Happiness

Turning a series of unfortunate events into a series of fortunate events

Have you ever heard the saying, “When it rains, it pours”?

Essentially, it’s a metaphor for when everything in your life just seems like it’s falling apart. One unfortunate event after another keeps happening until you’re almost laughing at how pitiful your life seems (or at least that’s how I react when this happens).

It’s almost as if you’re a magnet for misfortune, but why?

Life gives back what you put in

A while back, I watched a documentary on Netflix, titled The Secret, that was about changing your life with a positive mindset. It showed the power of positivity and used science to explain how having a positive outlook on life would actually make positive things happen to you.

Of course, I was skeptical when I started watching it. How can your life improve just by your thinking it will? That’s not possible. But as I watched the documentary, it all started to make sense, and the saying “When it rains, it pours” proves it.

Let’s imagine…

You hear the incessant sound of your alarm clock blaring in your ears. You wake up, but refuse to open your eyes. How is it already morning? Regardless, you reach over, snooze the alarm and look at the date on your phone. Ugh, I hate Mondays.

Your lack of sleep from the night before makes it almost excruciating to get out of bed, and you’re already looking forward to coming home from work and slumping onto the couch. Today is going to be awful.

As you walk out the door, you notice it’s raining. Why does it seem like the weather is always awful on Mondays? You sling a raincoat over your head and make your way to your vehicle.

You drive through rush hour to work, and you’re stuck in traffic, yet again. I guess it’s just going to be one of those days. You’re late, you feel like a mess and you just do not want to be here.

You sit down at your desk after giving a half-smile to your coworkers, then scurry to the break room to make some coffee, because God knows you need it. After brewing a new pot of coffee, you sit down at your desk, inhaling the sweet, sweet smell of caffeine. Yessssss, finally. And boom. Coffee spills all over your shirt and pants, leaving you burned and damp. Yup, it’s one of those days.

After a workday filled with those little annoying-and-somewhat-painful moments, you rush to your car to get home—only to rear end someone. Of course. Of course this happens on a day like today. You spend the next two hours exchanging insurance information and reassuring your concerned father that everything is okay. After all, it’s just one of those days.

What seems like days later, you get home, throw a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven and sit on the couch to relax. Finally.  You turn on the TV and an ever-familiar blue box pops up on the screen, reading “Searching for satellite.” Now, you’re mad. Are you kidding? I just want to relax after the awful day I’ve had and this has to happen? My life is a joke.

When it rains, it pours.

The secret

The concept of the Netflix documentary I watched is that we get out whatever we put in to the world. If we think we are going to have a bad day, then we will, but why? And how?

We can’t control what happens to us. We can’t control the fact that someone stopped abruptly, causing us to hit him. We can’t control the fact that our cable or satellite isn’t working. We can’t control the amount of traffic that appears on the roadways. It just is what it is. What we can control is how we react to these situations, and how we let them affect our mood, well-being and outlook on the rest of the day (and even our lives).

If you think you are going to have a bad day, then you are going to have a bad day. Not because you have some terrible streak of bad luck, but because you’re looking for the bad to happen. You’re seeking out the bad in the world and driving it into your life. You are letting the negative experiences get to you, instead of turning them into positive ones.

Let’s imagine… again

The same exact scenario happens: You hear the sound of your alarm clock. You wake up, but gently open one eye. How is it already morning? Regardless, you reach over, snooze the alarm and look at the date on your phone. I’m going to need some coffee to get me going today.

You slide out of bed, going against the pull of your body wanting you to stay, and head over to the kitchen to make a fresh pot of coffee. This should get me going. You head back to your bedroom, and get ready to begin your day.

As you walk out of your door, you notice it’s raining. I guess I should probably grab my umbrella. You walk out to your vehicle and notice a few flowers poking out of the grass. Finally, spring is on its way!

You drive through rush hour to work, stuck in traffic and you notice flashing lights up ahead. Oh no, I hope everything’s okay. You’re late, but your boss will understand. After all, you can’t control what happens on the road.

You sit down at your desk after saying good morning to your surrounding coworkers and hearing about how they spent their weekends. One of your closest coworkers asks if you want to head over to Starbucks to grab some coffee. I don’t have a problem with more caffeine.

After keeping yourself busy at an average day of work, you begin walking to your car to head home. On your way out, you wish your coworkers a good night, and even help with a task before heading out for the night. I’ll just make a quick, easy meal tonight, no biggie.

You finally get home after sitting in more traffic because someone got rear ended, so you throw a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven and sit on the couch to relax. Finally.  You turn on the TV and begin watching your guilty pleasure—The Real Housewives of whatever city because they’re all so dramatic it’s hilarious.

When you put good into the world, good comes back out.

A good day vs. a bad day

These two scenarios were changed ever so slightly, but one ended up so much better than the other, and it’s all about the attitude of the person. The person who had a god-awful day was so preoccupied with how terrible the day was going to be, that she didn’t notice those little glimmers of hope.

She didn’t notice the fresh flowers poking through the grass. She didn’t say hello to her co-workers and talk to them about their great weekends (and reminisce on hers).  She didn’t get the opportunity to grab some much-needed Starbucks. And she didn’t notice that the car in front of her stopped abruptly, because she was so focused on getting home to end her terrible day.

If you put negative thoughts and actions into the world, then that is exactly what you are going to get back. Not because you’re doomed to experience bad things, but because you are looking for them and ignoring the good. You are hurting yourself by being trapped in your own negative world, so why do you keep doing it?

Next time it rains, put on your rain boots, grab your umbrella and wait for the storm to pass. Instead of focusing on how hard it’s raining, focus on the rainbow that is bound to come next.

By radiating positivity, you will attract positivity. Good things have the same ability to come to you in waves the way bad things do. Instead of “When it rains, it pours,” it will be “When it shines, it blinds.” (Okay, I tried my hardest to think of a similar positive phrase. It was hard, and that’s the best I got. Let me know if you can think of something better, which you probably can.)

Be happy, and happiness will follow you. I can guarantee it.

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