I have lost count of the number of times someone has said that to me, ‘nothing good ever happens to me’. And they have said it with force, with real belief. They are telling the truth because they really believe what they are saying, they have become blind to anything other than events and occurrences which serve to reinforce their sense of misery and neglect. When we believe something or are determined to prove a point we can become oblivious to anything that has a different viewpoint. We become blind to anything outside of that perspective.
This mindset is similar to that of a person who has decided to buy a red car or double-glazing for their home. All they see from that moment on will be the number and variety of red cars on the roads or the many different kinds of double-glazing available to install. As a result of that decision they start to notice and focus on something that is of particular interest to them. It attracts their attention.
Attitude plays a huge part in how we feel about the things that happen to us in our daily lives. Some people notice all the bad things and can even start to imagine that they are receiving put-downs and negative treatment when it is not the case. They may see people talking, laughing, looking in their direction and be convinced that it is all about them.
Other more confident people may be impervious to any except the most direct insults or comments and will then take them in their stride as a normal part of life and of interacting with others. They are able to take comments as an observation about something to do with them rather than as a personal criticism or rejection.
I challenge my clients to start noticing the small good things that occur everyday to all of us. This can be tough to do at first. They have become so conditioned to expect the worst in most situations. But this exercise can be a positive way of breaking the negative cycle of observations. Here are a few of the more typical everyday examples.
- someone says ‘good morning’ to us with a smile
- another driver lets us into the traffic stream with a wave.
- a co-worker brings us a cup of coffee without us having asked
- a friend sends us a cheery text or invites us round for supper
- the children do their homework without an argument
- a colleague brings treats in because it is their birthday
- a girl on the perfume counter sprays us with something delicious
- someone comments that we look nice
- we notice the colour of the leaves on the trees
- our friend or partner gives us a hug
- the shape of the clouds is amazing
- we hear someone playing our favourite song
- the smell of coffee or freshly baked bread as we walk down the street
- someone hold the door open for us with a cheerful word
- children playing ask us to join in, kick the ball back to them
- the ducks come over to us to be fed
- the house is warm and welcoming because we put supper on in the slow cooker before we left
A positive outlook comes from being receptive to the little things that happen everyday, the little things that can make us smile, that we can regard as a small gift to brighten our day. Being receptive to those occurrences makes for a more pleasant life for us all.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who http://www.lifestyletherapy.net