By Stacey Rose, PhD, LCSW
When the weather is cold, bills are coming in, and maybe you feel like you’re just not having any good luck, what inspires you? For some, it can be hearing a story in the news that reminds you someone else always has it worse. For others, it can be listening to a motivational talk on t.v. or at your house of worship. But, the reality of life, is that it is short! As far as we know, we only get one life, so what are you doing with your time on Earth? Are you happy about the choices you are making? If not, what do you want to do about it?
If you had only 24 hours to live, what would you do with that time??? I imagine you have met people that can have one negative experience after another and still find the silver lining in their clouds.
I imagine you’ve also met people who don’t have it so bad, but can only see their life in the worst light possible. In other words, it is all about perception. How we react or respond to situations are within our power and can determine much of how we feel. If your teenager comes home past curfew, are you imagining the worst-case scenarios? ‘Maybe, he had a car accident’ or ‘Maybe, someone put something in her drink and she is passed out somewhere.’ Or, do you say, ‘Maybe, he lost track of time’ or ‘Maybe, her cell phone died but she is on her way.’ It’s all how we look at things.
Are you a half-empty or half-full thinker? Research shows that those who see the glass half-full are physically healthier, happier, and may even live longer than those who see the glass half-empty. Perception is a choice you make when you have an opportunity to respond to a situation.
Years ago, I worked with a woman who was typically negative and unfriendly. She would push people away with her attitude, without even realizing it. She lived her life this way until she was diagnosed with cancer in her fifties. After months of chemotherapy, time to think and heal, she came back to work a new woman. She was now warmer, friendly, and more open to others. The transformation was amazing to me. Unfortunately, she had to go through this experience to realize just how precious life is. At her funeral, friends and family grieved the loss of her and the loss of who she had become.
Many people live their lives without reaching their full potential. If you were to reach your full potential, what would that look like? Would you be at your current job? Would you be spending money the way you do? Would you be in the relationships with those in your life now? Would you react and respond to situations the same way? Think about a time in your life when you felt most inspired. Put that to good use now.
Don’t wait for something huge and life threatening to happen in order for you to make a change. Do it now. Find out what inspires you to be the best YOU you can be.