This weekend I watched the movie Antman (great movie, if you haven’t seen it yet!). In one of the scenes where Luis is driving his friend Jack home after a several year prison stay, Scott asks Luis how things have been, and how his girlfriend is doing. Luis responds, “Ah, she left me. And my mom died..and my dad got deported.” But after a pause, he grins and says, “At least I got the van!”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that we have no control over the cards we’re dealt with in our lives. We can only control how we react and respond. Like Luis, choosing to focus on the positive can have profound effects on our outlook on life and the way we view the world.
So when life gives you lemons…make lemonade, right? But that can be easier to say than to actually implement. Sometimes it can feel like you’re drowning and there’s no way to stay above the surface. In those times, remember, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.
What? Yeah. Seriously. I’m not talking about what you feed your stomach..although that can make a big difference in how you feel! It goes also for your mind too. If the thoughts you allow to pass through your head are predominantly negative, it’s like filling up a nice sports car with low grade gasoline: not going to end well.
Your thoughts are extremely powerful. What you feed your mind with actually determines the physiological makeup of your brain chemistry. But sometimes, the negative thoughts tend to stick around a little easier than the positive ones. Depressing, right? Hah, caught you in a negative thought! So how do you become a more positive person?
1) Be Proactive.
Negative thoughts can be very useful, if we choose to approach them constructively. They are great motivators for change. The key is choose whether to ACT on them to change things, or DISMISS them. And when you take a closer look, a lot of them simply are not grounded in reality, or the full truth.
2) Befriend Optimists.
Being a positive person is also about surrounding yourself with positive people. Who we spend our time with greatly impacts who we become. Choose your companions wisely, and find people who will uplift you and bring you to greater heights.
3) Count your blessings.
The practice of expressing gratitude for the gifts in your life can be a strong method of focusing your thoughts on the good things. No day is 100% miserable. When I started making an effort to recall three positive things that happened to me each day, no matter how bad of a day I was experiencing or how grumpy I became, those three little things I listed were bright shining stars that shed light through the dark storm clouds.
Life can get frustrating. But “may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your minds and hearts in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).