What You Focus on Matters

Alternate Title: Perspective creates your reality

aperture blur downtown focus
Photo by Marek on Pexels.com

When you watch a movie you follow the focus of the lens, you let the script unfurl in front of you. You know who the main characters are by that focus, you know what the story is. Well life is the same way, except the lens is not only your eyes and ears but also what you mentally and emotionally focus on. You alone decide what genre your movie is. And that focus or perspective creates that genre. Just like a director of an uplifting inspirational film may start with the main character being downtrodden, the director would make sure that the final frame was one of hope or empowerment.

Perspective is zooming your lens to help better create your movie and with the right focus you can make your movie be something more happy or inspirational, if only to you. The movie of your life may fall into many genres over your lifetime but remember you create the picture by what you choose to focus on. By changing perspective you not only have a more fulfilling life but it also helps with that previously mentioned “magic feeling”. In order to make sure your genre is one more lighthearted, adventurous, comedic, or even heartwarming you will need to shift your focus to gratitude, positivity, and appreciation.

I know how amorphous that sounds… like one of those grade school posters hanging faded on the classroom bulletin board stating “Just Think Positive”! To which many would say, ‘if it were that simple, then I’d being doing that already’. See I myself am only scratching the surface of how awesome it is to be grateful, to focus on the positive, and generally be appreciative for what I have and where life has led me. And I know that it can be hard to even get to beginner level. My past self was inundated with phrases like “gratitude is the best attitude”, “you make your own fun”, and “the greatest power you could ever possess is the power of positivity”.  To which my brain would almost always make the sarcastic rebuttal of, “Oh okay, is that all? Wow, I feel sooo much better!” Because even if we tried for a minute to focus on the positive, most of us would then fall right back into our old negative thought processes. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that those in the know of how to break these negative patterns hardly explain it well to those who are stuck in lack/despair mindset. When all you see is what you don’t have, and you look around at the world, at the news, and all you see is hunger, war, death, and despair… well it’s hard to just ignore it all and start whistling a happy tune. (Then add the fact that many of the people who shove “be positive” statements down our throats are ungrateful negative people who use such statements to shut down your feelings, because they themselves can hardly deal with their own emotional insecurities, let alone yours…. So yeah, hard to learn to be positive from someone like that.)

But as someone who does feel that magic feeling, and generally tries to be grateful, appreciative, and have a more positive outlook (but like I said I’m definitely still learning myself)… I want to help you change your focus. Just because there is violence and darkness in the world, does not mean the world is without fluffy animals and flowers. (PS, past self, I know you were a goth chick, but even you liked roses and thought fluffy animals were cute.)

So with societal conditioning and our ingrained flight or fight survival instinct processing the world we see around us, we ultimately as human beings tend to lean towards a negative focus. You could have heard the funniest joke then immediately after stubbed your toe, and then hours later after the pain had subsided, you recall the long gone pain from the toe but forget all about the feeling of laughter from the joke. See the thing is focus. What you focus on becomes your reality and that is what I am going to discuss to help make those above topics make sense.

To be clear I am not saying that in order to change your reality you must ignore all other feelings than happiness. Those with a brighter outlook feel a full range of emotions. A positive focus would be what you decide to emotionally sit in. You can sit in anger, but it does not punish those that have hurt you, it punishes yourself. You can sit in sadness but it does not bring back anything you may have lost. Negative emotions serve their purpose of processing the injustices of the world around us, but they are terrible motivators for day to day life. Revenge and working in spite of is depending on the reactive feelings of someone else which you ultimately cannot control. So negative emotions are much like falling into a big old puddle of mud. You can be sad that your outfit is ruined, you can be annoyed that you wound up in the mud, and even angry that someone pushed you into the mud. But sitting in that mud and thinking those things does not clean your clothes or get you out of the puddle. It is your decision to stand, clean yourself off and perhaps even laugh off the situation that makes it better. When we sit in the negative mud feelings, we aren’t happy. And continuing to focus on those negative things is much like mentally sitting in that mud puddle long after you have stood up, changed your clothes, and cleaned yourself off. Why stay covered in mud?

A great example of focus creating your reality would be a very simple children’s book by Mo Willems called “My Friend is Sad”. In it Piggie the Pig sees that her friend  Gerald the Elephant  is sad, so she decides she will surprise him by dressing up as some of Gerald’s favorite characters, first as a cowboy, then a clown, and finally a robot. Each time Gerald is momentarily happy only to sigh and look forlorn. Having been unsuccessful in her attempt to cheer up her friend, Piggie approaches Gerald with apology that she can’t cheer him up. However once Gerald sees Piggie he is happy, and explains that though it was AMAZING that he saw a cowboy, a clown, and a robot all in one day, Piggie was not there to enjoy it with him and thus was sad. This is perspective, this is focus. The humor is that of course Piggie was there all along, but another take away is that, perspective and focus are key. See even though Piggie knew that those three characters were Gerald’s favorite, Gerald couldn’t enjoy the sight of any of those characters because his focus was on lack, on how he was without. He couldn’t enjoy because his focus wouldn’t allow him to. ( My Friend is Sad … not endorsed or recommending you buy just linking in case you are curious)

Lack mentality is definitely something present in the United States (and probably all over the consumerist world but I know I can only speak for what I’ve seen in the US) , lack mentality is encouraged by society, for without it, advertisers would have a hard time marketing their array of items to us. Think of all the different products you’ve seen advertised, useful or not, that are sold to the consumer (you) with the underlining message of “your life is unfulfilling in some way because you lack X, so buy it” as though with that item you will be complete (that is at least until the next product comes along). Now I certainly would not admonish anyone for purchasing items they desired or having a feeling of lack.  However, if you want to change the script of your movie from one of victimhood to one of emotional fortitude, than you need to change your focus.

