When bad things happen, it's easy to forget the good things, isn't it? For me, sometimes I feel like I focus on whatever that one bad thing is and forget to put everything in perspective. For example, lately I've had a bad online experience. For the first time since I've started my blog, I've been contacted in ways that are unpleasant. Immediately I've panicked, thinking to myself, "Maybe I should stop writing. Maybe I should just get rid of the blog." My heart pounding with the thought of bad things happening, thoughts of getting rid of the blogs, closing down my Twitter account, and canceling my email address raced through my mind. Maybe the blog wasn't worth it. Maybe the feeling of fear was stronger than the benefits of blogging.
And then I realized: I was focusing on one bad thing and ignoring all the good things. What about all of the emails people have sent me telling me how much they love my blog? What about all of the great comments and feedback via Twitter? What about all of the people who have told me that reading my blog really helps them? All of those things fell into the background when I focused on the one negative thing that's happened to me since I started blogging. I was letting the negative take over and I wasn't focusing on the positive, which, seriously, is so silly because isn't that the point of the blog? Perhaps I need Positively Present more than anyone!
As I'm sure you know well, it's easy to think about the one bad thing when it happens to you. It takes over, pushing the other, positive things to the back burner. And that is not a good thing. After all, because of one bad thing I almost decided to stop blogging, one of my favorite things in the world to do. (This also speaks to the idea of letting the actions of others influence you, a topic I'll save for another day...) To give up on something I love because of a single bad experience would be wrong, right? I think so! But how often do we think to do that? For me, it's more often than it should be. One bad thing happens and I'm tempted to give up. But not this time. I'm not going to give up on all of the good things because of one bad thing.
Though you might not be able to relate to this situation personally, I'm sure there are other things in life in which one bad thing has made you think about only that, ignoring all of the good things. For example, a fight with a loved one can really do this for me. I have a wonderful time with that person, really love and care about that person, but when we have a fight all I can think about is what happened, what was said, what is bad. Of course, when I think about that logically, I realize how ridiculous that is. I'm focusing on the negative rather than the positive. Yes, sometimes negative conversations have to be had and things that aren't super positive have to be dealt with, but that shouldn't dominate the interactions with someone (and, if it does, something should be done about that relationship!). One bad thing doesn't need to stick out of all of the good things.
What we choose to focus on is all up to us. We can focus on the negative (as I have been lately when it comes to the blog) or we can focus on the positive. It's all up to us. So what's my advice for turning the focus from the one negative to all the positive? I've had some personal experience with this lately because not only have I been thinking about the negative but I've had it reinforced by those around me who have, in so many words, made it clear that they think the internet is a dangerous place that would be better left alone. Lately I've had a lot of thinking to do and it's taken a lot to convince me that what I'm doing on this site is worth more than one bad experience. Here are my tips for making sure the one bad thing doesn't ruin the many good things.
3 Steps To Stop the Bad From Ruining the Good
Step 1: Don't forget about the good. When the bad seems overwhelming and it's taking over your thoughts, it's not always easy to remember what is good about a situation. Take a moment to think about what the good things are. What do you love about the person you're fighting with? What makes you happy about the situation you're in? How many times have you found joy in doing what is causing your current unhappiness? For me, in my situation, I thought about all of the wonderful, supportive emails I've received from readers. I thought about all of the great comments I've received on my blog, reinforcing the idea that this is a good thing, that I'm bringing good into the world. I thought about all of the ways my family members and friends have supported my blog. When I thought about these things, the one bad thing seemed a lot less important. It was upsetting still, yes, but not nearly enough to counteract all of the positive emotions.
Step 2: Remember who you are. No matter what the situation or what happens, that thing or action or thought or arrangement of words is not you. You are you. Whatever the bad thing may be, no matter how it feels, it doesn't have to take away from the person you are. Bad things happen to everyone, but it's our reactions to them that can really bring us down, that can totally transform our world. For example, in my case, I nearly let one bad thing stop me from doing what I love -- writing on this blog. This blog is an extension of who I am. That bad thing is not. It is not about me. It is completely about someone else and I have to remember that who I am, what I do, is what's important. What others do is their business. I had to remind myself of who I was in order to realize that doing what I love is what I should be doing. I am who I am and what others do cannot and will not change that.
Step 3: Look for the lessons in the bad. This, for me, is the most important step. When something bad happens it's so easy to want to give up, to throw in the towel, and say, "This is just too much work!" But don't do that. Realize first all of the good things in the situation and then see what you can learn from the bad things. There is always a lesson and if we don't look for it we're missing out. No matter what the situation -- an argument, a negative thought, a terrible event -- we can gain knowledge from that and move forward with that knowledge in hand. Finding the lesson in the bad makes it seem less pointless. I've learned from the bad things and it's helping me make the good things even better. This entire post is an explanation of what I've learned from my situation. The one bad thing has led me to learn more about myself and how I plan to deal with bad things in the future.
Bad things happen all the time. Whether you have a dream job, a perfect relationship, or a fulfilling blog, something bad is going to happen to it at one time or another. You'll mess up a big project, you'll get into a fight with your spouse, you'll have to deal with people who make you unhappy. It happens. That doesn't mean that the situation is any less wonderful. One bad thing doesn't have to take away from all of the good things. One bad thing doesn't have to be the focus. Remember, you have the power to choose what you focus on. You can choose to let that one negative thing take over, or, like I'm doing, you can center your thoughts on the positive and look for all of the good in the situation. This specific situation for me has taught me a lot, but the most important thing I've learned is that, no matter what, I'm not giving up on what I love. And you shouldn't either. Don't let the one bad ruin all of the good.
Do you ever let one bad thing become the focus? How do you stop doing that?
Fellow bloggers, has any one thing ever made you want to give up and stop writing?