“There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.”
Recently, I was playing tennis with a friend. It was not going well. I was losing. And not just normal losing, but the type of losing where you hope no one else is watching.
As is typically the case when I don’t win, I was getting frustrated. And when I get frustrated, I look for someone or something to blame (I know, it’s a character flaw). I tried blaming the racket, the balls, staying up too late, and the weather.
Unfortunately, the racket was the same as always, the balls were brand new, the night before ended at 10pm, and the weather was 75 and sunny (thanks Phoenix).
While I was looking for something else to blame (shoes, maybe), a loud roar suddenly emerged from the skies above. I looked up to notice a helicopter overhead. It was big. It was close. And it was loud.
As the helicopter flew directly over me, a passing thought entered my otherwise frustrated mind, “Wow, look at that big helicopter. That machine is one amazing accomplishment.”
Immediately, my mind found permission to stop thinking about tennis. And I began to look around at my surroundings—even if for only a moment.
I noticed a beautiful bird perched high above in a palm tree. I noticed flowers blooming along the fence and green grass all around. I felt a drop of sweat on my eyebrow, warm sunshine on my face, and just enough breeze to make it all perfect.
I looked down and noticed the healthy body allowing me to play. I felt comfortable shoes on my feet and a lightweight racquet in my hand. I looked across the net and saw a good friend, a valued relationship, and someone I would trust through any trial. Amazing things all around me.
The frustration and negativity in my mind began to melt away.
And I was reminded that life often works like this.
Granted, one bad tennis match is a trivial problem to overcome. Some of us are struggling through far more significant problems: illness, loneliness, failure, addiction, or loss (and that’s just a short list).
But sometimes, all we need to change our outlook and attitude is to just look around—to take our eyes off our problems, our frustrations, and our struggle. And instead, notice something amazing.
When we do, even for just a moment, we begin to notice we are surrounded by countless blessings every single day:
- Beautiful flowers & singing birds
- Blue skies & countless stars
- Warm shelter & dry clothing
- Food to eat & coffee to drink
- Amazing art & passionate music
- Trusted friends & loving families
- Laughter & hope & faith
- Or something as beautiful as your next breath
If you feel like you can’t go on, look around and notice the wonder of the world around you. Because when you do, you give your mind permission to stop dwelling on your problems and start finding beauty instead.
Oh sure, stopping to look around probably won’t fix your problem. But it may just give you the strength and hope you need to survive another day.