The Big Difference (K.Blais)

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Awful things happen to us or to the people we love and care about. Terrible things occur continuously in our daily lives. We make decisions which end up being disastrous, although they may have seemed like the best option at the time, and in other cases choices are made for us without our having any say in them at all. Sometimes we hold the power in the decision-making process, and other times we are completely powerless.

Through it all though we strive to stand up and not to sink. We do our best not to let the floods drown us or to pull us down into the depths of despair, even though they may threaten to.

It isn’t always easy. And it doesn’t always work for all of us.

It is essential to remind ourselves that eventually the waters will recede. It’s tricky to remember that sometimes though and, by no means, do we ever intend to make light of the terrible things that happen, but it remains extremely important to attempt to search for the positive amidst the negative.

Out of every horrendous situation is there always a positive to be found? Depending on individual perspectives the answers may vary: maybe, maybe not… and maybe not right away. But, if we search hard enough there is always a bit of light, a small glimmer of hope, a tiny piece of dry land that we can place our feet on, even if it’s just a tiptoe to start. Maybe sometimes the negative just requires a different perspective.

A very close person to me, my dear friend Tracy, has struggled with some health issues over the past couple of years. She one day found herself with mobility issues, needed surgery to repair her knee injury, had a health scare with a dangerous item on the job site, and was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after that (all issues completely unrelated to one another). Add to that other issues which she has dealt with throughout her life, the scope of her tribulations was immense. To be perfectly honest, her world was bleak and dark and at some very low points. With so many negatives piling up on her, there were days when getting out of bed was too much for her to think about.

The floods threatened to close in on her on more than one occasion, but through it all she always searched for that tiny aspect of hope, that glimmer of light, that small piece of land on which she could attempt to stand. Her faith led her to the belief that her cancer was a blessing because having gone through what she had, she was able to be a support system to others battling with cancer. Her journey led her to new friendships which she may have otherwise not have made. Her struggles allowed her to realize the love that so many people had for her. The darkness has allowed her to appreciate the light all that much more. All the negatives that have happened to her have led to so many more positives in her life because she chose to see past them.

Some of us battle with physical or mental health issues, or have loved ones which are battling, which have affected our (and their) quality of life. Frustration, powerlessness, and a feeling of incompetency may overwhelm us. It can be hard to find the positive when we feel so awful. Sometimes we have to realize the negative for what it is. Sometimes we need to surf the waves when we cannot stop them.

Financially or materially we may be experiencing damage or loss. There may be days when our situation seems so bleak that there seems to be no place to go. It is hard to find the positive when the negatives are reflected in everything we have, even our bank accounts.

We may have lost a loved one or loved ones. We all know someone who has experienced the immense grief of losing a person very close to them. It’s extremely hard to see the positive in death and loss, especially when we are in mourning. Sometimes though death can bring us closer to those who remain in our lives. Sometimes death brings a new appreciation for all that we had and all that we have shared with that person, and it may encourage us to cherish and hold dear the time we have with the loved ones left with us. A belief that we will be reunited with our loved one one day can offer peace. Sometimes death can lead us back to life: to living each moment to the fullest and with a deeper appreciation, and may even lead us to taking nothing, even the little things, for granted.

Perhaps relationships have dissolved, friendships and partners have been lost, and life as we knew it has become an illusion. It is difficult to see the negative when everything around us in our personal life seems in a disarray. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how things can fall apart so easily… and perhaps we neglect to see that sometimes things need to fall apart so better things can come together.

Being positive does not mean to ignore the negative. There is no need to put blinders on and pretend that the negative does not exist. Being positive, and living a life which chooses to focus on the positive, can simply mean to live by overcoming the negative. That’s the big difference.

The Nose On Your Face (K.Blais)

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My nine year-old asked me an interesting question the other day.

“Mom, did you know that your eyes always see your nose, it’s just that your brain ignores it?”

Why, no, in fact, I guess I didn’t.

I mean, I knew it. I just hadn’t really ever thought about it much. I don’t always look out of my eyes and see my nose I realized, but it was an interesting question which led to some further questions of my own.

Like our nose, how much do we see that our brain chooses to ignore?

It’s like that with people sometimes, isn’t it? You may hear things about someone, but you do the ‘right’ thing and choose to form your own opinion. This itself isn’t a bad thing. It is good sometimes not to take to heart everything that you hear. You may believe whole heartedly in an individual, you are adamant that he/she is a good person, sometimes even to the disagreement of that person him/herself,  you believe in that fact more than anything, only to find out that you just couldn’t see what everyone else saw all along. Your brain chose to ignore the nose on your face.

Sometimes we are blind to the things right in front of us, even the good things. We fail to see those who truly care about us and who are, and have been, there for us in good times and in bad times (because true friends are there in both). We may forget to appreciate those people and to give them the time and respect which they deserve. (Hint: They are usually the ones who don’t demand these things from us; they are standing back silently cheering for us from the sidelines.) We may also neglect to see what in our life is positive and beneficial for our well-being. We may choose, over and over again, to push aside the things which should be priorities. Again, our brain chooses to ignore the nose on our face.

While it is extremely important not to “cut off your nose to spite your face”, (which itself could be a whole different post), we must remember that even though we don’t always acknowledge its presence, our nose is a vital part of us. While it is good to ignore it sometimes, sometimes it is also good to stare at your nose and acknowledge the demanding presence that it is on your face as well.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, we are given daily reminders of how important our nose is. We are sadly and tragically aware of how precious life is and how important it is to hold our loved ones close when we learn of a friend losing a beloved child. We are reminded of how valuable our own health is when we ourselves become sick, or a loved one does, and we need to seek out medical care. We are reminded of the importance of respecting, valuing, and cherishing our friends and family members, especially when their absence leaves a noticeable void in our lives. We may begin to miss things which once were very important in our lives, without even realizing that we had begun to ignore their importance and significance.

Perhaps we can all think of the nose question as a bit of a reality check.

What do your eyes see?

(image used courtesy of All-free-download.com)