Don’t Forget to See the Good.
This was the reminder in one of my recent daily devotions. Sometimes, these morning words don’t feel applicable to my current life, and after reflection in the moment I go about my day focused on other thoughts and emotions. But, many days, these one paragraph readings become something that I consider for the rest of the day and beyond.
“Don’t forget to see the good” was most definitely timely and applicable, and one that I have been filtering my thoughts through daily, in a time of my life that some of the not-so-good has been more front and center.
See the good.
If you are a regular reader, I hope that you already know that I am most definitely not suggesting leaning into toxic positivity, trying to feel good all of the time, or ignoring the bad. Some of you likely already practice daily gratitude, or maybe are in a season of life where positivity more easily reigns.
The truth is that life is both/and, and is ever-evolving. No matter what are circumstances are, we can have what our culture defines as a negative emotion or situation, and we can also still see some good in it.
Like many of you, I often personally struggle with falling into two extremes— it is either “above all else, be positive!!”… or falling into a feeling of despair- like literally nothing is going right. While exploring this concept further, a huge spotlight has been shone on how our culture suggests that “good” should be our baseline, and anything that isn’t “good” is abnormal, or unfair.
This messaging tells us that the “good” is how it should be. But, the funny thing is that the human experience isn’t designed to be this way. We are meant to feel the good and the bad equally, without judgement, but with openness and curiosity.
Thankfully, this is not a doom and gloom message. Although it does help to accept that life is 50/50 good and bad, we can make what we call “bad” more palatable when we can see the good alongside it.
This is true in circumstances and with people.
How can we see the good, in feelings, circumstances, or people?
- When you experience a “negative” feeling in your body, like anxiety, anger, or sadness, you can look at it is a good opportunity to check in with yourself. Instead of defining these feelings as bad or wrong, gently assess what you need in the moment, while thoughtfully considering what triggered these feelings. Although we do not enjoy how these emotions feel, we can still see them as helpful physical manifestations that something needs to change—either the circumstance, or eventually your reaction to it to care for your well being.
- In long term relationships we often take the good for granted over time. Instead of seeing the personality traits or actions as the good things that drew us to the other person, we decide that those are how it should be, and instead focus on what the other does wrong, or how they should change. Make lists of what you love about people in your life. Tell them often. Don’t assume that they know. Share the love.
- Stop trying to fight change. Even when it is scary, change creates potential opportunities for even better experiences, either short term, or possibly far into the future. This is true for circumstances and in relationships.
- Use disruption in plans as an opportunity to practice patience. Look at your reaction with curiosity, and focus on breathing. It works!
- Don’t let your kids, strangers, co-workers suck all of your “see good” energy out of you daily. Find tools to manage your stress (like breathing!), so that you have physical and mental energy left for yourself and those who matter most to you. When we are tired and beat down our brains want to look for someone who is causing us to feel negatively— and often it lands on those closest to us. Save some of that energy to be able to fight off that desire.
How can seeing the good positively impact our training?
- Look at a failed training session as an opportunity to learn, or the possibility that you did, in fact, reach your limit and actualize your fullest potential (and this is exciting!) And, don’t worry—most coaches will give you another chance. 😉
- When you have a session that is miserably hard, and/or way harder than it should be from a metric standpoint (HR, power), it give you the chance to reflect honestly on your habits surrounding training. Have you been eating enough? Sleeping and recovering? Not fully showing up to other sessions? This also opens up reflection on WHY you are going after your chosen goal, and a chance to decide if it is still what you want.
- And like everything I write about, how this impacts your relationships and overall well being (all the stuff above) does manifest in your performance in your sport of choice, whether you can acknowledge it or not. We don’t train in a vacuum.
Practice filtering your thoughts through the question, “What good can I see in this?”
But, most importantly, don’t confuse the above question with, “How can I move past negative emotion quickly and coat this with toxic positivity?” Or “How do I ignore my true feelings to feel “good”?”
Life is positive and negative. It is pretty much always both/and.
Experience it honestly, but don’t forget to see the good.