There is a quote by Charles R. Swindoll which says, “We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
When people used to tell me I was bringing negativity to myself just by having a pessimistic attitude, the only result would be me becoming even more negative. This perspective of “why me” or “why not me” will become a vicious cycle of wallowing in self-pity and having a dark outlook on the world and yourself.
Bad things happen. We have no control over certain situations and things fall apart. Humans are fragile beings, both physically and emotionally. It’s easy to let yourself break and fall into a rut. This happens to everyone because the world is unfair at times and completely out of our control. Things and people can hurt us deeply and expressing sadness, anger or other negative feelings felt from that pain is healthy.
There are two options available in how to handle those defining moments in your life. You can feel the emotions, process them, think of it as a learning experience and grow from the situation. The second response is much easier to slip into with depression, pity and gloom dragging you into a hole where all is dim, everything feels hopeless and you lose yourself.
I used to see the world in a much different way than I do now. I chose the second option of how to respond to a life-changing situation which caused me pain. I buried that feeling deep inside and let the darkness take hold of me. Everything I thought, saw, felt and experienced had black paint strewn across it. The more despondent I was, the worse the negativity would compress itself into my perspective, and yet, I couldn’t figure out why nothing was changing for the better.
At some point, I began thinking that the life-changing incident could go either way. It could change my life for the worse, or I could allow it to change my life for the better. I’m currently living in the second mindset, which turned the darkness into a light I never knew was achievable. I stopped thinking of myself as a victim. Instead, I respected the strength I discovered in myself.
Life isn’t always easy, but I now take the time to pay attention to the many beautiful, kind, joyful and caring moments I come across each day, regardless of how small they are. It takes a conscious effort to choose to pay attention to positive experiences, kindness shown by others, the splendor of nature and the beauty in all things and people, including myself. Making that choice to have a positive attitude has been my answer to finding happiness.
Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.