Grab a piece of paper and put a dot in the middle of it. Now stare at it on the paper. Where do your eyes naturally go?
Chances are, they go to the dot. They don’t even notice all the white paper around it. Your mind thinks about the dot. You form opinions about the dot (it’s too small, it’s too big, it’s not perfectly round). You might try to decide what it could represent or what it will become. But right now, it’s just a mark that pretty much ruins a perfectly good piece of paper.
The same is true for the “dots” in our lives.
Think about your biggest problem right now, or your biggest challenge. That’s your dot. The rest of your life, all the blessings and good things—are the white space. How much time do you spend thinking about your dot compared to how much you focus on what fills the white space?
Sadly, most of us think about the dot a lot. A marriage problem, a problem child, financial strife, the breakup of a friendship…or simply a critical comment by a friend. An unfair boss or a backstabbing co-worker, unmet desires, dreams, and expectations. What we wish we had or were.
Our troubles and trials occupy hour upon hour of our thoughts.
I’m guilty of this! I’ve heard it said that you can’t possibly be depressed if you are focused on gratitude. I would extend that to include you also can’t be discouraged, angry, or obsessed when you are focused on gratitude! Not always true, but having a mind focused on gratitude helps.
So go ahead, put that dot on the paper. Around it in the white spaces, write all the things you’re grateful for in your life. Every person, every thing, every event, blessing. Hang the paper where you can see it every day, maybe on your bathroom mirror, or on the door as you leave the house. Read the words, say thank you in your heart, for every word on the paper, focusing on your gratefulness for them.
I’ve heard it said that you can’t possibly be depressed if you are focused on gratitude.
Ignore the dot. Try!
Make it an experiment if you want—do it daily and count off the days and see if it transforms your thinking. Chances are, your gratefulness will make the dot feel smaller, and the uplifting of your heart will change how you perceive it, maybe even how you respond to the dot. And that might make the dot disappear altogether!
There will always be a dot. But there also will always be many things in our lives to be thankful for. Becoming a person who routinely practices gratitude may be the best one of all.
You’ll also like 3 Ways Positive Self-Talk Can Improve Your Life, When Life Gives You a New Normal, How to Move On From the Loss of a Dream in a Healthy Way, Just Because She’s Pretty, Doesn’t Mean You’re Not, and check out our recent podcast: Don’t Start the New Year Stuck in a Rut – 021