Life is one big trial. There are going to be good times and there will be some bad as well. How we handle the adversity can determine the type of experience we have. It is really easy to let the bad things in your life knock you down, and after this has happened for long enough people tend to put on what I call “negativity goggles”.
Let’s consider a completely random example to help me make my point. Let’s say there is a man named Charlie Brown that has been laid off from a job that paid enough to provide him and his family with an upper-middle class lifestyle. The financial stress puts a wedge in his marriage. The family has had to shave some monthly expenditures off of their cable, internet, and cell phone bills and the kids have had to cut back on their activities. This puts a strain on everyone now. A couple months later Mr. Brown obtains employment making about $15,000 a year less than what he was used to. His savings has taken a huge hit, his marriage is on the outs, and his kids are acting out at this point. The Brown family ends up selling their little BMW and replaces it with a used Hyundai Sonata. The cutbacks on the bills and kids activities have to stay in place and the annual family vacation to Cabo is now going to be a thing of the past. A lifestyle change has taken place, but they are still making ends meet. Mrs. Brown finally leaves Mr. Brown and the following months are filled with nasty arguments and divorce hearings. Mr. Brown ends up alone.
This example is a fairly common story in America these days. Financial issues are a huge cause of divorce. The problem is that Mr. Brown ended up landing on his feet again, but the lifestyle change had to become permanent because of the lower salary. Mrs. Brown put on her negativity goggles at one point and it doomed the whole ordeal. She refused to see the positive things around her. What positive things? Well, they found a way to make ends meet again. While they didn’t have the BMW anymore, they at least had a car. Everyone was in good health at the time and they didn’t have to move out of their house. Their savings account may have taken a hit, but they still had enough left to handle another financial emergency and that is more than most folks can say anymore. I could go on and on here. There was still so much to be thankful for and so many great things in her life, but her negativity goggles only allowed her to focus on the negative. Mrs. Brown dwelled on the fact that they couldn’t vacation in Cabo, her beloved BMW was gone, their cable and phone plans were cut back, and the kids couldn’t participate in 100 different activities anymore. She let something as petty as a decrease in income completely distort her view of her husband. She lost respect for him, viewed him as less of a man, and eventually couldn’t stand the thought of being with him anymore. In all actuality he was the same person she had married. The only thing that changed was his income and in the world today we are not always in control of that. Unfortunately, Mrs. Brown was now refusing to acknowledge the blessings in her life and only focused her attention to the seemingly negative things that happened. Mrs. Brown is the one that has changed.
To take this example even further, let’s consider Mr. Brown’s existence now. He has found himself alone and living in an apartment. He only gets to see the kids every other weekend and his ex has poisoned their minds in a way so they aren’t as loving and respectful as before. He doesn’t really like his new job either. For a while, Mr. Brown starts to put on the negativity goggles. He started throwing pity parties and fell into depression. He noticed that after a while his family and friends were becoming more distant. After some careful self-examination, he finally realizes that his misery is pushing folks away. The negativity goggles start to come off. He realizes that, while he may not like his job, at least he has one and it pays quite a bit better than the national average. He may not live in a nice, new house anymore, but he starts to realize that his little apartment is nice enough for his needs. He even at one point thinks about how nice it is that he doesn’t have to do yard work anymore! The more little blessings in his life he starts to pay attention to, the more his mood is elevated. This effect snowballs. He starts trying to make the most of his limited time spent with his kids, and they become more affectionate and loving toward him. Instead of staying home and sulking in his misery all the time he begins to reach out to his friends once again and hits the town with them every once in a while. Mr. Charlie Brown turns things around. All he had to do was stop obsessing over what he considered to be bad in his life and start focusing on the good things.
Bottom line folks….your life isn’t going to be perfect. Still, it could always be worse. You could be homeless, alone, unemployed, and terminally ill living in a 3rd world country surrounded by riots and violence on a daily basis. Even those folks tough it out. Don’t dwell on the bad things because it will cause you to totally miss out on all of the good things. More than likely, there are a lot of good things in your life. You just have to removed the negativity goggles to see them.