by Gary Watson
One thing I notice a lot with my family, friends, coworkers, and also myself is that we always find what we are looking for. I used to get really irritated when I was complaining about someone or something to a friend or coworker and they would always point out the bright side of the situation. I hated that. These are the same people that say, “Well, at least I still have my health” right after their wife leaves them and takes the dog with her, and the house gets blown away in a tornado that also took out the new truck. My dad is like this. He never seems to complain about anybody or anything and always looks on the bright side. If he gets cheated out of a few bucks somewhere, he always assumes it was an honest mistake and never seems to dwell on things he can’t change. He’s also one of the most relaxed and content people I know.
On the other hand, I know people who always seem to look for what’s wrong. Everyone else’s house is nicer than theirs; their car isn’t good enough, their husband doesn’t do enough, and so on. And it seems they are never happy about anything, even though their circumstances are no worse than anyone else’s, and better than many. So, it seems that whether you look for the good in people and situations or look for the bad, you’re going to find what you’re looking for. A good example of this is when you notice a couple that seems mismatched. Maybe one person is much better looking than the other or more charming, etc. Our first thought is usually to wonder, “What is she doing with him?” I usually had this thought whenever a woman I liked was dating any other man. But I’ve noticed it as well when I saw a man with a woman that might, at first glance, seem to be out of his league. I’d look at her and make a snap judgment and think he must have low standards. However, the more I wondered what he saw in her, I would start to notice the positives about her. I’d notice what a nice smile she had and how it lit up her whole face. Or I’d notice what a sharp sense of humor she had or how smart or kind she was. The more I looked for the positives in this person, the more I could see why this guy picked her for his girlfriend, and my whole view might change.
In one scene of the 1989 movie, “Say Anything,” John Cusack’s character, Lloyd Dobler, chides his older sister when she is complaining about her life. He asks her, “How hard is it to just decide you’re going to be in a good mood, and then just be in a good mood?!” It’s a good point really. How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood and find things to be in a good mood about? How hard is it to decide things are going pretty well under the circumstances and look for and find things to be happy about?
It takes practice to get the hang of this, but I think the guy who was grateful for having his health after losing his wife, dog, house, and truck had the right idea.