are transplanted from some other place and they just grow. They take advantage of the resources available. They don’t ask permission.They don’t shrink because the other plants were there first.
They are beautiful in their uniqueness, their peculiarity, and their originality.
We can all be like wildflowers: wild, courageous, strong and proud.
Be like a wildflower. Don’t look for approval or acceptance. Hold your head up high.
Five years ago, I left a corporate job to go back to teaching. I missed the kids more than I wanted the money.
I was asked to teach the 4th quarter with sixth graders in a low socio-economic school. Their previous teacher abandoned the post. He never said goodbye, he just left. Of the 30 students I taught, more than half had fathers in prison. Every child qualified for free breakfast and lunch. One of the male students had very strange eyebrows. Someone told me that his older brother and a gang tied him down and shaved his eyebrows off. They never grew back quite right.
As I got to know the children, I realized most had been traumatized in a number of ways: neglect, verbal and physical abuse and (I suspected) sexual abuse. One of my students was a sweet, round-faced boy. He wore the same pants every day and they looked dirty, but he was always kind. He was always smiling and he walked and talked slowly. I’ll call him Francisco.
One of the teachers had over 12 years experience at the school. She was extremely strict with all of the kids. I know she cared about them and wanted them to be successful, but she acted as if each child had a bull’s eye on their back. She was constantly barking orders and yelling.
We were outside, lined up to go back inside from lunch. Francisco walked slowly to line. Apparently, too slowly. This teacher yelled at him, “Who do you think you are? What are you trying to prove? Too cool to care?” We all stood, stunned. “When you walk, walk with purpose and walk fast! And tuck your shirt in!”
I wanted to explain that this was the way he always walked.
I wanted to come to his defense and vouch for his character.
I wanted to stop her from attacking him wrongfully.
But I didn’t. I froze.
It haunts me to this day. I should have stood up for him.
But he was Mexican-American. She was Mexican-American. I am Korean-American, an outsider, only to be there for 9 weeks.
This was their school, not mine.
I see now, I was wrong. It was our school. Right is right and wrong is wrong.
Never just stand by silently. Speak your mind when you see a wrong.