On June 5 we examined four common excuses for remaining unhappy and unfulfilled in middle age. Here are five more excuses. None of them makes any sense!
Excuse #5: “Everyone around me is a complainer–my spouse, my boss, my children, my friends, my co-workers, so how can I be positive?”
I know it’s tough to be the only positive person in the room, but give it a try. Better yet, bring your significant others along in renewal! Good news: a consistently favorable outlook, sincere concern for others, routine kindness, words of encouragement, smiles and laughter all are highly contagious. No one wants to argue and criticize if another doesn’t argue back or second negative comments. Practice being an energy supplier not an energy drainer. Brighten up the room! Next time a problem arises, don’t raise an objection, propose a solution. As time goes by, you will come to understand your own moods and motivations and this will help you to recognize and respond appropriately to the moods and motivations of others.
As a last resort, isolate yourself as often as possible from anyone who resolutely refuses to lighten up. I know this may be impossible with your spouse, your boss, a prime customer or an immediate business associate but you may need to leave the room and take a break whenever emotions rise and comments get too negative. You can return once tempers and emotions cool down.
Excuse #6: “I’m just a little person, how can I make a difference?”
Please refuse resolutely to limit aspirations for a better life by branding yourself as “a little person”! Every one of us is equal in the eyes of God. By no means are you a little person to those who matter the most: your spouse, your offspring, immediate family, the boss, co-workers and prized customers.
Our world is not a zero-sum game. You and I needn’t achieve fame and fortune to gain love, honor and respect in our little corners of the world. Do you exert a consistently positive influence within your sphere of influence? At home, do you offer your undivided attention, love and concern? At work, do you interact with customers, co-workers and subordinates with a win/win attitude? If so, you will establish yourself as a “big person” in the eyes of those who matter.
Excuse #7: “God will make good things happen for me if it is God’s will.”
I genuinely admire “true believers” who invite God into their lives but I can’t believe God wants any of us to sit back passively while He does all the work. Our Creator implanted talents and potential almost beyond belief within every man and woman. Our secret is to seek peace and harmony both without and within. Life’s winners are those who faithfully trust in God but then joyfully employ more and dedicate a generous portion of their inherent resources to the greater good. If not immediately, over time they will be rewarded with happiness and prosperity precisely as they themselves define it.
God didn’t create you or me to stand by listlessly awaiting, then meekly accepting our preassigned fate, positive or negative. Please don’t blame God if you’re unhappy!
Excuse #8: “The world is too scary right now!”
It’s true that our severe US recession lingers, job markets are tight, politicians remain foolish, the Federal budget deficit balloons and this fall’s election is scary. The irony: the tough economy is all the more reason you should strive for a uniquely positive outlook on life today. As you begin proactively to examine your attitude and to focus in on prospects for a brighter tomorrow, you will find yourself becoming progressively stronger, braver and more self-reliant; increasingly capable of challenging the future, good or bad! By your very nature, you will begin to not only maximize positive results for self and family but also you will respond with warmth and compassion to those less fortunate.
None of us can change the world alone but each one of us can positively influence our little corner of it. As you revive positive emotions in self and in those around you, you risk absolutely nothing except a built-in excuse for starting and ending each day on a sour note.
Excuse #9: “It hurts too much!”
From my heart, I sympathize with anyone who recently lost a dear spouse, child, family member or honored friend. My wife Gloria and I lost our cherished daughter in a plane crash at age 30 in 2006. For anyone in the early stages of grief, I understand fully why it is close to impossible to renew your life and plan right now for a brighter future.
At best, I offer the gentle suggestion that sooner rather than later you consciously shift focus from sorrow and regret to envisioning early recovery and brighter days ahead:
- Take that first small step forward toward a positive life experience. (Attend church services; go out to a movie or a ball game with a close friend.)
- Obtain whatever outside counselling you need to progress from grief to recovery.
- Remind yourself continually that nothing is gained by relentlessly reliving and mourning the past, especially if you blame yourself. Your loved one has moved on to another dimension and won’t come back.
- Your only sensible option is to actively plan for then launch a positive game plan for the remainder of your life.
- Make new friends, seek out a cause or take up that hobby that you always wanted to try. Keep your mind occupied on relationships, tasks and responsibilities you genuinely admire and enjoy.
As contradictory as it may seem, the recovery phase of a life-altering traumatic event in hindsight may turn out to be an ideal time for positive life renewal. You can’t go back, so why not move forward? Your only logical option is to consciously visualize then seek out a positive outcome both for yourself and for loved ones who remain.
Care to learn more about midlife renewal? Tune in to our weekly Internet radio broadcast, “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age” at www.WebTalkRadio.net. This is a podcast so you can listen to any current or prior broadcasts at your convenience.
Also, please visit our website: www.middleagerenewal.com. While there, you can preview my acclaimed book A Mid-Life Challenge WAKE UP! and obtain a FREE GIFT.