One thing that I think we can all agree we are growing weary of is what seems to be the growing rate of violent crime in our world today. As I write this there are reports from the great state of Maryland of a shooting at a newspaper office where 5 people were killed and others were injured. It seems every night you turn on the news, or every morning you pick up the newspaper you read about senseless violence where someone has lost their life. Is this a result of better technology in communicating these crimes? Is it the result of the internet making this a smaller world? Are we becoming less tolerant? Are we becoming desensitized to violence and death due to media and video games? I imagine the answer is probably a little of all the above.
With all of the consumption of negativity you can find yourself feeling quite down. With more people reading more stories of violence we could quickly find ourselves living in a world of people depressed and losing hope. It is my belief that this lack of hope and barrage of negative news can push people who are on the edge to slip into a world of violence.
What is the solution? Are we to bury our heads in the sand and pretend all of this is not happening? The answer is both yes and no. Certainly you need to be aware of your world and what is transpiring, but you do not need to be inundated with it. You must ask yourself if reading every article on every mass shooting will do anything to enhance your life? What it will do is drain your spirit. This is why this and many other sites advocate limiting or better yet eliminating consumption of nightly news. There are apps for weather, sports or anything else you may need to know.
Is there something that we can do that is proactive? The simplest thing we can do is also one of the most powerful and also one of the most difficult. Do not let the constant feeding of negativity get us down. Easier said than done, but it can happen. When I hear of stories of great tragedy in the news I always look for the helpers. A secret I learned from Mr. Rogers. Eventually and in some way tragedy has a way of bringing the best out of some people and bringing people together. If you can’t find a helper, or even if you can, focus on being one.
When I hear of violence or some other tragic news story I know there is even more importance in what I do. The world needs more of a balance of positive to the negative. This was the very reason I began what I do. When I hear of violence in the world I use it as a stark reminder I have far more work to do, and urgent motivation to reach more souls. Victims and their families and friends are not the only people who need encouragement. Those committing the crimes may feel there is no hope. If only they knew they were people who care, even if they are half a world away.
This is where you come in. My words can’t reach everyone. Especially Iceland and Greenland who seem to be two countries I just cannot reach. What we need to do is all work on becoming lights to the world. Whether it is meeting your neighbors as discussed in last week’s post, sharing this blog or just encouraging someone who needs it. Let us all remember it is only light that can remove the darkness.
This is, by far, my favorite quote. It is a lesson I find we should all live by. There are two ways I enjoy looking at this quote. The first one is about ‘walking the walk’. One of the worst things we can see is someone who professes one thing, but then does another. If you want your life to be filled with less drama, but you spend your afternoon writing on social media about how filled with drama everyone else is, you are only adding to that. If you want the world to have less drama, start with yourself. There is only one person that we can have complete control over in this world and that is ourselves.
That brings me to the second way in which I enjoy this quote, as sense of hope. This is why I am writing what I do today. For those of you unfamiliar with my story, it was at the depths of darkest despair that my journey of positivity started. I was facing many negative situations in my personal life and was desperately seeking a solution from outside of myself. Everywhere I looked it seemed as if I saw one negative thing after another. The newspaper was full of negative news meant to sell and shock. The evening news on television was more of the same. I saw posts on social media that were certainly less than inspiring.
All of this negativity everywhere was not only frustrating, but had me enraged at times. It may be how some of you feel. I felt angry at politicians and celebrities that seemed to have no regard for human decency. The media only reporting these stories caused more frustration. Seeing people treating each other with hate and prejudice made me so mad.
I wanted to change governments to be more responsible and caring towards the people they serve and less driven by profit. I wanted celebrities to use their fame and position for good. It would also be nice for more of them to respect the people that allowed them to achieve that status. I wanted more people to live in light and love and treat each other with respect and compassion.
Do I still want all of these things? Absolutely. The difference is I decided to be that change. I joined political causes I believe brought about unity and positive change. I made sure I did my best to be an example of treating people with respect and compassion. Daily I work to spread positive news and keep the negative things I hear to myself. I wished more men acted as gentleman, so I do my best to treat my lady as I want to see all men treat theirs. In every way I strive to lead by example. I realized the best thing I could do to reduce the amount of negative people in the world was not be one of them.
What change do you wish to see in the world? Ask yourself honestly, do you embody that change? It may seem like changing yourself is only a small change, but doing so has caused several big changes in my own life. First, by focusing on being positive and not adding to the negative, I have felt more positive myself. I have attracted into my life people who have the same goals and aspirations as I do. Changing yourself has a ripple effect that touches the lives of so many others. If every one of us focused solely on being the change we wished to see in the world, the world we see would change.
