On Choosing Gratitude in a World Gone Mad

  
You can see the world as full of chaos and hate, or you can see it as a place of beauty and wonder- or somewhere in between. I’m not denying that bad things happen, but I choose to approach my life searching for the good, with an attitude of gratitude, the very best I can. I remember when I consciously made the decision to be more positive and embrace gratitude in my thinking many years ago…what a difference it has made in my life. I have had several people over the years tell me, “You are always so positive- must be nice!”  “You’re such a Mary Poppins- don’t you ever loose your cool?” I’m always a bit taken aback by comments like that, as they insinuate that I’ve lived on Easy Street, never having to deal with challenging life situations. As most everyone on the planet has, I have had my share of hard times, loss, heartache, and general bad stuff. Yes, I’ve been angry before, yes, I’ve been sad and down. I am human. It’s not that I ignore the madness that happens in the world at all- I feel things very deeply, both the good and the bad. It’s got nothing to do with ignoring tragedy or living in a make-believe world…it is simply choosing to be grateful for everything that comes my way. Everything. And, probably most important of all, I remind myself that so many have much worse problems than I do. 

   
 Dan often says that we get back from the Universe what we send out, and  I take that seriously. I am no Mother Theresa- I am a very flawed human being- but I can make a difference in my own small ways. I can be kind to the people I meet…including those who are not kind to me. That’s a tough one sometimes, as it is often our first natural inclination to strike back when we have been struck. But more anger only stokes the fire…facing it with calmness can dampen the fire- or even put it out. I don’t put angry or negative messages out on the internet. Ever. And, if I see messages like that come up on my email or Facebook, I delete and unfollow. We are affected by the negativity and anger that bombard us every day in ways that we don’t even realize, and I refuse to add to it on social media or anywhere else. If I truly feel the need to vent and get something off of my chest, I talk it out with Dan or close friends- people who know my heart and will help to bring me back to a place of peace.

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I choose to surround myself with people who bring joy into my life, and distance myself from those who are angry and negative. Life is entirely too short to let those people steal my hard-earned peace. I never want to become one of the angry people, those who live for the drama of the evening news, looking for the bad in the world. Of course the bad is out there- it always has been and always will be. However, the good has always been there and always will be, too. We truly do become our thoughts, so focusing on the good, doing our best to do good in the world, can only make our lives happier. Choosing gratitude opens our eyes to the good and the beautiful, and ultimately brings more things to us to be grateful for. And there is so much to be grateful for out there. 

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