Seeing the Good in the Bad

It never ceases to amaze me how important our attitudes are when it comes to rising above life’s circumstances. Every week I meet with people from all walks of life that are dealing with heartache and pain and all they can see in front of them is the bad.

When my children were young we would go fishing every summer. I recall one particular fishing trip that I will never forget. Thirty minutes after arriving at the lake, my son, Scott, wanted to leave. He complained that it was too windy and the fish were never going to bite. I tried to encourage him by telling him to try and enjoy the beautiful scenery, the cool breeze and watching the guy next to us catch one fish after another. His response was, “Dad, I hate it when you always see the good in the bad.” Although he was frustrated, I took Scott’s comment as a compliment.

Most of us have been impacted by the Covid-19 virus in some way – from minor nuisance to life-changing tragedy. Even if the illness hasn’t hit your home, chances are you know someone who has shared their heartbreak when they can’t be with a loved one who is hospitalized or locked down in a senior care facility. Or someone who is laid off work and short on money, or still working and scared to be there. Or the parents who never planned to homeschool and are losing their patience. Or even someone who is sick at home.

Both in and out of a pandemic, life serves up a lot of “bad” circumstances and if you don’t know how to see the “good” in the “bad” you’re in store for many discouraging experiences. Be intentional about looking for things that are healthy and positive to focus on when you are tempted to complain. As parents, especially, we need to teach our children that it’s not our circumstances in life that cause our pain as much as it's how we choose to direct our gaze. 

I am happy to say that Scott has grown into a man with extraordinary optimism who can almost always find the good in the bad. Don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to develop this outlook on life. It’s not always easy to see the good in the bad, but it gets easier with consistent and deliberate practice.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

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