“Clouds came floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” -Rabindranath Tagore
Sometimes I find myself caught in a vicious cycle of negative thoughts.
I mean, we are all human and we all have rough days, problems dealing with our families, stress at our jobs, feelings of exhaustion from the busyness of life in general… I really could go on. We’ve all been there.
For me, I become overwhelmed and frustrated when things happen that don’t seem to meet my expectations. It starts to cloud my thoughts. I begin concentrating on what is wrong in my life, with my friends and family, with my job, and anything else negative that I can find to dwell on. Occassionally the pessimism seems to win out and takes on a life of its own. It causes me to say things or do things I shouldn’t or I often later regret. Things that aren’t me and don’t truly represent my heart. I become a cynic. It tears me up inside and I feel hollow.
But as easy as it is to get caught in the vicious cycle of doubt, anger, and negativity, I have found that it also can be just as easy to break the cycle. Because generally, at a moment when I feel there is nothing left and my sadness is at its peak, something happens. Something miraculous. It doesn’t always have to be big. It can be a smile from a stranger, a homecooked meal from Mom, an unexpected compliment at work. It can be the cat greeting me at the door when I visit my mother’s house or the fact that I amazingly made every traffic light on the way to work. It doesn’t have to big, it just has to be noticed and then appreciated.
The strategy is simply this – refocus and be thankful. Sometimes just putting a positive spin on a bad situation, picking out the one thing that is still good, realizing that most likely it could be worse and then simply being thankful for those things – that can make the biggest difference.
The tough things in life, the “clouds,” are what make your life unique. It is the “clouds” upon which you build your character and find your strength. You are only truly tested when caught in the storm of life.
So the challenge to myself is to face difficulty with grace and learn to love the “clouds.” Because if I can find contentment and peace when the world seems to have fallen far short of my expectation, then my life will be a richer, more beautiful experience. As quoted above, I want “the clouds to add color to my sunset sky.”