Finding the negative is easy. When I come home, and the dishes are piled in the sink, I notice that right away. But if they’re put away or in the dishwasher, my eyes will skim over it, and it won’t register, because that’s the way it’s “supposed to” be.
In the same way, it’s easy to overlook when things are going well in life, when we’re getting along with friends and relatives, because it’s easy, and that’s what we hope and expect.
Recently, a friend of mine had two of his friends die unexpectedly in one week, and it got me to thinking about gratitude, and how easy it is to take loved one for granted.
Our loved ones annoy us. My husband is no housekeeper, but he can be sweet and funny. I’ll bet it would be easier to find a man who’d put his dishes away than one who listens… it’s all about being grateful for what you have, and noticing the positives. He’s not suddenly going to become super-housekeeper, but that’s okay.
On a related note, I know that most people begging for money are going to use that money to buy alcohol or drugs. I know this because of the work I do, so I don’t usually give them money. Maybe food, if I have it. My husband and I were at a gas station out in the ‘burbs, and a man came to us with a story about how he was stranded and needed gas money. I didn’t give him money, because at this point, I figure everyone is running game. The hubby said “I would have given him a few bucks if I had it, but my wallet’s empty.” I went on my usual rant about how he’s probably lying, and my husband shrugged and replied, “Well, I know. But what if he isn’t? It’s only a couple dollars.”
I don’t feel that it’s whether I do or don’t give out money that’s the problem, but my attitude is wrong. I’m looking for the negative, and when I do that, I’m likely to find it. It’s wrong to make assumptions about people, even if it is based on experience. Because really, at the end of the day, what would it have hurt me to assume the man was telling the truth instead of defaulting to “he’s running game”?
It’s better to look for and expect the positive. The negative is still going to be there, but I don’t have to give it my energy.