I'm fascinated by how our brains work. I love reading books about how to use our brains to our best advantage.
It pretty much comes down to this: Our feelings are created by our thoughts about what's going on. While we often cannot change the circumstances, we can change our reaction to them by changing our thoughts about them.
If we want to feel differently, we can choose our thoughts to create a better feeling experience. We can reframe our experience to one that empowers us rather than drains or depletes us.
There are always multiple ways of thinking about the same issues. This is one of the reasons why practicing gratitude can be so powerful. Even something as simple as replacing "sorry" with "thank you!" can have a huge impact on how we experience our lives. We can aim to only compare down, the idea that we should only ourselves with those who have less to see if they have enough and how we can help. This reset also can be turned toward ourselves - we can be so hard on ourselves and not even allow us to start where we are. We need to make crummy stuff!
And then, sometimes, things happen.
A couple weeks we lost power for four days.
In ordinary times this wouldn't be a big deal. However, HandsomeJoe had just left on a work trip after being at several larger events so we were still within our 2 week quarantine period. Solo parenting during quarantine for pandemic without power? Heck yeah, we made it work!
We turned it into an adventure. We finally dropped our little portable generator off to be repaired. I baked bread on the grill and cooked most other things on a sheet pan on its upper rack. Our grill does have a side burner but the weather was so windy that it was rarely effective.
We dined by candlelight for breakfast and dinner each day. We ate simply and well. We thawed things from the chest freezer to help keep the fridge cool and then cooked them on the grill.
He said the wood was so fresh we should let it dry for a month buried in its own woodshavings before he'll put it back on the lathe for sanding.
The day we ladies took a trip to the beach the power came back on. We came home to lights, warm showers, and a quickly cooked meal.
Story time! There's a folk tale about a man who is fairly successful, has a house, wife, and kids, and a good job, but is still discontent. His house feels too small, his kids are noisy, and so forth. He goes to the village wise man who tells him to bring the chickens to live in the house and come back in a week. He does this and comes back saying "that didn't make anything better! The chickens are noisy and they smell!" The wise man nods and tells him to bring the cow inside and come back in a week. He does this and comes back downtrodden, disheveled, and with circles under his eyes saying that it's even worse! The wise man nods and says to bring the horse in the house too and come back in a week. The man somehow makes it through the week and drags himself to the wise man worried about what he'll be told to do next. The wise man says to put the animals all back in the barn and come back in a week. The man goes home and does just this. After a week he comes back to the wise man overjoyed saying how happy he is to have so much space, how peaceful it is only to be able to hear the kids, and how much time he has to relax.
We can view our circumstances as struggles or as opportunities. We can view obstacles as disasters or as adventures.
We can look around for reasons to be unhappy and find them, or we can seek reasons to be happy, to be grateful, and things to look forward to and find them.