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Let me tell you what this article is not about:
I’m not here to tell you that your problems are “first world” or that you should start a gratitude journal.
I’m not going to point out that you have a roof over your head and food in your kitchen. I’m not going to remind you that you woke up this morning and have two legs to walk on and yada, yada, yada.
Those thought bubbles have never cheered me up for too long.
I just want you to consider that your life is better than you think it is, with think being the key word. I want you to consider that you don’t really have 99 problems, and that it’s quite possible that you don’t have any.
Because who gets to decide what’s a problem? You do. So if you have a bunch of problems? You are the problem.
Whether this makes sense to you or not, it’s great news—because you are the only thing you have control of. Yay!
I live in Hawaii where the locals say, “A’ole pilikia,” which means, “No trouble. No problem.” I interpret this to mean, “Do not create trouble where problems don’t exist.” Don’t do it!
Be careful of the negativity you are creating in your mind, and consider that it might all be in your mind.
Are you scared of getting cancer? I have great news for you! It means you currently do not have cancer. Congratulations!
Do you worry that you might fall on hard times? Did you know that America is so kind that it spent $642 billion per year on social programs, like unemployment benefits and food stamps? Imagine the caring and thoughtfulness of the people who set up those programs. Wow, it blows me away! If I am ever down and out and need help, those programs will be there for me. That’s a comforting feeling.
Speaking of money, if I need some I can apply for a credit card. The last time I filled out an application for one, they took my word for it on how much money I make. I was approved online in minutes for a $5,000 loan—just like that!
I noticed anxiety is so common these days that it seems like it’s cool to have it. I once thought to myself, “Everyone has anxiety, but I feel fine. What am I missing? What’s my issue? I have to have an issue. What’s wrong with me if I don’t? Perhaps I’m just not giving in to the negative programming.”
What does negative programming look like? Contemplate this. If you like things to be neat and orderly, you may have tongue-in-cheek blamed it on your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, when in fact, you don’t have an illness at all. You actually have a positive characteristic that makes you more likely to be successful in life. Being neat and orderly is a good thing, and we think it’s cute to label it a mental disorder.
That’s messed up. But it’s also a sign that we’re trained to be negative.
Have you ever said, “That would be just my luck,” meaning that bad things always happen to you? I’ve heard people who seem like they are bragging about all the bad things that happen to them. Why would you do that?
Turn up your light. Talk about all the good things that happen to and around you.
And let me be clear—I’m not talking about putting a positive spin on things. Sharing and focusing on the positive things in your life is reality-based. It’s a fact: more good things happen to you than bad things. Prove me wrong.
Consider this: good stuff happens all day long. It’s so frequent that you are flat-out bored with it. Just in your body alone, there are billions of working parts and pieces that are harmonizing so perfectly and soundly that you don’t even notice them.
When we meet up with our friends and share drama and bad stuff, it’s because these stories are exciting. Bad stuff is so infrequent and so abnormal, it’s often more interesting than the good stuff. Read that again.
Worried about getting old? That means you’re not old yet. There is no problem, so enjoy being young!
Want to go on a date? You’re in luck! There are 2,500 dating websites full of people who want to go on dates!
Do you complain that you can’t find a date? You could increase your dating pool by adjusting your standards. Or face it—you’re alone by choice. Be happy with how patient and wise you are in selecting your next partner.
Are you worried the world is getting chaotic and violent? Look outside. What do you see? I just looked outside and saw a car. What an awesome invention. I also saw a tree. How magnificent are trees?
If I were to leave my house and walk down the street, I could make eye contact with a random person and smile at them, and most likely they would smile back at me. If I fell down out there, people I don’t know would rush to help me up. People are friendly and nice, and I love it.
Also, I just took a break from writing and jumped on Facebook. The first thing I saw was a friend complaining that Google maps imagery is not real or 3-D looking enough. Can you believe how bored we have become that we look for such problems to complain about?
I wonder if anyone is reading this article and feeling angry (and negative). Probably so. They hate what they’ve read because I’m implying that problems in the world don’t exist and to them I say, “Lighten up! This article is better than you think.”
It’s pretty great that a divorced woman with no formal writing skills, but with something to say, can throw together an article and reach you and millions of readers from her bedroom. Isn’t it incredible that within moments I can affect people all over the world with a message of positivity and joy? I could probably self-publish a book with the help of this platform if I wanted to. I love Elephant Journal for this opportunity to express my opinion. This digital age—it’s incredible!
Back to those people who think I’m ignoring the “real” struggles people face. They think this article is written for an advantaged person living in a first-world country. Well, it is. That’s my audience. What’s wrong with that? Stop looking for problems.
They might think this point of view makes me privileged. Well, I am—and if you’re reading this article, then you probably are too. Which is my point: “What on Earth are we complaining about?!”
And the people in those third world countries who you’re constantly feeling sorry for? I’d place a bet that their lives are better than you think too. Besides, it is not our responsibility to be sad and depressed for people in developing countries. It’s just not.
If you think empathizing 24/7 with all the world’s suffering is your life’s purpose, listen closely and you will hear your bones cracking from all the weight you are carrying that isn’t yours. If you want to help the less fortunate, then go right ahead and step up to the plate, but it’s quite alright to do it with joy in your heart.
It comes down to this: you create your life with your perspective.
If you’ve trained your brain to look for pain and problems, you might be much happier if you didn’t. We’re only here for a short time, and there’s lots to enjoy—so enjoy it.