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Everything was going wrong that could go wrong that morning.
First, I dropped a contact lens and spent 10 minutes looking for it.
Then I received a warning about an unpaid cell phone bill. After my attempt to pay online failed, I hurried into town to pay in person. But the office was closed.
I returned home and tried again to pay online and finally after a lot of resets the bill was paid. The morning had been spent frantically trying to resolve problems that seemed to come out of nowhere.
As I fixed myself a late breakfast, I found myself in a funk, frustrated for not being more careful putting in my contacts, angry with technology that seemed to make the simplest things more difficult and at myself for forgetting to pay my bills on time. I had planned on completing some writing projects that morning and instead my time was spent taking care of unexpected emergencies.
As I grumbled about my lost time, I started to question the significance of writing. Why was I bothering? It took a while before it dawned on me that I was allowing myself to fall into a go-nowhere trap that was holding me hostage to anything negative.
Why was I allowing those unexpected problems to sabotage my thinking?
Yes, it was frustrating given what I had planned to accomplish. Yes, I do make mistakes. But I can learn from them. I can accept there will be frustrating times. I don’t have to let it ruin my day.
When everything seems to be going wrong, it is easy to get ambushed by ongoing negative thoughts and feelings. It’s normal and natural to be upset, criticize and complain about this and that, finding fault with anything we think may be making life difficult for us. But remaining in that space is counterproductive.
Grumbling, blaming and complaining can quickly become a habit.
It is easier to be a victim and find reasons why we should be excused from the rough and tumble demands of life. But we miss out on so much when we do.
I remember watching a program that highlighted a remarkable person. Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs, but he was not sad, depressed, disheartened or discouraged.
Instead, what you saw was a confident adult who was comfortable with himself. He had an enthusiasm for life that was infectious. Happiness and contentment radiated from his face – something difficult to fake.
He has authored many books, keeps an exhausting worldwide speaking schedule, swims and even plays golf. He is married and has a family. I may have had difficult times in my life but whatever was required of me I did with use of my arms and legs.
In my last podcast, I talked about how reframing our circumstances can change the outcome. At any moment in time we can choose to look at things differently. In my example, I reframed my frustrating morning into acknowledging that life isn’t always what we want, but it doesn’t have to ruin the rest of my day.
Nick Vujicic reframed his life from, “how will I ever survive without arms and legs” to a world-wide ministry.
Yes, I Can!
When things go wrong, we get angry and forget to change our focus. We can accept and start looking for solutions. We can remind ourselves that we don’t have to stay depressed, angry or down.
I have made some personal rules that I use on a regular basis. One is “Yes, I can,” that reminds me not to give up. And the other I use in conjunction with it and is, “I refuse.”
- To give up
- To think badly of myself or others or feel sorry for myself
- To allow hatred or resentment govern my life
- To judge myself or others harshly
- To believe there are no solutions
- To allow myself to sink into a depression
- To isolate myself instead of reaching out for help and feedback
This complements my “Yes, I can” mantra.
I can choose…
- To be happy and to make happiness a priority in my life no matter what happens
- To be nonjudgmental – I can evaluate without judging
- To not dwell on the past
- To go back and heal old wounds when it is necessary
- To be open and genuine and honest
- To accept both the good sides of me and the not so good
- To refuse to put labels on myself or anybody else
- To be compassionate and caring
- To respect the opinions of others even if I adamantly disagree
- To develop my values and live them without expecting others to follow them
- To forgive
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