Imagine if you will this imagery.  

A string of cultured pearls is a thing of beauty. Each one is perfectly matched and strung together to create a display of loveliness. Your mental image of the pearls is one of peace and pleasure. How nice it would be to have a memory of the days of your life as lovely as a string of pearls!

This sounds like a Madison Avenue spiel for the happy, perfect life, doesn’t it?

The truth is that we all know life is not always lovely, it is by no means perfect, and it certainly isn’t days of peace and pleasure. Life is messy and at times totally unlovely.

Okay then, if we can’t expect perfection or a ‘string of sunny, lovely days’, how are we ever going to live it well? The secret, if there is one, is easier than you know.

It is what you, alone, allow to be in your life. Yes, you read that correctly, allow. It’s difficult to think that we allow things to upset us or to sour a day, but it’s true. We do have control over the days we live, but we have to consciously exercise that control.

Attitude has a tremendous impact on our minds. Have you ever known someone who brought such a negative attitude into your life that it made a beautiful sunny day seem to be one of clouds and gloom? How you view life’s unpredictable situations can do just that—sunshine gives way to chill grimness if you allow outside forces to ‘own’ your day.

Allowing situations to control your day is easier than it sounds. If misplacing your car keys means that for the entire day you will be in a bad mood, then you’ve permitted that small inconvenience to rule the next twelve hours of your life. If being stuck in an unexpected traffic jam on your way home from work ruins your whole night, then that jam has control over your evening. Keep it up and you won’t have even one minute of a well-lived life.

Not being one of them by nature, I have always admired sunny, laid-back people. I asked a colleague, who never seemed to get bent of shape by any problem, even a grumpy, shouting boss, how he kept so calm in the small daily storms. How could he keep his good humor in all situations?

“Oh, I do get annoyed, believe me, but I always know that life is constantly changing and the annoyances of the moment will pass. Besides, I try to see the humor in every situation and the humanity in every person.”

The humor in every situation and the humanity in every person. Now that is a great philosophy on living a well-lived life!

Everything is viewed through your own personal vision that’s true, but it is how you react to situations and people around you that determines whether you will live well or not. If it is at all possible to remove any negativity from your life, get started and do it.

Co-workers who are constantly draining you because of their negative view on life can have less of an impact on your own life if you can limit your contact with them to only the workplace. Don’t join them for lunch and listen to them lament their daily lives. Go for a walk or to a park if the weather is nice, if it isn’t go to any indoor place nearby your work and read, daydream, or just relax.

It is harder to avoid close friends and family with negative outlooks but, even there, you have a choice. You can be miserable and drained by them or you can gently tell them the truth about what they are doing to themselves and to others by their negativity. Even if it doesn’t work, at least you tried.

As for situations that are outside of your personal control such as the aforementioned traffic jams, lost items, delays, etc., it helps to remember that there will always be some annoyances somewhere in your life. Dealing with them in a manner that makes your own day better is what will make your own life happier. Life is what you live every day, not somewhere out in the future. Take control of how you live.

“Live your life well. Remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it will take a part of your life with it.” Native American Saying

© copyright 2018 Kristen Houghton


  • Kristen Houghton

    Kristen Houghton

    Thrive Global

    Kristen Houghton is the award-winning author of the popular series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation.  She is also the author of nine novels, two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, a book of essays, and a children’s novella. Her horror novel, Welcome to Hell, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. Houghton has covered politics, news, and lifestyle issues as a contributor to the Huffington Post. Her writing portfolio includes Criminal Element Magazine, a division of Macmillan Publishing, Today, senior fiction editor at Bella Magazine, interviews and reviews for HBO documentaries, OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and The Style Channel. Before becoming a full-time  author, Kristen, who holds an Ed.D. in linguistics, taught World Languages on the high school and university levels. Along with her husband, educator Alan William Hopper, she is a philanthropist for Project Literacy and Shelters With Heart, safe havens for victims of domestic abuse and their pets . mailto:  [email protected]