I declared 2017 as a year of peace and joy for myself. In these days and times, it is so easy to get caught up in the negativity of the day-to-day hustle and bustle. Being “busy” is the new thing and talking about how stressed you are is the norm. It feels like we’re in a competition to see who has the most miserable life (or if you are on social media, who has the most exciting life, LOL). Some people seem to have drama standing at their doorstep every day. And for some strange reason, they seem to happily welcome this drama into their lives only to then spend hours lamenting to others about how bad their lives are. You have your Debby Downers who will kill any party or celebration or even just a regular old day with how this won’t work and how that is destined to fail, how everything is impossible so why should we even try. You have those who have perfected the Pity Party and never seem to catch a break in life. They live a life of constant, “Woe is me.” And then you have those who live by the mantra of “Misery loves company” who seem to seek out other people’s hard times and personal problems and spend hours spreading these people’s business, sharing stories of sadness and despair every where they go, gloating in the fact that their lives are not the only messed up ones. You can literally see a dark, ominous cloud floating over them as they approach you. When you see these people coming, I advise you to run.
Flipping on the TV or going online only makes matter worse. While technology has made life easier for us and has made the world seem so much smaller by allowing us to have instant contact with and information about people halfway around the world, it’s also a huge source of our fear and anxiety. Just as quickly as bad news occurs, we can see and hear about it. Heck, we may even catch it happening live. Your day can quickly go from one of happiness and peace to one of shock, fear, and sadness with just a click of a button. Horror stories are sensationalized and recapped over and over until you start to question if there is any good left in the world.
All of this negativity can be overwhelming. It’s easy to find yourself drowning in all of it or, worse, being a source of it. This is why I have been making a conscious effort to seek out positivity wherever I go. Whether it’s at work, home, or online, I make sure that who or what I invite into my life brings with them some level of positivity. Now I am not claiming that everyone that I speak to is only talking about unicorns and rainbows or that I never watch the news and get scared or that I just try to pretend that bad things don’t happen. I am definitely not saying that everything that comes out of my mouth is something positive and uplifting. I have my days, too, when I have had enough, when I am frustrated or angry or annoyed or downtrodden or just don’t care. But I refuse to let that be my norm.
First of all, I have definitely learned that the people you choose to interact with, whether in person or online, can have a huge influence on your day and your life. If you hang out with people who lives play out like a soap opera or could possibly be the next highly-rated reality TV show, then you can be sure that your life will start to mirror theirs. If the only thing you look at online or on TV is people fighting, cursing, and behaving badly, well….you get the point. Although I have never been one to be a part of drama anyway, I have, within the last couple of years, made it my goal to purposely seek out people who are ambitious, kind, giving, and motivating, people who are like me, striving to be a better version of themselves every day. Not only do they want to succeed and be happy, they want the same for others. Online, I have become a member of many different groups that are there to encourage people to learn and grow, or I follow people who posts make my heart smile and who motivate me to get up, get out, and get something, to achieve greatness in my life. I now completely understand that while I am online I can choose to ignore whatever negativity pops up on my screen. I don’t have to be a “victim” to the hate, hurt, violence, or despair that can often be found there.
The other thing that has started to keep me grounded is starting my day with Jesus. I joined an online devotional group in January that was started by a woman that I greatly admire (and I get to meet her in person this month). One thing that she said that she does is write in her prayer journal every morning and then she reads her devotional. The way that she described how this time with Jesus sets up her day and gives her peace touched me deeply, so I thought that I would give it a try. Now I start each day with my prayer journal, then I read our devotional for the day from the book Jesus Always, read from my daily Bible plan on my Bible app, and then finish off reading a few pages from whatever motivational book that I am reading at the time (right now it’s Chase that Lion). Yes, I have to get up a bit earlier, but it is so worth it! I have felt so much more peace and joy for the past month and a half because I have taken the time to get my day started off right.
I’ve said all this just to say that we can either choose to wallow in the negativity that is out there, only focusing on the bad and never noticing the good. Or we can choose to start each day with a heart of gratefulness and a mind focused on how blessed we are. We can choose to surround ourselves with people and images that bring us down, cause us stress, and leave us feeling empty. Or we can choose to surround ourselves with positivity, to seek out the people and images that bring us joy, that make us remember how beautiful and wonderful life can be, that challenge us to be a blessing to others. Every day won’t be a fairy tale just because you choose to be more positive. It might even seem like more bad things are thrown your way. However, just like someone determined to lose weight wouldn’t fill their pantry with cookies, candy, and chips but instead would stock their fridge with veggies and fruits, the more you fill your life with beauty, positivity, and excellence, the easier it will be to stay on track.
So no disrespect, but please keep your negativity to yourself. I’m on a mission to live the greatest life that I possibly can.
Only positive vibes are welcomed here!