The power of positive thinking

Being positive in life is extremely important. I have seen its effect in my own life…the strength and determination it has built in me, and the courage it has given me to never quit no matter how tough things get.

But what does it mean to be positive? Does it mean you smile all the time? Does it mean you sit around telling jokes belting out volumes of laughter? Does it mean you never have a bad day, never cry tears of pain, are never fearful of tomorrow, or do all you can to pretend MS isn’t a part of your life?

No…being positive has nothing to do with how much you fake a smile or about the warm fuzzy’s and feel-good moments. Those things will fade away over time and leave you wondering how you’re going to be able to cope with today’s reality of MS. The reality that hits you so hard you get knocked off your feet. MS does that to us all at some point.

If you aren’t careful, the tears will fall, stress will build, fears will loom and your mind will wander into a world of negativity. It’s a place you don’t want to be. Depression creeps in ever so slowly and you find yourself drowning in the pain and darkness.

What do you do? How do you find a positive place there in the dark? What does being positive even look like?

You have to purposely choose to step out from the shadows and move towards hope. Hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Hope that you can make a difference in someone’s life. Hope that a better you is in the making. You have to pursue it, going after it with every breath you have, keep going even if it hurts.

Positive people still cry, tremble in fear, worry, and have bad days….but in all of the mess that surrounds them, they find a rainbow, a butterfly, a sunbeam, hope. Even though you are in the toughest place you’ve ever been, there is a possibility of wonderment and beauty. There is a hope that things will get better.

I can not convince a negative focused person to be positive. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work. It seems negative people become angry at just the thought of trying to find something good in a time of misery. In their mind the two can never coexist, but it can happen.

If you will allow yourself to step out from the shadows, you will find the impossible can be made possible. The world could be crashing in all around you and yet your heart can find rest. That’s the power of positive thinking.

I want nothing more than for you to experience that kind of calm, happiness, and hope. It takes work. It takes purpose. It takes choices. And I know you can do it. Just one spark of hope can change your life forever.

Find something that fills you with passion, and go after it. That may mean learning a new language or writing a book. It may mean inviting friends over for dinner or cheering someone up who’s going through a difficult time. It may mean doing something to make a difference in a crazy, messed up world. It may mean letting go of the negative people in your life.

Whatever it takes…do it. Change your focus and you change your life. Choose hope. There is a great future ahead of you waiting to be discovered. Step into it.


Unexpected smiles

Life really is what you make it. I know that sounds so cliche, but it’s true. You have the chance to turn a bad thing around into something good. How? By changing your focus. If you spend your time constantly looking at the bad things happening around you, you will end up missing those small yet amazingly great things that happen every day. Things like…

a caring hug from a friend
a funny comment from your child
a laugh
a smile
air-conditioning on a hot day
peace and quiet for 5 minutes in a busy home
an unexpected letter of thanks
a cloud shaped like a bear
an empty laundry basket
a day without falls
a nap…or two
a parking spot right in front
a holiday
the perfect pancake
the smell of fresh cut grass
a rainbow
a new book
a forgotten ten dollar bill in your pocket

So many things…every day…things that we take for granted, yet have the potential to make our day great.

Stop and look around you. Even today, with all you have happening, is a good day. I know it’s not easy, but try not to look at the struggle. I understand that life’s problems are real and they hurt. I’m not saying to pretend they don’t exist. I’m just saying change what you are looking at.

If you spend your time focused on the pain in your life, the pain will be what grows. At times it can become bigger than life itself. Yet if you shift your focus to those little surprises in your day…those wonderful smiles that are handed to you…you will discover the pain will begin to lessen.

It may not go away entirely, but it will no longer be something that overwhelms you. The more you search for the good, the more you will find it. Try it. You just might be surprised at what you find.