There Is Always a Silver Lining

It may look like its bleak out there. Certainly our current climates here in the US are different than many of us could ever recall or may ever experience in one lifetime. We have the equal power however to see the optimistic side of what we’re currently faced with. I’m not asking you to be on the way opposite of the spectrum in regards to being positive. But, rather I would argue balanced. Just enough awareness to be safe about the negative and bring some perspective to what this new situation in front of us can teach us or make us better.

Why bother? As a human race, we ruminate. We ruminate on negatives that have completely made our lives go sideways. We just do. We all do it at one point or another. It’s okay. But, it is not okay to live there. To much focus on that negative can cast a dark blanket over what are already dark times. Multiplying something way out of its norm. This can create depressive thinking. It can increase our isolation from others.

Key components I have found in optimism is a bit bright side in thinking. But, not so far over to the other side of negative that I am naïve in thinking and not self-aware of what can be harmful in my life. But just enough that I can cope with stress, create better relationship connections, and understand where I can help myself or others. I have an exercise I’ve shared on other postings that I’ve used to help me seek and find balance. It takes 15 minutes a day.

To begin I bring 5 things into my start of the day that I am grateful for. Or, 5 things that make my life enjoyable, worthwhile, and help me grow. Putting these things into context first helps me find them in the work ahead for the day. These are the things in my work that I want to find during my day as I work through how to be intentional with my work/life. The whole idea is to shift myself into a positive mindset before anything else has a chance to take up residence in my mind that isn’t positive.

Now that I am there, I will work through what it feels like when things don’t go my way. Where I’ve become frustrated, irritated, short with others, and how that comes about. I’ll often take my journal and write out in a few sentences or paragraphs how this happens. It helps a couple different things when I do this. One, it helps me get it out of my head so something else much more positive can have that space. Two, it helps me deal with it and confront it so it doesn’t linger.

Now that those negative things are out there on paper (or on the screen of our choice) I’ll list out things that I overlooked. Things that because I was in that negative state I might have missed out on even though it was negative. The silver linings in the bad. Here’s an example of one I had recently:

It’s raining so I can’t go outside to run and COVID-19 has shut down my local 24 hour gym so I can’t get my run in. My favorite thing to do is to run outside for my physicals activity. When I can’t do that I have a 24 hours gym with all kinds of equipment that I can create a Plan B in place of running outside. Now, I don’t have that and I feel like I can’t do anything.

Some positives when I really tore it down that helped me get through and not ruminate once I thought about it:

  • I researched at home gym work outs that didn’t require me to be at a gym to get the same work out. Easy if not easier to do than getting in my car to drive to the gym.
  • Instead of running, I found a different way to engage my core and legs with jump roping in doors.
  • By doing these work outs at home, my wife got to see what I was into and had questions and curiosities of her own that I was able to share. Some that she may even use herself to be healthier.
  • I found restorative yoga which can improve my running skills.

That negative turned out to be the catalyst for me to learn some different ways to stay physically fit that I hadn’t even used previously before in my routines. Now I’ve got them back into my routines, they’re going to stick around. They are also ideas that I can share with others in the same struggle.

Love this quote that kind of brings it all together:

“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”

Ram Dass

Taking our current climate of negativity feeling trapped, putting it through those paces, and seeing the bright sides of dark clouds can increase our happiness in ways we’ve never thought before possible. It can help us discover new potential. It can help us rediscover what drives us. We can boost our own self-worthiness to do some really great things.

It’s my hope as you do this exercise for 15 minutes a day you’ll start to see potential I saw in myself. In fact, your new skill might be finding a way to be self-aware of the bright side more easier and frequently even when there is zero to find around you.

People look for that in others. You can become someone that helps them with just what they needed to get by. If enough of us together can do this for others, our current climate doesn’t have to be the current climate. It can be something else altogether. It is where we see the best of our humanity come to life.

Thanks for reading and your incredible patience while I’ve tried to reset myself. I hope I could help.

✌ Shawn

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