Looking for the Good When Things Look Bad (Some Holiday Thoughts)

I’m going through my usual “down in the dumps” holiday slump at the moment. But you know what? I am so tired of it. I’m so bored with feeling sad when everyone else (right?) is perfectly happy with their lives. No one else is thinking of those they’ve lost, of things that are difficult and/or painful in their lives: things that make it hard to feel happy.

So instead of feeling powerless, I want to be powerful. I want to consciously and deliberately choose to be positive and hopeful, to look ahead with hope and joy to the future.

There’s a thing that some of us do to ourselves that the psycho-professionals call “negative self-talk.” It’s the habit of thinking and saying things to ourselves that are discouraging rather than encouraging. I am quite sure that I am a frequent practitioner of negative self-talk.

While it may be an ingrained habit of mine, it doesn’t mean that I can’t change it. So I’m just going to change it. Some examples:

Instead of thinking, “I wish my husband/my son’s father and my parents were alive for Easter,” I’m going to think, “Thank God I have my son, my brothers, my sisters-in-law, my nieces, nephews and cousins. Thank God I have my sweetheart. I’m going to see what I can do to visit with some of them this weekend.”

Instead of saying to myself, “I wish things had worked out differently in my life in the area of ________________,” (you can fill in your own area here), I’m going to say, “I like the way things are going in the area of_____________.”

Instead of thinking, “I’m not optimistic that___________is going to work out,” I’m going to say, “I think that_________has a great chance to develop into something very positive.”

Why should I surrender all the power over my life — over my thoughts and my actions — to some self-defeating habit of dwelling on what I’m unhappy about, to the complete exclusion of what I am happy about?

The things that I am happy about don’t just disappear because it’s a holiday. I think about them at non-holiday times. So why not now?

I am literally going to change my mind by practicing what I’m preaching. When I catch the usual negative thought beginning to erupt, I am just going to nip it right in the bud and replace it with a thought that focuses on one of the many positives in my life.

You can try this too. If things look or feel bad for you this holiday season, try looking for the good; try feeling good about something.

It sounds ridiculously simple. So this year, why not give something so simple a chance to make a significant difference in your attitude toward the holidays? What have we got to lose?

I pray that God blesses all of us during this Easter and Passover season.