“The remarkable thing we have is a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” — Chuck Swindoll
I was with a friend and I was talking, well actually ranting, about the negative side of something that really is quite positive. He warned me that I need to be careful. He explained that when faced with something good and true some people accept the good, whereas others choose to focus on the negative – either out of habit or because they feel threatened by or jealous of the good. He explained how focusing on the negative – whether out of envy, hatred or mere habit – does nothing but destroy you and turn you bitter. He said he sees this happening in me; rather than focusing on the good, I am getting caught up in the bad.
In this particular situation, rather than celebrating with a person who is sharing something true and good, I am focusing on hating those who are trying to tear this particular person down. The end result: complete and utter bitterness. As soon as he pointed this out, I though of “The Ghosts of Mississippi,” in which Whoopi Goldberg’s character says: “When you hate someone, the only person who suffers is you because most of the people you hate don’t know, and those who do don’t care.”
I knew my friend was right – even though at the time I didn’t want to admit it (I can be a bit stubborn that way) – so I logged it away in my mind, knowing I had to make some changes to the way I approach things.
And then today my very first ‘published-in-print’ article came out in my school’s newspaper. However, for an unknown reason, my name was not attached to the piece. Rather than focusing on the achievement of getting published, I got caught up in trying to figure out why they would leave my name out and how unfair it was. In short, rather than celebrating my accomplishment, I focused only on the negative – and the only person who suffered was me.
My friend is right; it’s not worth it. It’s time to start focusing on what is good and true and ignoring the rest.
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