The Brighter Side
I was speaking with a friend of mine recently. She and I talked at length about some personal things she has been going through. For the most part, I simply sat and listened. As she talked, thoughts ran through my mind about a few ways she could probably fix a situation or two she had mentioned. What kept me from chiming in is a promise I made to myself a long time ago to not interrupt someone who was in the middle of sharing with me what they felt were trying or difficult situations.
I had a few challenges as I was growing up. One of the things that bothered me most was when I tried to talk to someone, a friend or family member about my challenges they didn’t actually listen to what I was saying. A number of things happened that made me never want to talk to them again. I was either interrupted while I talked, given some off-handed solution to the situation, told that as time passed it would work itself out or to simply not worry about it. Nine times out of ten, none of those things worked. Common sayings or general statements like that don’t help anybody. As I have grown, I have come to realize that when my friends come to me with problems or frustrations, what they really want is for someone to listen. They don’t want solutions, feedback or extra conversation. They just want to be heard. So, I do my best to keep the promise I made to myself to not interrupt or give unsolicited advice.
If asked, at a moments notice, I know that I could probably think of all the things I felt went wrong in my life or situations I thought were much too difficult for me to handle. There are definitely some things, if given the chance, I would go back and change. Well, since that is not an option, I focus on what I can do differently now that I am older and hopefully wiser. When given the opportunity, by request, to share my thoughts with friends who are experiencing a difficult time, here are some things I often share:
- The thing you feed the longest is the thing that is the strongest. Be aware of the activity going on inside your mind. Basically, when we constantly turn over in our minds the problem or situation we are going through, the longer it takes to see a solution or a way out. The more we think about it, the more it takes root in our minds and in our spirit; therefore, the longer it will take to get rid of. So, be aware of how much you feed the problem.
- Pray and pray often. Make prayer apart of your daily routine. I like to have my quiet moment, meditation and prayer time first thing in the morning. For me, this helps to start my day with a positive purpose. Often I read a scripture or reflect on something that stays with me and helps me to stay focused and purpose driven all day. When the tough times come, my mind and spirit are prepared to deal with the issues in a more relaxed and positive way.
- If prayer is not your thing, try positive affirmations and gratitude. Use index cards, sticky notes or whatever writing material you are comfortable with to write down quotes, positive thoughts or things that you are grateful for. Put these where you can see them throughout your day to remind you of the things that are going right in your life and you will be less likely to focus on the things that aren’t going so great.
- Shift your mental thoughts. When your mind starts to wander to those things and situations that are overwhelming you or causing you frustration, force your thoughts to something positive. Deliberately, shift your mental thoughts to something you enjoy or a goal you’ve set for yourself.
While, I know that there is no quick fix to any problem or situation, the goal is to know and understand that there will be situations and issues that will cause us to struggle. But, what we want to do is be so prepared that when they do come they do not cause damage to our mental health with depression or stress. Nor to our physical health with weight gain or joint pain. Find those things in life that you enjoy and that make you happy. Do those things and do them often. Build up your positives so that your negatives don’t overtake you.
Finding the brighter side…😊