What sticks in your brain? Have you ever heard a melody and it kept going ’round and ’round in your head for the rest of the day (or night)? If you like the song, then that’s OK – but if you don’t… well, it can drive you batty!
And it’s the same with our thoughts. Sometimes the thoughts we think are helpful for our behavior, and sometimes they aren’t.
Wouldn’t it be good to have sticky positive thoughts going ’round our head rather than those stinky negative ones?
Sticky Positive Thoughts
Let’s get some sticky positive thoughts into our brains… Do any of these resonate with you?
I’m loved and wanted.
My time will come – I can be happy when others succeed.
Be thankful for the one. One step forward, one page written, one child encouraged, one heart strengthened, one person eating well, one bed made, one load of laundry folded, one desire fulfilled, one prayer answered, one smile, one…
Never underestimate the one thing.
Every book began with a page of writing, and every blog began with that first post. A relationship begins with a smile between two people. The knowledgable person began their journey with one item of information. New forests begin with one tree. (I was reminded by this post.) Revolutionary technology begins with an idea. Each business starts with one client.
One. It could be the start of something big!
I’m encouraging you to be thankful for one thing – that first item, or the next one thing on your list. Why? Because it has value. (And yes, I’m talking to myself also.)
It’s so easy to gloss over what you’ve already accomplished because you’re desperately focused on all you have yet to add to your resume.
One way to appreciate the “joy of the start” is by being thankful.
Be thankful for the one thing.
I challenge you to write down what you’re thankful for – today. The one thing. Just one thing. What one action have you taken that holds value? (And value is subjective – you decide.) Here are some ideas on how to record it:
This first day of a new year has me sifting through conflicting emotions.
People I cherish are celebrating the birth of a long awaited baby. Oh, what joy in a dream realized. And yet others are coping with the untimely death of a sister and friend – the first in their circle to pass into eternity. It feels like it’s too soon to let go of her, as everyone else believes they have decades still to live.
Same day – two diametrically opposite sets of emotions.
As this day unfolds for me, I’m going through the collections my mother has amassed over her 84 years. It’s a small apartment, but it’s full. I’m trying to help her decide what is necessary for the next chapter in her life, and what she can let go of – either to someone else (not me) or into a garbage. She’s sorting through physical artifacts that mirror the emotions of the other people I referenced above. Good memories, sad ones, joyful experiences and tragic happenings. It’s all here in her stuff.
We are all the same – we will all experience the scale of events from joy to tears.
What do we do with it all?
The value of a moment.
Do we know the value of each happening at the moment it occurs? Not always. Just as Dr. Seuss says, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
Even the bad moments can create valuable memories.
Maybe that needs to be our goal as we go through the days… creating value in the moments, regardless of the emotions – good or bad…
What do you think?
How will you mine the value of a moment – this year?
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
If you’re looking at your “now”, and it’s so far from what you want or what you had, it can feel discouraging. Our inner push to set goals or our outer need for achievement and affirmation can poison our current spot.
Be thankful for now.
Take care; we can get all caught up in our “dreams” and striving for what we want, that we forget there is joy right now.
It’s not that simple, though. And we shouldn’t be surprised, I guess, as everything that truly has worth needs effort to shore up the action.
Is being thankful easy for you?
I think all of us would like to believe that we are thankful people. (It’s almost indisputable that we have many, many things to be thankful for…)
Maybe our parents insisted we write a thank you card after receiving a gift, which began a habit which continued into adulthood. Or not.
Perhaps we use the words “thank you” a few times a day when our spouse or wait-staff hand us something to eat. Or we respond with thanks when a stranger, co-worker or loved-one does something to benefit our well-being.
It’s even possible that we journal or list those items we are grateful for each day. For example, I have an app on my phone called Gratitude 365 – it’s especially useful because my phone is with me all day, every day. I snap a photo and write down all I can think of that causes me to be thankful. Robert and I have made lists of more than 100 items we’re thankful for – you’d be surprised how easy it is to do this.
But does all this thankfulness lead to a higher level of thought and bring about a happiness doubled by wonder?
Happiness doubled by wonder. Really?
I’m going to suggest it’s not the action of cataloging thankfulness that brings about happiness… (though maybe it begins there). It’s not saying, “thank you” that makes a difference in our happiness.
We need to pause to feel thankful.
First pause. Then feel.
After those steps, perhaps our thoughts can rise above mundane and petty annoyances.
When I take the time to really feel that gratitude – I must be candid – I am humbled.
I know my mistakes and failings. I know my smelly inner dialogue. And there is a scary and startling wonder that comes from realizing I’ve been gifted (often despite my efforts) with an immense list of things to be thankful for… relationships, physical abilities, and items, circumstances both avoided and experienced, and a good future, in my view, granted by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus’ life.
It’s not comfortable.
That wonder isn’t always a comfortable feeling. And the happiness which grows from the wonder makes me realize how very blessed I am. Which, again, isn’t always comfortable.
Should feeling thankful be comfortable? What do you think?
