It doesn’t matter what obstacle you’re facing. It might be a financial obstacle that’s preventing you from going to that conference you dream of attending. It could be a spiritual obstacle that’s keeping you from growing in your faith walk. It might be a serious diagnosis holding you back from living life to the fullest.
The truth is you can’t control your obstacles. What you can control is your response to them and you can choose to respond with gratitude. That’s not easy when you’re in pain, when you’re discouraged, when you’re picked on, and picked last.
But the problem with putting on negative nelly glasses is they keep you from seeing solutions to your obstacles. Instead, it’s far more productive to look for creative ways to overcome your challenges and that starts with gratitude…
Let go of expectations. Sometimes, we encounter obstacles simply because we’re unwilling to bend our idea of how things should be. But consider this: do you really have to fly first class to attend that business conference? Could you take a road trip with your spouse or a good friend over the weekend? Would you be willing to take a train instead?
Let the Universe know that you’re not fixed on a method. You might say something simple like, “I know You’ve always provided for me and I thank You for that. You know I want to do (activity) but I need (travel). Would You provide a way? I don’t know what that way might look like, but I’m open to anything!”
Then stand back and watch as doors begin to open and situations begin to shift, all because you look for a new perspective.
Brighten someone else’s day. When you encounter obstacles, it’s easy to develop an internal focus. You start thinking about how hard your life is and why things aren’t quite working out for you. This can lead to feelings of overwhelm or depression.
Instead, remind yourself that others have a difficult time, too. Take a moment to brighten someone else’s day. This can be as simple as giving a handful of quarters to a kid at the crane machine, asking the disabled shopper if she needs you to grab that item on the top shelf, or simply making eye contact and thanking your server at the restaurant.
Share your feelings. Sometimes, obstacles make us want to hide away. Your obstacle may leave you feeling ashamed or scared of how others might judge you. But often, the very thing you shy away from (community) is what you need most in these moments.
Bring your problems to the people who have always been supportive of you. This might be your business partner who believed in you when no one else did or your mother who’s always listened to your ideas.
Listen for solutions. The amazing thing about those who love us is they can often see a situation more clearly than we can. In fact, your business partner, mom, or spouse may have a valid solution to the problem you’re facing.
It’s easy to get caught up in the belief that you’ve tried everything or that nothing will work. But these defeatist attitudes keep you from hearing potential solutions. If someone you love offers one up, don’t be quick to dismiss it. Instead, pause and ask yourself if it could work.
Even if your support system can’t offer a solution to your problem, still take the time to thank your people for their compassion and willingness to listen.
When we are Thankful we view people and the world from positive lenses.