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How I’m learning to “good-spot” my way to happiness

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ElenaEmiliya | Shutterstock

Cecilia Pigg - published on 04/19/22

Can we let the good overwhelm us for a change?

Have you good-spotted today? Oh, you’ve never good-spotted before? Well, let me explain …

The number of things that go right in a day far outweigh the bad things we experience. If you don’t believe that, think back on the last 24 hours with an open mind. It’s tricky because we naturally notice negativity and our own suffering.

But, like anything we struggle with in this way, we can reverse our natural tendencies and old habits by building new habits. I’ll use something that happened to me today to explain how this can be done. 

A few years ago, I would have considered today a “bad day.” It started first thing this morning. I woke up feeling sick–my head and throat hurt, and I was congested. Then at every turn, it seemed like something happened that made me feel worse, or more stressed. I knew it was not a busy day, so I had hoped for a day of relaxation and recovery, but things just kept happening. The house was also a mess from the weekend. (I don’t know about you, but relaxing in a messy house is hard for me.)

Then, one of my children was inexplicably grumpy and particularly needy pretty much the whole day. On top of everything, my lunch plans — which would normally have been a shot of joy in the afternoon — got canceled while I was en route to the restaurant.

Instead of handling everything thrown at me with peace and love, I responded to my circumstances throughout the day by becoming snappy, grouchy, and just overall not a fun person to be around. 

Thankfully, I had the wherewithal and habit to turn to “good-spotting.

I realized the funk I was in, and made the decision to actively start looking for (and reminding myself of) the good things that were happening all around me. I started by looking at my kids. They are healthy and just recovered from a recent bout of lingering sickness. Despite their crankiness, there were sweet and surprising moments with them that I had overlooked.

I have a working car that I used to day to go to and from my canceled lunch plans. The sun came out after a gray morning. A neighbor I don’t know very well thoughtfully checked in on me after noticing my trunk was left open. My husband noticed I was struggling and put his evening plans on hold after work until he had cleaned the kitchen and dining room, to help me regain some sanity.

As I started realizing all the good things, I was able to notice even more.

My next door neighbor’s tulips had bloomed, and they were stunning. This is the time of year when the bugs aren’t bad, and the weather can be perfect—making spending time outside truly delightful. As the day wore on, I felt a little better physically and had the energy to accomplish a few small tasks after everyone was in bed. And I was still able to go to bed early and catch up on some needed rest.

Once I started seeing the good things, I had to stop listing them because I was too overwhelmed by how much good there was present in my life today. 

Can we let the good overwhelm us for a change? It’s so easy to let the bad take center stage, but it is much more rewarding and enjoyable to get caught up in the beauty of life.

Good-spotting takes practice. If it helps, you can rename this practice to “God-spotting.” Ask Him to show you all the good He has for you. Try good-spotting today, and slowly let it become second nature.  

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