Focus on the Many Things You Like (Not the One Thing You Don’t!)

The title of this post really says it all and is self-explanatory.  But, this concept was made crystal clear to me when I found myself focusing on one gift I received this holiday season that I didn’t like.  I had received so many wonderful gifts from various people and yet I was focusing on one “bad” gift.  This was only for a brief moment but it caught my attention.  Because this gift instance is a straight forward example, I was able to see the utter ridiculousness of putting our attention on what we don’t like or want.  Literally, surrounded by all these wonderful gifts and directing my attention at the one I didn’t like!

I realized how, as with the gifts, we have the choice to focus on one, or maybe even a few things, we don’t especially like or appreciate the multitude of other things we do like.  We can be (are!) surrounded by tons of good things – at times, they may seem like insignificant things, but they are good nonetheless – and miss them because we choose to emphasize the bad thing.

It’s pretty simple, so let’s not complicate it.  Do we want to dwell on the bad or good gifts?  What we put our attention and thoughts on determines how we feel.  The choice is ours.  (And remember, looking at the bad stuff won’t make it magically go away or improve.  See Law of Attraction and Joy)

What great gifts are all around you?

Positive Lists About “Bad” Situations

As discussed in the last post, it can be greatly beneficial to deliberately adjust our bad feeling about someone or something. This time we will focus on the something. First off, let’s point out a not so obvious reason why this can be beneficial.

There is indeed a silver lining to the dark cloud of being stuck in a situation we don’t like. When we know what we don’t want, we know what we do want because we know we want the opposite of what we don’t want! Did you get that? (Ha!) As always, we are mindful of making the best of whatever circumstances we may have gotten ourselves into. But, some things and events we just simply do not want. And that is perfectly okay; we all have preferences – that’s part of being human. So rather than fear, whine about, feel depressed or sulk around when things aren’t going as we may like, we can look at what the opposite of the unwanted situation is and realize and declare to the Universe, I now know very clearly what it is that I do want! This is a huge benefit of a “bad” situation or circumstance. Remember, to get what we want, we have to know what it is. That seems obvious, but a lot of the time we just focus on what we don’t like and don’t want and so that is what keeps getting replayed in our reality.

A personal example of mine was a particularly bad workday. I did not want to be doing that type of work anymore. I felt depressed and didn’t know where to turn next. After I felt bad for a few hours, I wised up and remembered it is okay to feel bad about this (briefly, let’s not get stuck in the bad feeling) because this is helping me to identify what it is that I really do want in a job. So I thought about what in particular I was struggling with at my job – too detail-oriented and not a meaningful objective. So, that meant I want to be working in something that is more big picture-oriented and meaningful to me.

With this shift in attention, our attitudes change from doom and gloom to hope and aspiration. From here, we can move on to making a Positive List about the bad situation. Just as we listed the positive things about another person in the last post, we do the same with the situation. But the positive aspects here ought to also include big-picture types of things, such as: an opportunity for personal growth, what we became aware of from the “bad” situation, what we learned from mistakes or flaws (ours or other people’s), (I love these quotes from Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”)

Consciously finding the positive in a “bad” situation or circumstance helps us to transcend the anguish, dread, anxiety, victimhood, fear and anger associated with it and frees us from the mental burdens that stuck with us.

What “bad” situation are you mentally turning around today?

What This Blog is About and Why I Care About It

Hi!  Welcome to the Keys to Joy Blog.  I’m Karen Eller and this blog is about – you guessed it – how to be joyful.  This is where I will share my ideas on how to get more joy in our lives.  I will let you know what has (and hasn’t) worked for me.  I’ve learned through first-hand trial and error…out of dire necessity!  Explanation follows.  Please, read on…

I’ve always felt a general lack of joy throughout my life…for no apparent reason.  Nothing particularly devastating ever happened to me.  For example, I have never been physically or emotionally abused, neglected, poverty-stricken; I’m not an alcoholic or drug addict; never had an eating disorder, etc.  I had a terrific childhood and continue to have great relationships with my family. Despite no apparent reason, I have had a constant struggle throughout my life to find joy.  Not only have I been unhappy but, many times, I’ve spiraled down into a deeply depressed state – you know, the kind where you can’t get out of the fetal position in bed and contemplate bringing about The End.  I’ve been to therapists – who have helped me feel hopeful, but they never really gave me any lasting solutions.  And I have difficulty swallowing pills so medications were never an option!

My solutions have come from my own research.  I’ve read many, many, many, many (you get the idea) self-help/personal growth books and been to lots of mind-body-spirit retreats and seminars. So I would research and then try things out.  I experimented to see what actually made me feel better and which kept working over the long-haul.

My own intuition is a big part of all of this too.  A connection to God/Source/Creator/Universe/AlphaOmega/FatherMother –whatever you want to call Him/Her/It- helps me know what feels right and to have an inner sort of knowing which helps guide me.  (Much more about all that later.)

When I read a book, blog or article, I suppose it is the nosey side of me that likes to know mostly irrelevant things about the person whom is doing the writing. So here are some irrelevant (and some relevant) facts about me: I have been married for 20 years; I’m 40 something years old; no kids; one adorable, amazing Husky dog; I live in NC, born in PA; I am the youngest of 6 kids; I have a job as a programmer/data manager; I’m a reiki master; I have a Master’s degree in Sociology…That’s plenty to get started!

My disclaimer section: I am by no means perfect!  I have made my share of mistakes and have regrets about past actions (still working on forgiving myself and others).  And I still have down-in-the-dumps moments.  But, they don’t last as long nor come about as often.  Most importantly, when I do get in a bad funk, I don’t get so hopeless.  I remember and use my tools to help myself.  They work!!!

After years of helping myself, I thought it was time to share my methods with the world – well, the cyber world, at least.  My hope is that I can lead you to ideas for becoming more joyful yourself.   I also hope to get feedback and ideas from all of you readers out there too.  We are all in this Life together and need to help each other out whenever we can.  Let’s get joyful!