By BEN HARGROVE
Are you easily frustrated? Do you get annoyed when someone tells you to “look on the bright side”? Sometimes a bright side may be hard to find. But bringing positive thinking into your life can make some of that frustration easier to overcome, and life’s challenges a little easier to tackle.
Maybe you are not ready to look on the bright side, but perhaps you can acknowledge that, in most circumstances, things could be worse. Compared to some other people in similar situations, you might not even have it so bad. Acknowledging that things could be worse is a first step toward acknowledging that things could also be better.
It is easy to feel frustrated and powerless when everything seems to be against you. But most people can find things to be grateful for if they set their mind to it. Maybe they are small things compared to the big things that have gone wrong. But your life is probably not a series of nightmares from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Write down things and people who have earned your gratitude. Even better, express your gratitude directly to those people. Life’s challenges will seem more manageable when the world does not seem like a completely unfriendly place.
But what about those people who helped make you think the world was unfriendly in the first place? Some people do things that are impossible to forgive, and let’s hope that has not happened to you. But when people hold grudges indefinitely over less urgent things, it can poison their worldview and make positive thinking that much harder to implement.
You can forgive someone and still hold them responsible for what they did. But if you are able to let go of bitterness, you can begin to stop seeing yourself as a powerless victim and start to see that you have more power than you may think in dealing with life’s challenges.
It would be great if thinking positively guaranteed a positive outcome, but being unrealistically positive can make you feel that much more frustrated when things go wrong. You may feel blindsided and completely unprepared for failure. As the saying goes, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
But do have hope. Positive thinking won’t solve all of your problems, but it can make them seem more manageable.