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It Could Be Worse

At least a couple of times a year I write about gratitude because it’s not only a feel-good topic, but it’s a principle of success.  Our primitive brains are wired to see threats and be extra sensitive to what could go wrong.  In old times, when we did not want to be an animal’s lunch, this was a useful tactic, but now it can hinder your progress.

Oftentimes, there are more imagined negative outcomes or issues associated with going after a goal than actual negative outcomes.   In other words, anybody can talk themselves out of anything great.  Even if you meet someone that you are attracted to and would consider making a lifelong partner, you can point to the divorce rate, focus on the person’s flaws, or any other reason you can drum up to keep you from making a commitment.

Another concept that I often think about is that no matter how many challenges we face, we all can look at the flip side.  No matter our situation, it can always be worse.  Remembering this can provide motivation and perspective.  This line of thinking can also provide a sense of gratitude and appreciation.

My disability frustrates me and I can paint a horrible picture of my life that is true, but lacks perspective.  I can think about everything that I can’t do and how other people don’t have the challenges that I have.  Although my disability is severe, it could have been worse.  I have dozens of examples of how it can be worse.  My speech impediment is not so bad that people can’t understand me after a few minutes.  I have enough control to use a wheelchair, peck on my keyboard, move around my house, get on the bed by myself, and many more little things that I enjoy.

Yes, it would be incredible not to have a disability.  However, recognizing that it could have been worse puts everything into perspective.

Right now we are facing a series of challenges.  We are dealing with rising inflation and other global issues.  We are recovering from a global pandemic which is one of the most challenging things we will ever face.  Throughout the pandemic, I was thinking about how much worse it could have been.  We avoided a global financial disaster, the pandemic could have been a lot nastier, deadlier, and much more contagious.  

Don’t dismiss your challenges because challenges are real and need some attention.  If you pretend that your challenges are not there or you dismiss the effects on your life, they will pop up in other ways which can often be more detrimental to you.  Instead, take time to appreciate that it could always be worse or be grateful that there are many mechanisms that can help you improve your life.  Appreciate the solutions that are at your disposal.

In my life there is a solution to one of my most ever-present challenges.  The problem is that I have a difficult time walking.  The solution to the problem is my wheelchair.  I could easily develop a narrative that I hate my wheelchair, but that would be silly.  The wheelchair is not the problem; it’s part of the solution to my challenges.  It allows me to get out of the house, travel, and do other fun activities.

The same principle can be applied to the people in our lives.  It’s easy to get frustrated and angry at the flaws, but each person in your life serves a unique and beautiful purpose.  It is essential that we look for the beauty of the person and put less emphasis on the flaws.

Being grateful is not meant to make your challenges go away or make you feel one hundred percent better.  It’s meant to help you put everything in perspective,  give you the extra appreciation to take on new challenges, and not to be so jaded.


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