I wake up, it hits me every. single. morning. This really happened. This is really happening. It wasn’t a bad dream. It is a real life nightmare.
When you are in the thick of it, it is really hard to see that you are not alone. You feel like the unluckiest person in the world. Perhaps no one you know has experienced exactly what you are going through, but you are not the only person that has had bad things happen. Unfortunately, the majority of us have had to deal with some sort of hard stuff at some point. Some of us more than others, but it is there. Chances are if you have an honest conversation with just about anyone, each person will have his/her story. Everybody Hurts (R.E.M.).
Most of us don’t broadcast those stories to the world or wear them across our sleeve. It is so easy to look at others and assume they are luckier than you. The smiling confident woman may be tearing herself up inside because she goes home to an abusive relationship. That glowing pregnant woman may have struggled to conceive, or perhaps she endured several miscarriages before carrying this one. The fit bod at the gym may be doing her damnedest to overcome an eating disorder or negative self-image. Someone just buried a loved one. Someone received a diagnosis. Someone fears for the safety of their children. Someone was in an accident. Someone is going through a divorce. Someone was an assault victim. Someone is battling addiction. Someone is lonely. Someone is scared. Someone is lost.
Consider some of the minute things we complain about:
Your kids are acting up? To all of the people who can’t have kids, you are lucky.
It rained on your vacation? To all of those who can’t afford a vacation at all, you are lucky.
Your house is too small? To those without a home, you are lucky.
The grass may always seem greener, but take a moment to count your own lucky clovers. I challenge you: along with spring cleaning our houses, let’s spring clean our thoughts.
Take a moment and count your blessings. Challenge yourself to sit down and make a list of 100 things for which you are grateful. If that is too overwhelming, each night before going to bed, think of three positive things that happened that day. (Even if it is just that you are alive!)
I truly believe we have the ability to change our experiences through our thoughts. As I outlined in The #1 Way to Turn Your Luck Around, having a positive attitude and expressing gratitude makes life’s challenges more bearable. It gives you faith in life, in others, and in yourself. It helps you see there is light at the end of the tunnel and to recognize that setbacks are just that: setbacks. When you realize how lucky you really are, more rainbows will come your way.