Posts Tagged ‘Circumstances’

Better-NotBitterNone of us have the luxury of experiencing life without some bad things happening from time to time. Granted, some people seem to have a dark cloud that hovers over them a little more frequently than the rest of us, but all of us probably have more negative experiences than we’d like. (Do we want any negative experiences? I don’t think so.)

You can tell a lot about someone by how he/she reacts to those less-than-pleasant and even tragic events of life. Some may seem to surrender all hope for the future and forever consider themselves victims with no way out. Others may fail to even acknowledge the negative and go on rather blindly choosing not even to notice or react to events. Still others may hover somewhere in between the first two by acknowledging and dealing with the negative, but then making every effort to move past it and move forward with life, having learned from the experience in some way. It’s the old “lemons into lemonade” response.

I tend to be more optimistic than not the majority of the time. There are various reasons for that:

  • Life is more enjoyable focusing on the positive than on the negative.
  • I don’t like being around people who are overly negative, so I don’t want to be like that.
  • My Christian faith provides an underlying hope for this life and the next that surpasses anything temporarily negative I experience.

We can’t always choose our circumstances in life, but we can make the most of wherever we are. We can and do choose the attitudes we carry in circumstances – for good or bad. We have the option of learning from experiences, choosing to leave the past in the past, and building on our new situation for the future.

As for the attitudes we respond with when bad things happen, doesn’t it make a lot more sense to respond by trying to be a better person as a result and by trying to make life better because of what happened instead of being bitter and living with the ongoing drain on life, emotions, and health that bitterness yields? I’m not claiming it’s always easy to do that, nor am I presuming that it is possible merely through one’s own strength to do so, but I’m certain it’s the more promising path.

When bad things happen, be better – not bitter.

It is what it isEvery now and then I hear someone resign themselves to the perceived reality of a situation by saying with a bit of a sigh, “It is what it is.”  When I hear that (imagining the voice of Winnie the Pooh’s Eeyore character), it is usually offered as a concluding statement that indicates there is no hope for changing the situation.  The implication is that we just need to accept it and move on.  Others present in the room when such a pronouncement is made typically nod in agreement and the conversation ends because, after all, “It is what it is.”

Or is it?

While I don’t claim that we will always be successful changing the circumstances about which we tend to say “It is what it is,” I want to encourage you to not automatically accept the statement as the final word.

What if it doesn’t have to be the way that it is?  What if all that is needed is for one or more determined, hard-working people to put in the effort to transform the situation into something entirely different?  What if it can be changed, but nobody has invested the time, energy and resources to make it happen?

I may be OK (reluctantly) with accepting a situation as “the way it is” if I know I have first done everything in my power to try to change it, but I really shouldn’t accept unwanted situations until I have exerted every bit of effort I can muster to make a positive impact.  As the graphic above suggests, there is always the possibility of making a difference in our future reality.

Don’t resign yourself to unfortunate circumstances under the false assumption that “It is what it is.”  Work hard (and pray) to change what is into what it can become.