Shifting Our Focus

“Life seems sometimes like nothing more than a series of losses, from beginning to end. That’s the given. How you respond to those losses, what you make of what’s left, that’s the part you have to make up as you go.”

– Katherine Weber

I came across this quote today and it hit me like a slap in the face. I wasn’t searching for quotes; it was just there like it was meant for me to read. I really started to think about my life, my thoughts, and my attitude towards certain things. For the last number of years (too many years to put an exact number on), I have said to myself, “my life is a series of losses.” It is all I have been focusing on. My losses. My life has been one loss after another. Whether it is a loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of money, or a number of other things; my life is a series of losses. However, I am not the only one who is alive on this planet. So many others feel the same way as I do. So many others have it worse off than I do. Our eyes are sometimes open only to our pain and closed to the pain other people go through. We get lost in our own pain all too often. We forget what matters. We give up. Once we start shifting our focus to others and helping others, our own lives improve as well. Not only do we make someone else feel better, but we feel better for helping someone else. I will slip and lose my focus from time to time, but before my life ends, I am hoping to help other people see things in a more positive light. After all, isn’t that what we were put on this planet for?

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Look and Learn From Each Other

There comes a time in everyone’s life when it really hits them that not only is there someone else out there going through something worse, but there is someone else going through a situation in which no one wants to trade places with, regardless of how much or little drama is involved. It opens up their eyes and helps them realize everyone has something to deal with. Everybody has their own set of issues. Some problems are more serious than others, but it does not mean they are any more or less important. Everyone has a cross to bear. There are people who are struggling to survive. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. There are other people just going through the emotions of life and not really experiencing life to the fullest. They are either too busy, going through life too fast, or not paying attention. There are few people who live life to the fullest no matter what is thrown at them. Every single person has high points and low points of their life. It is not necessarily the actual high points or low points of a person’s life that matters, but how a person deals with those high and low points. Do they grow and learn from those high and low points or do they act out and ignore the potential lessons that come from those things in life? Every single person has done both. This is how people grow and learn.

Picture the homeless man living in a box on a dangerous corner downtown. He lost his job and not able to pay his bills. He was forced out of his home. Now people pass by him, judge him, and look at him with contempt.

Picture the loving wife and mother addicted to alcohol. She hides bottles in the attics, closets, and under a loose floorboard. She easily explains away lost money. She tries to quit over and over, but keeps relapsing.

Picture a troubled teenager. She comes from a loving, close family. Somehow she starts hanging around with the wrong crowd. She doesn’t do her homework and discovered drugs and alcohol. She is out of control, angry, and unhappy. Her parents are doing everything in their power to try and help her, but she refuses any kind of help.

Picture a healthy, elderly man living alone. His wife passed away recently. He is lonely. He pushed his friends away. He doesn’t want help from his kids. He is depressed and tired all the time. He has little interest in anything. He doesn’t want to talk and doesn’t want any outside help.

Are any one of these situations more important than the other? No. How many people would want to be in any of these situations? No one. Life happens. There are some situations in which people have no choice in how certain matters turn out. People have control over some things, but then there are other things in which they don’t. People need to judge less and leave the judging to God. People need to realize they are not the only ones hurting in this world. We all are. We are all dealing with something. Learn from each other. Put yourself in another person’s shoes and picture what they are going through. Look at what they are dealing with. Everyone is in this world to help each other. What matters to everyone in the four scenarios described above is that they are not alone. They want to know someone cares for them. They want to know that when they are ready to change their life and turn it around for the better, not only is not too late, but at least one person will be there to help them. Look around. What can we as a society and individuals do to help someone today? When people help others, they not only help improve someones life, but they improve their own as well.

A Brighter Side

No matter what, things could be worse. How many times have I said that to myself? How many more times will it take for me to actually believe it? We all have bad days where our alarm clock does not go off or we sleep through it. We are late for work or appointments because of it. We get stuck in traffic and upset at whatever is causing the delay. Everything goes wrong at work or your day is not going to plan. At night all you want to do is relax. However, your kids need your attention, the phone keeps ringing, endless house chores, and whatever else is calling your name.

Have you ever thought sleeping through your alarm clock prevented you from getting into an accident? Have you ever thought that accident on the highway could have been you or someone you loved? The construction delay could be a sign to slow down, breath, & refocus your thoughts to something positive. Your day not going to plan is actually going to plan and is trying to teach you something or show you something. At night your kids need your attention. Have you thought about what it is like for people who don’t have kids & want kids? They would give anything & I mean anything, to be in your shoes watching their own kids grow up. The phone ringing off the hook could be forever silent. Do you know what it’s like for people who don’t have friends or family? The endless house chores. Have you thought about what it is like for homeless people living on the streets. They would love to have a house and have the problem of endless house chores.

So you see, there is always either a positive side, a better way to look at things, or something to learn from each situation you are in. Yes, I do realize there are some pretty horrible things in this world. I do realize that all too well. I do realize everyone goes through hard times, grief, & loss. All I am saying is there is a reason certain things happen & in most situations when you catch yourself grumbling about this or that, slow down, breath, and think about what your situation is trying to teach you or tell you.