Life is really beautiful when you stop looking for all the things that are "wrong with it". Tweet It!
If you're a human you're probably guilty of focusing on what's wrong about your life. Don't worry though, it's not your fault. You can blame this nifty little habit on your reptilian brain who's sole purpose is to protect you and help you survive.
Naturally, this reptilian brain it's going to bring to your attention anything that is potentially "threatening" to your survival. But since this is the safest time there has ever been to be alive, our reptilian brains are getting a little bored, feeling a little useless, and having to look for problems elsewhere.
And that is why we are always so focused on the negative (even if life is actually pretty good)!
Clearly, this habit of constantly noticing what's going wrong is not serving anyone because whatever we focus on expands. So it's time to overcome this bad habit and experience a more beneficial perspective about our lives. Which will lead us to better, more badass, more abundant lives!
So how do we do we stop focusing on what's wrong so more things can go right? Well, you're about to find out!
The Problem with Focusing on What's Wrong
As a perfectionist/overachiever who always finds the room for improvement in any given situation, the lesson above has been striking a chord with me lately.
Not because I didn't know that we should not spend too much time focusing on the gap from where we are and where we want to go, but because I couldn't seem to figure out how to surrender to life enough and be able trust it to always take care of me.
If you're always looking for and focusing on what's wrong in your life, even if it is with the intent of improving it, you're never going to be able to fully enjoy how wonderful and beautiful your life already is.
Because when you do this you are living an extremely conditional lifestyle.
"Yeah... some things are going good, BUT I just got fired from my job."
"If only I had a partner to share my joys with then my life would be perfect."
"Some things in my life are pretty ok, but I'm consumed by the one thing that is going wrong."
In other words, life would be good IF only that one thing was not wrong. Meaning you are judging how good your life is based on the conditions that surround you.
When you live like this it is very hard to be in control of your mood and manifest the things that you want.
The Things to Accept if you want to stop Focusing on what's Missing
The thing to accept if you want to stop focusing on what's missing is... You're never going to FULLY arrive to where you want to go. Because as soon as you do you'll have a new goal or desire to go after, which is actually great!
There will always be more desires and more expanding that unfolds as you walk along your path in life. And thanks to this you will always be growing.
So accept where you are and, at the same time, look forward to where you're going. But there's no need to complain about what's missing, because if you keep doing that, it's likely never going to come.
It helps to accept that you will have it all, but just not all at once.
Imagine if you ate every single good meal you were ever going to have all in one sitting! Is that what you really want? No!
You want to have good meals all the time, spread out over the course of the rest of your life. So what's the rush to have everything perfect right now?
What I'm getting at is the best and most enjoyable way to live life is to train your focus and thoughts so that you can find peace and appreciation for the present moment and everything that comes with it, regardless of what you might think is "wrong" about it.
I use air quotes because even the worst things that happen in life are here as in invitation for growth. In other words, while they do sometimes feel like a curse when you are going through them, in reality, they are always a blessing.
The depression I suffered through for three years (You can read more about my story here.) turned out to be one of the biggest blessings of my life. Because without it I would most definitely not be living this amazing life that I have now or teaching others how to have one too. I can see this clearly now looking back.
The time when I was injured from dancing and could not pursue it professionally also felt like one of the worst times of my life, but not only did it steer me onto a new path, but healing from the experience made me a much more whole person.
"You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference."
-Steve Jobs [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]
In the moment that something is not going the way you had hoped, it's not very easy to see it as a blessing. Trust me, I get it!
You'll probably feel like the victim of life's circumstances and play the whole "why me?" game, but when you come out the other side, you realize, "Wow, that thing totally made me a better person..." or "Dang, if I had never been dumped by that guy I would never have met this amazing one who is way better for me!" or "I'm so glad that thing never happened how I wanted it to because Life knew better and steered me in the right direction."
Thank God for those moments that ultimately serve our highest good!
Tools that will Help you Focus on What's Right
If you're a control freak like me, surrender is an almost impossible idea. Just the idea of letting go of the reins can give you enough anxiety to make you sweat.
So how can we do it?
Well, it all starts by just doing it and seeing how it goes. Treat surrender as an experiment if you must.
What would happen if you just let go for a certain amount of time and let the Universe do her thing for you?
In his book he tells the story of how magical and perfect life became once he started surrendering and going with the flow of things. And guess what, it all worked out for him!
And it will for you too. Because life is taking care of you, and listening to what you want, all you have to do is start getting out of our own way in order to receive it!
Since it's extremely hard to just think about nothing, if you want to stop focusing on what's going wrong you have to fill your head up with thoughts about everything that's going right.
This is where a daily gratitude practice comes in!
Weather you use a journal to make lists about the blessings in your life or simply thank whatever higher power you believe in through prayer every night, it's important to note and celebrate everything that's great about your life.
When you do this on a consistent basis you are literally training your brain to focus on the positive. The neural networks of your brain will be rewired for positivity and your perspective of life will filter out all the "bad".
3. Notice how your thoughts feel
Noticing how your thoughts feel when you think them is a powerful practice for self (and life) transformation.
Obviously, when you think a negative thought, you feel bad. That's because the real you, your highest self, the one that is super in alignment with your best life, knows that what you are thinking is not true!
And then you feel a strong discord inside of you (the pain associate with that thought) because your thoughts aren't matching up with the truth of how things really are or who YOU really are.
Isn't that good to know?!
When you think about something and it makes you feel bad it's only because you're thinking about it the wrong way.
Like when you put on some pants and notice your love handles in the mirror and you think, "Wow, I look fat in these..." you start to feel bad. That's because the real you, deep down inside, thinks, no not "thinks", KNOWS that you are unconditionally beautiful. Love handles and all!
Or when you mess up something at work and you start beating up on yourself for it, "Ugh! I can't believe I did that. I'm so stupid. I suck. I don't even deserve to work here." That thought feels pretty rough, and that's because it's simply not true and your inner being knows it.
Your inner being knows that you are doing your best and that you're not stupid for messing up and that you deserve everything you could ever want out of life!
So start to check in and take inventory. Notice when you have thoughts that feel bad and realize they only feel bad because you are approaching a situation from a perspective that is not serving you.
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