Each and every day there are negative things that happen to us. Things that are beyond our control. Things like:
- Rain forecasted on the day of a little-league baseball outing
- Spilling coffee on ourselves during the commute to work
- A grouchy spouse/friend/co-worker to deal with
- Traffic delays in reaching your vacation destination
- A major appliance (stove, washer, or dryer) that stops working
- Getting a less-than-favorable diagnosis from the doctor
Life isn’t always fair.
While we may not be able to control our circumstances, we can control how we react to them. And, we can also control what we do about them.
Complaining about things doesn’t make them go away. And temper-tantrums don’t help either. Playing the blame game [“It’s his/her fault this happened.” “If you would have just (fill in the blank) this would have never happened.”] is also a poor choice in dealing with our circumstances.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is bite our tongue, take a deep breath and just deal with it.
I’m a pretty high-strung person. But I’m slowing working my way into a more take-it-as-it-comes person. Sure, I make plans and manage projects and tasks as good as the next guy. But for the crazy stuff that life tosses at me, I’m trying really hard to find a least a little bit of humor in it. As I’m learning to deal with things, I’m also teaching my two boys to not get so upset about life’s road-bumps.
Just a Drop in the Bucket
Spilling a glass of milk on the kitchen table and floor is not a big deal. Really. In the grand scheme of things it is literally NOTHING. Get a towel and wipe it up. Laugh about it. And move on with your day.
When you encounter someone who’s having a ‘bad day’, help them turn their frown upside down. Make it your mission to cheer them up. Buy them a cup of coffee. Share your M&Ms with them. Be a sounding board and let them vent about whatever is on their mind. Listening may be all they need to soothe their soul.
…circumstances may be affecting you, even driving you crazy, but they aren’t who you are. And they don’t determine who you will someday be. –Success for Teens”
Being stuck in traffic with a car-full of kids can actually be a good thing. Seriously! That bumper-to-bumper situation might be a good time to have them pull out the earbuds and actually TALK to one another. Chat about the drive so far. What new things have they seen? What are they the most excited about doing on this year’s vacation? What family vacation memories can you share with your kids?
The memories will make you smile and will (most-likely) teach your kids something they never knew about your childhood. (It worked like that for me just last week as my family was headed to North Carolina for a week. I got a warm-and-fuzzy feeling as I recanted vacation trips with my grandparents.)
Receiving bad news from the doctor is different. I get that. Yet…with all the wonders of modern medicine, the support of friends and family, and the grace of God, you can get through it.
Focus on the Positive
A co-worker once told me that we should not spend any of our personal energy on negative things like circumstances or worrying about what might happen. She said our energy should be spent on positive thoughts and events. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Simple. But not easy. I know. Yet, it’s certainly something to strive toward.
Your turn: What circumstances are you facing today? What positive steps are you taking to work through them?
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