My favorite song writer shared a new possible original with us today and asked for our thoughts. This song was both music and lyrics, something he’s just beginning to show us. I so adore his talents that it’s very rare for me not to rave, but the lyrics in this song struck a bit of a sour chord with me.
I obviously don’t have the lyrics in front of me to share them with you, or to see and re-read to make sure I remember exactly what they were. But my perception of a part of them was being told that we can choose to be positive or we can choose to be negative.
I explained later, in a message, how much I didn’t agree with that – that we don’t choose our feelings, although I did agree with the lyrics about choosing our actions and reactions. As someone who has dealt with depression (mostly always mild), I can promise you that if it were possible, when feeling negative, to just flip a switch intellectually and feel positive, I’d be first in line to do so! There is too much psycho-babble from therapists, etc., about how supposedly easy it is to change our way of feeling. And I always argue that we can change our way of thinking but that feelings do not come from our brains.
I got a response back clarifying that the writer was meaning to impart the idea of changing our mindset so that we can see and feel positive things. One of the things mentioned was, for example, to focus on the things we are grateful for, with the idea that positive thoughts will impact our mindset and that mindset might change our emotions.
I’m still working that out for myself with regards to the lyrics, but it reminded me that I do, without conscious thought, sometimes turn my focus to things for which I’m grateful. I do that whenever I’m tired of the pity-party I’m allowing myself to have. For example, sometimes I get very caught up in the constant aches, pains and other ailments that are a part of my medical being. When I get tired of listening to my internal voices whine, I consciously remind myself that I’m in much better shape than so many other people. Yes, there may be physical distress, but I’m not paralyzed and unable to feel anything. And yes, my knees may hurt at times, but my legs aren’t amputated so that my knees have no real function or purpose.
I complain about living in a 200+ old building and that things are antiquated and will probably never see modernization. I have to run the tap in the bathtub for 4 or 5 minutes before hot water starts to come out so I can take my shower. I have to rely on a window air conditioner for relief from the heat. I have to deal with old cast iron radiators for heat, which take up room in what is already a small space. But hey, I’m not homeless – I’m not sleeping on a cardboard box somewhere with no relief of any kind for any type of weather.
Those thoughts put my complaints in perspective quickly and help me to remember how much worse off I could be in so many ways. They force me to stop and really focus on what is positive in my life instead of what is negative, and I quickly move away from my “woe is me” mindset.
So, in that sense – in what he intended the lyrics to mean – I absolutely agree with the message and I look forward to hearing the song again with that in mind. I’m sure I’ll appreciate it much more.
Meanwhile, this chance to think about how gratitude can change our perspective is something we all need to learn how to do. I’m not saying that, at times, our lives don’t “suck”, but if we take a moment to think consciously about how others are suffering more than we are – at whatever we’re suffering – it changes how important we perceive our suffering in a way that makes the suffering at least bearable.
So, what do you find yourself complaining about? Think about people who have it worse than you do, and I promise you’ll feel better!