When we can appreciate the good things in our lives, it leads to a sense of well-being. No matter our struggles, there is always someone out there in the world who is struggling harder because you will never fully believe in yourself if you keep comparing yourself to everyone else. Instead, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.
Usually when we find ourselves struggling and going through difficult times, we tend to focus mainly on the negative sides of our own life. In order to become happy again, we have to shift the focus back and see all the great and little things that are going on around us. Sometimes it helps to realize that there are some people out there who are going through even more challenging times in their lives while having even more limitations, and yet, they find ways to live a life full of joy and happiness. Perhaps they are happier because they are satisfied with what God has given them. I think most of us are influenced by the advertising that is prevalent everywhere we look and are in a constant frame of mind that says “I want that”. Look around and find somebody who is happier with less than what you have and learn to appreciate all the little things again.
Smile at every chance you get. Not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have and all the problems you know you don’t have. Take a little bit of time out of your day to appreciate the little things in life that you may take for granted. I think that through this humbling experience, each and every one of us can understand just how lucky we are. There will always be people making more money than you do. Period. But it is not about how much money you make; it is about how you use the money you have. There is a difference between having resources and being resourceful. You might think you need more money to feel happy about yourself, but I guess you are just not using the money you have effectively enough. There are people out there making less money than you do and still manage to live a full and abundant lifestyle. There are endless possibilities out there, but oftentimes, we tend not to see them. If you want to get over a problem, stop mulling it over and talking about it. Your mind affects your mouth, and your mouth affects your mind. It’s nearly impossible to move beyond something when you’re obsessing over it. Sometimes people throw away something good for something better, only to find out later that good was actually good enough and better never even came close. Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems because Someone else is happy with far less than what you have.
We cannot however change people, or their reaction to our sin. We can only work on changing ourselves with God’s grace. Forgiveness is a major part of life that almost everyone has trouble doing. Learning to forgive someone that has wronged us is a very long and difficult process that must be done. Without forgiveness we can not let go of the bitterness and resentment we have towards someone, and without letting go of these things, they start to eat back at us spiritually, emotionally, and eventually physically. When we remain angry for extended periods of time it definitely takes a toll on our bodies, for example, with a rise in blood pressure. We have to learn to forgive and move on from the past sins that people have committed against us in order to further our lives, and in order to continue a relationship with them if we plan on continuing to do so. Our promise to others is never to bring up that sin against that person again not to God, not to the person who committed it, not to anyone else. It is a deliberate decision to deal with another’s sin by doing away with it, pressing the delete button, wiping it off our slate. Make a commitment today to forgive all of those you may be angry with, and that may have done you wrong, this past year and your whole life. Whenever you think of the way that someone has wronged you wish a blessing upon them instead of cursing them, and stay as positive as possible. Not only is forgiveness our promise to others, but it’s also a promise God has made to us.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. I think too often we wait to forgive. We wait until it feels right to do so. But forgiveness is not a feeling at all. If we wait until we feel like forgiving, it will never happen. Forgiveness is more about wiping away a debt. It is saying to a person, “You owe me nothing more; no money, no apology, no hugs, no sympathy cards, nothing. I really am no longer looking for any of that from you, you are released from any moral or ethical or legal obligations to me for this pain as much as is possible, we are going to move forward now and I will not be holding this over you any longer, waiting to hit you on the head with it if you mess up again. I will not be keeping score because where I am concerned your slate is now wiped clean. I wish the very best for you and God’s blessings on you.” Forgiveness isn’t something we wait to feel, it is something we communicate to the person who hurt us irrespective of how we feel. So while trust may be a process, the promise of forgiveness is not. But though trust and forgiveness are two different things, there is a definite relationship between them. Making the promise of forgiveness is what triggers the beginning of the trust process. Without forgiveness, there can be no more trust. But once forgiveness is given, the process of trusting again begins. Forgiveness takes a broken relationship and places it back on track for the healing process to begin. It is the first step in the healing journey. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.