What do you feel?
How does being thankful – feeling grateful – work in your life? Has it made a difference? How? Please share your insights…
Is feeling thankful easy for you? Comfortable? Is there a sense of happiness and wonder when you feel thankful?
Looking on the bright side – can you do that? All the time?
If you’re anything like me, it takes real effort to continue to look on the bright side – regardless. But even though it takes effort, (and sometimes huge effort), it never hurts me in the long run. In fact, it makes my life better, and all those around me feel it.
Once I’ve found the “bright side”, and go with it, then other aspects where negativity could creep in seem easier to manage.
Is it simple to look for the positive in life? Not always.
Looking on the bright side even when it’s hard.
Here are some ways to encourage yourself to focus on what’s good in a circumstance:
Express your thankfulness in a concrete way: words, or actions.
Take time to ponder. We allow the rush of life to overwhelm us and by default the place we end up is negative. Use a timeout to process what’s going on. Prayer always helps me.
Make a pro and con list on paper. (or your computer) Seeing the issues in black and white will often clarify those nebulous clouds of gloom and doom. Talk it through with a trusted friend. A person who loves you can see situations differently. Neither of you is right or wrong. Sometimes it’s good to have a discussion to see another’s view.
Get out of your own way. In the Lead Like Jesus Encounter, there’s a part called “Ego’s Annonymous”. It’s designed to help the participants recognize we all struggle every day with pride and fear – it’s an addiction. As a Christian, I see EGO as “edging God out”. Most times, at least for me, when I can’t find the bright side that’s at the root.
How about you?
What techniques do you use to successfully find your positive place?
PositiveThanksLiving is about being strategically optimistic – not just pie-in-the-sky everything is perfect. Living as an optimistic and thankful person takes work – but it’s worth it!
A few ways to look on the bright side – even when it’s hard. Be strategically optimistic.
“The thing we don’t realize in highschool, and sometimes we still haven’t learned during the mini-van driving years, is that everyone is on the outside of something.
But that is only half the story.
We are all, each one of us, also on the inside of something
— often without even realizing it.”
Think of the relationships you have with people.
Are you thankful for those you are already connected to?
Maybe if we stop comparing ourselves
in our perceived “in” or “out” spot,
and began giving thanks,
inviting and encouraging others to join us,
our lives would hold more joy…
That’s my thought… what does this bring up in you?
Some of us might find making new friends easy. Some of us might feel daunted.
I’m guessing we might share some discouragement from the past – being or not being part of a group for !oh! so many reasons. Is it time to leave that discomfort behind?
We are all adults now.
Being candid, that’s one reason I picked up the book from where today’s Positivity Prompt originates. Friendship amongst women has its ups and downs. It shouldn’t. But it does.
We all need to practice forgiveness, overlooking hurts, and serving each other.
And where some believe this topic is only for teens, consider again. If you’ve ever moved to a new city/state and began forging friendships anew, you might be revisiting some of the issues you felt when you were a teen.
Friendship… making friends and feeling on the “inside/outside” can be difficult.
So be encouraging, and invite a new person into your “inside” friendships… start today!
Who will you reach out to and invite “inside”?
And for whom will you give thanks that you’re already on the “inside”?
Your kindness has an impact. It’s more than just that act, it’s a seed for something greater.
Perhaps you’ll never see how your act of kindness changes the world around you, but I believe we sow seeds with our kindnesses from which gratitude will grow. Sometimes those seeds will languish, and do nothing. But there will be times where those seeds will grow into a blossom of gratitude.
If you see value in a being thankful, then create an environment where others will have specific reasons to feel thankful themselves.
The small, seemingly insignificant habit of whispering our thanks will change us first, and then everything around us.
Begin this new habit today – every time you see, feel, hear, taste or experience a wonderful moment, whisper, “Thank you, God.”
Experience how your world will change…
A book on gratitude/thankfulness I read sparked this idea. The author suggested that creating this habit is “like a mustard seed of power” that changes our character.
As our character changes, so will the world around us.
Sometimes, I think, we are looking for that heroic act or magnificent deed which will make an impact at one fell swoop. Rather, it may be our little, positive habits can make more of a difference for everyone than magnificence or heroics. It’s an inside and then outward activity…
David Steindl-Rast is a Catholic Benedictine Monk, who has divided his time between periods of hermit’s life and extensive lecture tours on five continents. Here’s one of his videos – watch it with earbuds or headphones if you can – and if you can’t see the video player, then click here to go to the video on YouTube
2018 is my year to focus on Gratitude/Thankfulness.
When I read and research the topic of Gratitude/Thankfulness, Br. David’s writings are referenced by most, including in Janice Kaplan’s book “The Gratitude Diaries”. Janice Kaplan took a year to focus on gratitude and I liked her book so much that I purchased a physical copy after renewing the library copy multiple times. I’ll be sharing more from her book on future #thankfulThursdays along with more from Br. David.
So, if you’re looking to be happier in life – focus on Gratitude.
“It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.