4 Tips for Being Positive When Life is Hard
We all know life can be hard. People hurt us, the past haunts us, coworkers mistreat us, parents don’t love us, friends don’t consider us, spouses don’t honor us, children don’t appreciate or respect us, finances don’t support us and our health doesn’t sustain us. Sometimes having a positive outlook and an optimistic attitude can seem impossible to achieve, much less maintain. But even when life gets hard, we don’t have to let our hearts get hard.
Whether or not our hearts and mind stay positive in the midst of hard times is entirely up to us, yet all too often we let our negative thoughts harden our hearts. Fortunately, through the strength, peace and joy found in Christ, we are all capable of shattering the hard shell on our hearts by intentionally choosing to think positive. Happiness is a choice, not a byproduct of a perfect life. So regardless of what life brings, we can all choose optimism and joy.
Despite the hurts of your past, the difficulties of your present circumstances or the fears about your future, you can make optimistic thinking a reality in your life. When you do, your life will change, even if your circumstances remain the same.
The first step in pursuing a changed life is believing it can actually happen for you. Below are a few tips to start your mind over matter transformation.
- Don’t ask “why me?” Ask “why not me?”
Maybe you’ve found yourself asking “why me?” when life feels hard. When we feel crushed under the weight of our problems, we can’t help but think life is unfair, and even maybe God is unfair since He’s allowing such adversity in our life. But John 16:33 (NLT) says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” When I read this verse recently, I was drawn back to the word “all.” We could assume Jesus meant “all this” to refer to “all this instruction I’ve told you.” Or we could interpret it to mean, He told us ALL that we would have troubles, which we do.
At times we might still wonder why others aren’t taxed with the same troubles we are, or maybe it seems we have more than our fair share, leading us to entertain that life is indeed unfair. But the fact is, we ALL have difficult circumstances. Doesn’t that actually make life fair? You see, God doesn’t pick favorites, and it wouldn’t be fair for some people to have trouble and others to have none. With that in mind, shouldn’t we consider “why not me?” instead of “why me?” When we are struggling, it helps to remember God is a fair and just God, and He loves us as much as anyone else. All of us get an equal share of His strength to face whatever circumstances are happening in our lives.
- Count your blessings.
Sometimes the hurt or pain life inflicts seems like too much to handle, and fears can threaten to paralyze us and steal our hope. Been there, done that and bought the T-shirt. During one particular season when life was more difficult than ever due to a painful situation in my marriage, I decided to start keeping a list in my journal with the little daily blessings from God instead of just pouring out my thoughts and anxieties each day. I soon realized that when I focused on my blessings, I felt more positive, even if my circumstances remained the same. As I spent time counting my blessings, I spent less time and energy counting my losses, which helped to boost my spirits and my faith.
- Don’t let your fears overtake you.
I am a worrier. I can’t help it. It’s a problem. I try not to, but I do. I love the Lord and trust Him, but my mind still gets lost in fears from time to time. When I can’t control a situation, I tend to think of all the worst case scenarios, and then my fears start growing larger. Maybe yours do too. After all, we’re only human, and life often gives us a lot of reason to worry. On days when I find myself feeling burdened with worry and my mind runs wild with worst case scenarios, I recall the hope found in Psalm 23:4, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” It’s such a sweet verse to tuck into our hearts when we are feeling afraid of the unknown. The truth is, the unknown is probably not nearly as scary as we think it might be.
- Commit to being positive, even if you have every reason to be negative.
It takes as much energy to be negative as it does to be positive, so why not put our energy into something that will bring joy into our life instead of discouragement and pessimism? This is one tip I forced myself to put into practice during the most difficult season of my life. I was spending a lot of time being negative, obsessing over hurt and fears and letting negative emotions, worries and fears control my life and my happiness. I finally reached the point where I was fed up with feeling sad and ready to start enjoying life again. I made the choice to be positive, even when my circumstances were less-than-positive. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. When I chose to take control of my mind and my thoughts and my own happiness, I was released from the bondage the enemy had over my thinking patterns and my joy. The same is possible for you, my friend, by choosing to be positive, no matter what.
We can’t change our circumstances or control the situations and people in our lives, and God may not change them right away either, no matter how much we pray about them. But what we can do is stop obsessing over what we can’t change, start focusing on what we can and let God handle the rest.
We can change our hearts. We can surrender our fears. We can trust God has a plan that we can’t possibly see right now – a plan to help us prosper, have hope and a beautiful future. We can believe He has a purpose for the things that happen in life, and He will somehow use it for our good. We can ask for God’s peace, instead of letting negativity, pessimism and worry become a toxic illness in our hearts, minds and lives. We can ask for Him to let us feel His Presence so we know we’re not alone. We can ask for spiritual eyes to see when He is blessing us in little and big ways, and we can always ask for a thankful heart.
There’s a lot we can’t control, but what we can control is our thoughts, which in turn controls our emotions and actions. Loving God in the hard times is not always easy, but it always worth the effort. Once you begin making these tips a part of your everyday life, you will be on the cusp of experiencing a true mind over matter transformation. When you change the way you think, your life will take a turn for the better.
Tracie Miles is passionate about inspiring women to deepen their relationship with Christ and live a life of joy, peace and happiness despite their circumstances. She is a speaker and writer with Proverbs 31 Ministries and enjoys sharing at women’s events around the country. She is the author of three books, including her latest release Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies to Transform the Way You Think, Feel, and Live.