Margie and I saw the movie Paddington 2 the other night. If you are not familiar with the story of Paddington allow me to catch you up. He is a bear that lived in Peru, but found his way to London and was adopted by the Brown family.
Paddington is a lovable bear who, despite the best of intentions, often finds himself in sticky situations. Sometimes figuratively, often literally due to his love of marmalade.
Despite being very entertaining, there is often moral lessons to every Paddington story. It is one of these I would like to share with you.
Everywhere Paddington goes, he seems to make friends. That is due to his moral code installed in him by his aunt Lucy who lives in the home for retired bears in Peru. I know this all may seem a bit silly and over the top, but bear with me (every pun intended) I think we will all have a lesson we can use.
Paddington is a constant example of good manners and virtue. 2 of the lessons he got from aunt Lucy are, if you are courteous and polite the world will be right and if you look for the good in people you will find it.
Stop and think if everyone on earth took these two lessons from this lovable bear, how amazing would this planet be? Perhaps you don’t have a moral code, or even an aunt Lucy to give you one, but I’m sure Paddington wouldn’t mind if we borrowed his.
I like this picture. “today is a good day for a good day”. Seems pretty logical, but how many of us actually wake up and decide, that is declare in a determined fashion, that today is going to be a great day? I suggest we all try that. Print this picture out to remind yourself. If you are anything like me, first thing in the morning remembering anything is a little tricky. I wonder how much I know before my first cup of coffee.
Ok enough about me and my ability to function without caffeine. Back to the matter at hand. When we begin the day determined to have a positive outcome and then face the day we give ourselves the advantage of starting out the day right. Even if we are faced with challenge after challenge, even if it turns out to be less than a great day, if we start with a determination to make it so we will surprise ourselves with how much control we have over this.
Not to mention, what makes a great day? Sure everything going smoothly and receiving only good news that would count. Winning the lottery? Check. Waking up with the body of our dreams either our own or next to us would work. What about things not going well and hearing some troubling news? Do not answer too quickly. If those challenges could teach us a valuable lesson and help us grow that would be good. If hearing some troubling news allowed us to be help to a friend or even a shoulder to cry on, could that be good? Being able to show someone we care in their time of need is a good day even though it may not make us feel like grinning ear to ear. What about finding out we did not get that raise, or as so often has been happening in my case an unexpected auto repair? We can be grateful and appreciate the money we do have that although would much rather be applied to our Fiji vacation fund will at least still allow us to take care of our obligations. It may also show us new ways in which to make a little go a lot farther. Maybe we didn’t wake up with the body of our dreams, but we did wake up with the possibility to improve that. Maybe we still do not eat as healthy as we should, but we ate one less piece of pizza than we used to. Still working on the one myself.
The point being is this, Everyday can be a good day. More to the point, there is some good in each and every day. Does this sound like I am looking at life as the glass half full? Maybe. Is it true there is also bad in each and every day? Perhaps. Still, how does focusing on that make us feel? It is easy to do and everywhere we look we are reminded of such, but we have a choice. I am not advocating sticking your head in the sand and pretending there are no challenges, but to make the most of them. Begin to develop a habit of asking yourself, “What good can I find in this?”. At first it might be difficult, especially in the face of what seems to be a dark day. Ask this question enough and you will be amazed as to what answers your brain will come up with. Just keep asking “What good can I find in this situation?”. Do so with both positive and challenging situations. It will give your mind some good practice and help you feel the sense of accomplishment.
So this weekend let us determine to have a good day each and every day! Feel free to share this with your friends. Get them in the habit of finding the good in every situation as well. Working together you can help each other. Sometimes it takes an outsiders point of view to see some good you may be missing.
This has always been one of my favorite quotes. How often do we find ourselves lamenting a certain situation, event or person. I used to be as guilty as anyone of complaining the news was always negative, or people just seemed not to be as friendly as they used to be. Although i truly believe these observations to be accurate, what purpose did they serve? Sometimes events can seem to big for any of us to control. After all, what chance do I have of changing the way the nation broadcasts the news? Can I hope to make everyone treat each other with kindness? Of course the answer to both of those is no, but that forced me to revisit this quote. Sometimes the best way to begin changing the world, is by changing our own world. Now when I meet someone I try to share the positive news I have. If nothing uplifting has happened that day I may make mention of something I am grateful for. I also have made it a point to be friendly and even smile at complete strangers. To be honest it irritates a few and confuses a great many, but 90% of the time I am greeted with a smile in return. The point of all this? The strangest thing has happened since I’ve started doing this, people now make it a point to share their good news with me, and I have made quite a few new friends through my innocent smiles. So by attempting to be the change I wished to see in the world, my world has slowly changed. So I challenge you all, next time you are upset about something try to figure out what you could do to bring the opposite into being.