Many people only turn on their brain when something is wrong. But when things are right, it’s good to reflect on how to keep them that way – especially in case they start to go wrong. If you know more about why things feel right when they do, it will be easier to get back to a “right” state of mind.
Folks who only make an effort when stuff is bad often find it hard to derive any good out of things that ask them to concentrate and make an effort. Then can only enjoy themselves when being passively stimulated, and are unable to actively engage with their good feelings – because their habits dictate that they only truly engage their minds when something needs fixing, instead of when something needs enjoying. 🙂
And another thing: there will be many times in life when things feel, well, good enough. Level. Settled and stable. And that’s fine – sometimes. But sometimes, we need more than that. Sometimes, “good enough” doesn’t cut it, because we know we are passively cheating ourselves out of “better.” Those are the times that we look around and say, “I have everything I could ask for. I’m safe, I’m content, I’m in a stable place. So why do I feel like shit right now?”
It’s important to encourage active, conscious appreciation of what is good in one’s life – heck, we ideally would even appreciate “what is,” point blank. That’s what many of the great thinkers say. But a great part of this involves engaging more deeply with those good things we enjoy.
You know how many times, people will reminisce about a good time in the past and say, “remember back when …” with a smile on their face? And how often, these reminiscences happen with a thought attached that says “yeah, things aren’t how they used to be. If only we knew how good we had it back then”? Sometimes, it’s a childhood thing; as children, we don’t have developed minds to analyze why we do or don’t enjoy something – so of course we didn’t know. But if you are reading this as a conscious adult, you do have the option, when you enjoy something, to think about it; to meditate on it, to dive your mind into all its goodness, to soak it in and learn about what makes this goodness tick. This gives you a better chance of
1) Prolonging the enjoyment;
2) Knowing and accepting when it’s time for the enjoyable moment to change into something else, so that you aren’t looking for midday at sunset;
3) Enriching and preserving the memory of this goodness – so that you’re less likely in the future to regret that you didn’t make the most of it.
Bad things usually don’t happen for no reason at all. The same goes for good things. Become acquainted with why things feel good! For example, in my life, there is a direct correlation for me between getting a good night’s sleep and feeling good. When I’m rested, everything is better – my mind is clearer, food tastes better, my judgment is better, and so on. Knowing this gives me a sense of empowerment around making good things happen in my life. It also helps me to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep – to motivate me to do what it takes, rather than just sitting around and thinking about how “I should … ”
Good and bad things are also not always separate things; sometimes, the very same thing can be both good and bad at the same time, and often in life the decisions we make are a product of comparing the potential good and bad that can come out of each decision. It becomes easier to fall into blaming ourselves if all we do is focus on correcting the negative aspects of decisions we’ve made. Conversely, the more we focus on positive things we’ve done, the more we are likely to feel good about ourselves.
Of course, you don’t want to get conceited and full of yourself – that’s why you don’t turn away from examining those things that could be improved. But I think, in fact, that most people’s problems are that they don’t love themselves enough – not that they are too full of themselves. Besides, the person who’s got it all figured out isn’t likely to stick around to read an article like this – because, you know, they’ve got it all figured out. 🙂
Positive people know that nothing is ever all figured out; there’s always a next step, and that’s part of what makes life interesting. Get good at seeing error, sure – but get good at seeing beauty, too; the better you get, the more you’ll enjoy yourself, and the more you’ll be able to show others around you what they’re missing, and put smiles on their faces.