At the beginning of our relationship, my swift emotional recoveries confounded my husband. He couldn’t understand how I could get over things so quickly. Is it that I’m hard-headed or just plain heartless? At first, I told him about the concept of Human Dynamics developed by Sandra Seagal (which explains how people process information and experiences) and that I am “physically-centered” – very systematic and practical, primarily concerned with progress and results rather than logic and structure.
Then, I had an “A-ha!” moment – perhaps it had nothing to do with my “information processing center” nor my heart of stone. I was just an Über-Optimist. A textbook Pollyanna (minus the denial and passiveness). How could one remain upset when one truly believed that there is always a positive spin to unfortunate events?
In Stephen Covey’s book, First Things First, he talks about living life guided by a “compass” of purpose and values rather than a “clock” of schedules and due dates, and where the long run is where we go for life balance. By focusing on the big picture, our ultimate legacy, we can identify what roles and activities need our attention right now, helping us determine what battles to face and decisions to make at each moment.
For example, on your way to visiting with family, are you really going to waste your time chasing after that rude driver that cut you off on the freeway, just to shake your fist impotently at him, or focus on driving safely so you can spend quality time with your loved ones?
Often, we’re distracted by what’s most urgent that we forget about what’s most important. This leads to frustration, dissatisfaction, and disappointment. By valuing and living in a “state of abundance”, we’re able to appreciate the little victories in life and find meaning in everyday occurrences.
We could all learn from Viktor Frankl, Holocuast survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, who says that “Life has [a purpose and] meaning under all circumstances, even in the most miserable ones.” He also said that “Everything can be taken from a man, but the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
So today, and everyday, I choose to be grateful. Hopeful. Happy.