Things can be generally good or generally bad but it is unlikely that our lives are ever perfectly amazing or completely terrible. I think that sometimes we forget that our lives are a series of situations, relationships, and actions and we have too many facets to be at 100% all day, every day. 

Everyone, even Oprah, has bad days. We each have days where we feel less-than or we worry more than we should. We each have times when one area of our life may be going great and others, not so much. This is life. 

Why mention this today? Because we tend to fixate on other people's single situations and compare our whole life. And too often, we compare our worst area to someone's best... resulting in feeling dejected, worn down, and insignificant. For example, I have several good things going right now but when I hear/see someone working out, having a strong morning routine, or training their dog a cool trick, I instantly jump to how terrible life is because I am "lacking" in those areas. I struggle to work out, I am trying to cultivate a morning routine, and I feel like there's never enough time spent with my dogs. That said, there could be someone out there who knows my positive areas and they may feel envious or sad about those things not happening for them at this moment. 

The point is, we see highlight reels all around us and we judge our entire lives on small one-off areas of insecurity. So how do we combat this? We must look for two good for every bad. For example:

Negative thought circulating in my mind right now: What's wrong with me that I can't seem to get up without hitting snooze 7 times? How do so many other people get up so effortlessly? (And I'm a morning person thinking this!)

Two areas I'm winning in: I've missed one blog posting week in almost an entire year (I'm winning at consistency)! And I'm connecting more with friends via text to check in and see how they are. This makes me feel like a good friend and like I'm winning at friendships. 

You see, for every area I'm doing poorly in, I'm doing at least two things positively. I admit, it was a stretch to find those two things because my mind has been focused on the negative, but that's the point. We can't keep focusing on single areas and believe they reflect our entire life. Instead, we need to realign our thinking to embrace the negative as areas to improve and to remember the areas where we are doing well in our lives. 

Now, I get it. If someone close to you has passed away, you've just been through a breakup, or you have lost your job, it can be extremely difficult to find small areas where you feel like things are going right. Sometimes the largest areas in our lives can be some of our most grief-filled but the two-for-one rule still applies. You could be winning at how you are helping family members. You could be winning at a renewed love of working out. You could be winning at any number of small things when your life seems overwhelmingly bleak or sad. The point is, you are never not winning at something- even if it's winning at getting out of bed in the morning. Nothing is too small to be a win. 

So the next time things feel bleak, overwhelming, and less than ideal, try the two-for-one rule and see how it shifts your thinking. Even better, write it down and the next time you feel sad, pull out the sheet of paper with all your winning areas for an extra boost. 

You can hear an audio reading of this blog post on Happiness Abound, The Podcast- Episode 68. Subscribe to Happiness Abound, The Podcast on iTunes or GooglePlay and follow us on Facebook or Instagram

Photo by Robert Lukeman on Unsplash