Finding Balance ... through Intentional Choices

by Erika

It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. - David Steindl-Rast

My son laughs at me because I refuse to watch scary movies – even the cheesy ones actually scare me. It's a feeling I despise, despite knowing all feelings serve a purpose. I also refuse to watch the news, but for some reason that isn’t as funny. I wasn't born a person that is naturally a bright shining ray of light and positivity. I was born a pessimist. It was not my choice, it’s what I was given to work with. I could've just accepted it, decided that is who I was meant to be and went about sprinkling woe, worry and warnings everywhere I went. I believe we are born with things that we cannot and should not have to change. Pessimism is not one of those things.


Words matter. Not just because they can hurt feelings. They can also hurt your health – mentally, socially, physically, and spiritually. That's why I do my best to avoid the things – like most of the news, scary movies and damaging words - that bring about negative behaviors and feelings. Instead, I try to cultivate positive surroundings. I pick positive people to spend my time with; I pick funny instead of scary; I pick loving people from afar in lieu of giving up on them completely. I'm careful where I spend my time, and I'm careful about what I say. I do this because I care about how I affect my world which leads to how I affect THE world. This born pessimist puts a lot of her energy into transforming her natural “glass half empty” predisposition into “where’s the silver lining?”


I have noticed in my life that when I've been given a struggle, I've also been given something to help work through that struggle. My pessimistic nature is met head on by my ability to rationalize just about anything. I always say your best quality is your worst quality, so although we shouldn’t rationalize our negative behaviors, this trait does allow me to see positive in the negative. Also, I've picked up a couple tricks along the way. For instance, I recently read that instead of saying sorry for things you don’t need to be sorry for, try swapping “sorry” with “thank you”. Instead of saying “sorry for making you wait”, try saying, “thank you for being patient” instead. Not only does it turn the vibe from negative to positive, but it reserves that precious word – SORRY – for when it's truly needed and can be most valuable.

Life gives us all a lot of things to handle. Some things we can’t change and that's where we practice acceptance - but some things we can! I don’t have to watch scary movies or surround myself with negative words or people, but I do have to work to make my world a positive place if I want to help THE world be a better place.

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