With so much negativity swirling around, we are living a crash course in the definition of control. And we are basically learning that we have little control over our lives.
Like it or not, we control only silly, minuscule things, such as what we wear for the day. That can be a ridiculous example of control since we don’t get to decide whether someone accidentally spills coffee on our clothing or not.
But another way to exercise control is by choosing how to react to all the negativity.
We can choose to be paranoid and stop living life unless we can do it within the parameters of our backyard. We can choose to spend every spare dime we have on weapons and building bunkers. We can choose to climb up on a pedestal and declare who the problem is and why and what should be done about it. We can choose to nose-dive into a deep depression or be taken over by anger and spew nothing but hatred and fear.
Or we can choose to look for and find the positives.
Even in the darkest moments, there are always places where the light shines through. We just have to be willing to see those moments of light and celebrate them.
And so, here are a few ways to find the good stuff again:
• Volunteer your heart at an animal shelter. When neglected animals rush to purr on your lap or leap at the chance to lick your face, it is impossible to think only about the bad stuff.
• Rock a baby. Play on the floor with a toddler. Read to a preschooler. And be reminded that even in the most difficult moments, the presence of a child makes the heart beat more happily.
• Write a list of your blessings. Recite them every morning in the mirror. Then make a face at your reflection as a reminder not to take yourself too seriously.
• Discover a place for your personal passion. Collect food for a pantry, kitty litter and dog food for a kennel or money for disabled veterans. Whatever you care most about, put your energy there. Next time people gather to gripe, know that you are one of very few who is taking personal steps toward giving what you can toward a better tomorrow.
• Make a daily goal to surprise someone with kindness. Pass out cold bottles of water at a construction site. Sneakily pay for another customer’s groceries. Help an elderly neighbor with lawn care. When you expect absolutely nothing in return, wonderful things happen in your chest. It fills up with a warmth you don’t forget.
• Many people run away from the pain of others. So be the person who reaches out to hold and comfort someone in their most hurtful moments. This skill takes a lot of courage. You are worth that kind of bravery.
• Every single day, do something silly. Skip to the mailbox. Sing off-key on purpose. Walk backward through the grocery store with your grandkids. Making other people laugh is a salve for their heart and yours too.
• Walk barefoot in the rain, and don’t miss splashing through puddles. Talk other people into going with you for this soggy experience. No one can gripe and complain when they are stomping through puddles.