Day 15: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Asking “What’s Right About This?”

I have been in the habit of seeing what’s wrong about any situation, idea, thing, etc. for most of my life.

Why? I think there was a time when it was a “squeaky wheel gets the grease” strategy. Unhappy, misbehaving kids tend to get more attention than happy, obedient children.

And apparently, Enneagram 4’s tend to focus in on what’s wrong or missing. We’re more likely to be hard wired to “hope for the best but expect the worst.” If there was ever a recipe for a life of disappointment and regret, that’s it in a nutshell.

So what can I do to create a habit of seeing what’s right?

Here is what I’m doing:

I ask myself “what’s right about this situation?”

Then I think of as many things as I can that are positive. It doesn’t matter how small those things are.  For example, last night we were having problems with our Internet connection and couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Usually I relax in the evening by watching something on Netflix. My husband often joins me and I look forward to this time with him.

It would have been easy for me to have gone into an emotional tailspin about not having the Internet. I can really freak out over things like that.

Instead I asked myself, “What’s right about this?” I thought of all the things that were positive. For example:

  • I had two movies I could watch on my iPhone.
  • I had a good book to read.
  • I could put on my leopard print flannel pajamas and read.
  • We had electricity which meant we had heat and on a cold winter night, a warm house is wonderful.
  • Electricity also meant I could easily read my book.
  • I could pop some microwave popcorn which is my favorite snack and eat it while I watch one of the movies.
  • I could even read in bed!
  • I couldn’t do any work really, so I could let my son use my computer so he could edit a video he created for a class.
  • I got to bed at a reasonable hour (I often end up staying up late watching shows on Netflix).
  • I didn’t have a glass of wine with dinner or eat junk food (again I want to cut back on alcohol and junk food).

So it ended up being a great night instead of one filled with trauma and drama.

Continuing to Check in with Myself Emotionally

I can go through an entire day feeling vaguely anxious and depressed without even realizing that’s what I’m feeling.

My intention is to check in on an hourly basis and take an emotional temperature reading. And if I’m feeling those low level emotions, to ask “what am I thinking?” “what’s really going on below?” This is because so often my vague emotions are the public face of a deeper sadness or fear and by looking at the underlying emotions, I can heal and let go.

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