Notice the GoodJun 08, 2023
The good parts of your life are always there, even when we don't notice them. Today on the podcast, I’m talking about how to start paying more attention to some of them.
We’ll talk about why the good parts of life are often harder for us to see and 6 tools to help you notice more of the good stuff.
Holding the Good and the Bad
Your brain is on a crusade to tell you that everything is terrible. And sometimes, it’s right. Lots of things in this world are terrible. And there is also always good to be found.
This is the way life was designed. We were born into a fallen world where both good and bad exist.
Sometimes, the good can be hard to find because your brain is really good at pointing out all the negative stuff and not so good at noticing the positive.
Your brain also likes to tell you that life can’t be both good and bad. It must be one or the other. It’s trying to simplify things with this black and white thinking.
But being a human is more complex than that. Life really is both terrible and gorgeous, and it’s okay to feel both bad and good about it. You hold both, simultaneously, in your hands and in your heart and allow them both to be true.
If you can do this, it opens you up to more of your human experience and gives you more compassion for others and more choices in the way you feel.
Tools to Notice the Good
There’s no prize for being positive, you just get to feel differently. Let’s face it. It feels good to feel good.
The tools I’m offering today will help you to notice the good when you can’t see it so that you can feel a little better now and then.
Life is 50/50
We live in a fallen world, which means that there is opposition and contrast in all things.
So when your brain says, “Look, it's all bad”, your brain is wrong. There are equal amounts of negative and positive. Your brain is only giving you half of the story.
When you understand this, it gives you permission to look for the good that might be hidden from your view. Acknowledge the hard, then ask, “What else is true here?”
Be in the present moment
I find that when we are feeling a lot of negative emotion, we’re usually in the past or the future. It’s so much easier to find the positive if we can be as present as possible inside our bodies and our current experience.
Try focusing on what you are feeling in your physical body.
It can also be interesting to pay attention to the past or future moment your brain wants to go to.
Then, recognize that right now, in the present, you are okay.
I think being grateful is about noticing that you are the beneficiary to so much that you did not create.
To paraphrase Steve Jobs, we live in homes we didn’t build, wear clothing we didn’t make, eat food we didn’t grow. We enjoy so much that was created by others. And all of these things can help us find the good.
And in the words of Michael J. Fox, “I realized with gratitude, optimism is sustainable. And if you can find something to be grateful for, then you can find something to look forward to, and you carry on.”
Say “yes” to this reality
In order to notice the good in life, you have to acknowledge your reality. We can’t hide from or ignore the negative. The struggles in our life are real. And our reality is always changing.
We often try to make up an alternate reality based on what we “should have” done or what would be different if… We tell ourselves that what is happening now is wrong.
The problem is, we can’t find the good here because we’re rejecting it all for some alternate (imaginary) version of our lives.
When we can accept our reality, we have a chance to find the good and be happy in it.
Be purposeful about finding the good
The good already exists. We don’t need to make it up. We just need to bring our attention to it, and this takes intention and purpose. It takes practice to train our brains in this way.
Decide for yourself how you will start noticing the awesome things about your life.
Remember that everything is temporary
Sometimes when we're in pain, things are hard, and it all just feels so dark, we get scared that it’s always going to be this way.
But everything is temporary.
There's nothing wrong with feeling bad. It's only one moment. It's only right now, and things will change.
Every moment is new, and every moment we are new.
A simple way to acknowledge these shifts is by noticing the doorways in your life. Notice that every time you walk through a doorway, you can begin again. You can choose to carry a new feeling through the door with you.
I like knowing that life is both beauty and terror.
It takes work to notice the good, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it. It doesn't mean that it isn't real or that you're just pretending because you have to work for it.
If you want to feel better, it can be yours.
- Prompts to bring you back to the present
- A simple (and fun!) exercise to train your brain to notice more good
- 6 ways to notice the good in your life
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