You can continue to focus on lack and what is wrong or you can be appreciative and grateful for what you have. Does this erase all that is wrong with the world? Of course not. Does it make your day to day living more fulfilling and possibly affect others in a positive way? For most, that’s a big freaking YES.  Shifting focus doesn’t mean being ignorant or unaware of the world, it means being hyper aware of the good, much of which we often take for granted.

Now like I said, I am by no means a pro at this. I have many “bad” days and days where despite my best efforts I am mentally and emotionally stuck in that metaphorical mud puddle. But overall, I try to mentally thank the universe for giving me so many things, for a life filled with so much good, and for some freaking awesome people. I also try to verbally thank those who do kind or good things, even if it’s just their regular day to day job. Whether you are looking at it from a social or metaphysical perspective, it makes a lot of sense that those who are grateful and appreciative are the ones that get rewarded by life. Yes of course those who aren’t appreciative and grateful get some rewards too and sometimes those who are grateful do get crapped on as well. But look at it this way, say hypothetically you have two friends you exchange Christmas gifts with every year. Friend A, scoffs at what she is given, even if it is something you went out of your way to purchase she acts as though you  should have read her mind and is annoyed that you didn’t get her EXACTLY what she wanted, never thanks you and may ask you to return and purchase something else instead.  Meanwhile Friend B, is appreciative that you thought of her, and maybe you got her something she already has or something the wrong size, she will only tell you to be honest but still be appreciative. Now, I know how I would feel as the person giving gifts. Maybe the first time I would feel bad that I got Friend A the wrong thing (even if she hadn’t told me what she wanted). But as that attitude continued, I would feel as though Friend A was ungrateful, I would not try as hard, because I would then feel like all they care about is the presents I give, and I may even contemplate why we are friends. Friend A may even be one of those people that say “don’t get me anything” but then whines when you don’t actually get something because secretly she wanted a gift.  Then with Friend B, I would try harder if I got the wrong size or maybe even get her a better more expensive present than I would get Friend A, because she was appreciative. So life is kind of like this. Maybe initially, people jump through hoops for the picky mean person, but ultimately we want to spoil the person who is thankful.  So that is another way that being grateful and appreciative is helpful to you.

I want to make something very clear. Creating your reality is not blaming yourself for bad things that happened to you, or being at fault. Some books I’ve read that talk about manifesting and creating your best life, talk about how we attract things to ourselves as though we wanted bad things to happen to us. Even people with positive attitudes get mugged or have cancer. Sometimes shitty things happen to the most good and positive people. Though I do believe we attract things… such as misery loves company as well as when you see a person smile often times you cannot help but smile in return.  So yes there are definitely some undefined laws of attractions. That does not mean you deserved to be hurt. If you have been hurt in someway, please know that you aren’t what has happened to you. You are what you do, how you react, and how you think. Your thoughts are key… you decide to sit in the role of victim or survivor. Some things that happen to us are really crazy awful but you get to choose how you perceive the situation. Example: (don’t worry it’s a gentle example, I don’t want to trigger anyone) someone purposefully stabbed you in the back and told someone something very personal about yourself… you could be bitter that the person hurt you, you could feel worthless, you could decide never to trust another human again. Or you can focus on the good in your life, cut that person out of your life if possible, and be aware of signs of someone who is trustworthy or not. You get to choose, how you frame this. Being angry, being sad, rarely ever hurts the person who hurt you.  This does not mean that it’s “okay” that someone hurt you in some way, it means that you control your life. Being angry or sad does not punish those that hurt you it punishes yourself.

So, your focus helps create your reality. And when you shift your persepctive to a more positive focus, then you will attract more positive and sometimes even bring out the positive in others. By changing your thoughts and focus, you in turn change your life.

So as you can see it’s something so incredibly simple yet so freaking hard!  So you might want to give it a try, if not, well thanks for reading!

 

In Summary or the Quick Notes version:

Shifting your focus changes the movie of your life, you get to decide what you focus on, the good or the bad. If you want a better, more happy reality then…

  • Focus more on the positive (not in a way of unawareness or ignorance but in a way of super awareness for the good in the world)
  • Be grateful for people in your life and what you have, especially the things and people you often take for granted
  • Appreciate the moments of good & when nice things are done for you. (A great way to help this is to think of 3 things every day you can be thankful for… this can be mundane like “I’m thankful I was able to eat yummy/healthy food” or “I’m thankful that I have socks to keep my feet warm on this cold day”… or big things like “I am thankful that the boss really liked my project proposal and how I rocked that meeting”)

And ways to help do this…

  • Start to follow social media posts of positive quotes, stories (I will recommend some in a future post)
  • Watch and read more positive films/fiction such as inspirational movies, happy stories etc.
  • Try saying affirmations & writing in a journal
  • Read some of the recommended titles below to help develop these skills and thought patterns to improve your life.

 

The next post or so I will follow up on this! Especially with lists of some movies, books, and social media pages or links that have helped me stay with a more positive and grateful mindset. Maybe they will help you!

Remember You Got This!

-Heather

 

Books to  help develop this new positive mindset:

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counter-intuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson  (Not as jaded as the title might suggest)

Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of The Tao by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod **

The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer**

The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein **

Grateful:  The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass  (Only just started reading this so  don’t know how helpful it is)

**I personally have not read these titles but have heard that these titles were influential for other people I know.  (The non-asterisk titles I have read and HIGHLY recommend!)

I have read a lot more self help than the titles above but these are the titles I found most helpful on the core topic of changing your reality based upon your thoughts and focus.

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