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Whine Or Shine?

by Suzanne Hooley

"Suzanne Sez … " (Short Editorial Zone)

Having reached my limits today of being exposed to a constant barrage of negativity, other people’s personal drama, and back-biting vindication, I feel compelled to write this post … not as a “complaint about the complaints”, but as a way to educate you dear readers about something I learned a long time ago (and of which I continually have to remind myself in order to rise above and transcend the mire).   Perhaps what I’m about to say will be as cathartic for you to read, as it is for me to express …

There are (2) books that I would strongly encourage you to read or listen to, and both have made a significant impact in my life since I initially read them 20+ years ago:   “Man’s Search For Meaning”, by Viktor Frankl … and “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”, by Stephen Covey.    These are not books that you want to quickly breeze through … these are books that you want to experience and contemplate as you read / listen.

Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor who was imprisoned in several concentration camps, including Auschwitz … his parents, brother, and pregnant wife were all put to death.   For whatever reason (a purpose greater than himself obviously), Frankl survived.   In his memoir “Man’s Search For Meaning”, Frankl wrote that we “cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward “.   (Emphasis added.)

In “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”, business and leadership author Stephen Covey wrote that before we can adopt and embrace any or all of the seven habits, a transformation called a paradigm shift must occur.    This “paradigm shift” is a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works … in other words, how we perceive what affects us, and how we react accordingly.   In his opening chapters which explain the necessary “paradigm shift” and our choice to do so, Covey actually refers to and quotes some of Frankl’s writings.

In a nutshell, and I’m paraphrasing here:   “Between every stimulus and response, between every action and reaction, between every cause and effect lies a SPACE.   Within that space lies our FREEDOM to choose our response, our action, or the effect we want to achieve.   Within that CHOICE lies the key to our happiness and emotional well-being.”

Think about it … think about all the negative stimuli that bombard you each day … what you hear, what you see … even what you say …

But have you ever stopped to realize that the vast majority of events and circumstances in this Life really do go RIGHT?!   Think about the millions of programmed traffic signals … about how thousands of airplanes depart and arrive safely each day … about all the things that we experience in our daily lives … all the events that take a significant amount of technological coordination   Think about how the earth rotates on its axis with 24-hour cycles of day and night … over and over and over again … all the things in Life that we know to be true and unfailing!    The fact that you exist, and that you woke up this morning … and the fact that so incredibly much has gone RIGHT today, not just in our own lives but all over the world … ALL these events and circumstances are miraculous in and of themselves!

The next time you hear / see negative stimuli, or the next time that you think you need to complain about how horrible your day or your life is, or who wronged you … remember that you have the freedom to choose your response to ANY stimulus!

So, WHINE … or SHINE?   What’s it going to be?   The choice is entirely up to YOU!

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2 Responses to “Whine Or Shine?”

December 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm, Paul Sabelhaus said:

Suzanne, the Minds misery is chiefly its own fault. Provided under the good providence of God the mind in the long run will be happy just in its proportion to its fidelity and wisdom. When it is miserable it has grasped the thorns in its path, and it cries out in loud complaint. And that complaint is but the louder confession that the thorns which grew there it planted.

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December 19, 2013 at 5:10 pm, Suzanne Hooley said:

Paul, thanks for your comment! Wise words too … they speak of “negative self-fulfilling prophecy”.

Like the human tongue, the human mind can sometimes be its own worst enemy. I believe it was Earl Nightingale who once wrote (paraphrased here), “We are what we think … and we become that which we think about most of the time.”

So in reference to your note and “complaining about the thorns in one’s path” … yes, that person’s thorns were likely self-planted.

Thanks again for your thoughts … take care!

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