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Forge Your Focus (part III, the final installment of this series)


If you missed part I and part II, check them out for greater clarity:


We are finally here at the end of the three-part series about my life. I imagine that quite a few of you have explored both renditions of that shared existence and perhaps even uncovered your own insights or moments of realization. I hope you will share your thoughts and/or discoveries in the comments section.


I have found many take aways from this exercise as I went through it myself. First, I’ll share a little of what this experience was like for me. Writing about my “miserable life” was difficult. It is not the life I relate to, and I had to excavate abandoned corners of my memories to dredge up thoughts and feelings I have had in the past. It was not a made-up version. Everything in there were thoughts I had at one time or another when I was in a short-sighted, self-centered view. Once I opened my vision, my “marvelous life” emerged, and I felt empowered and energized. It is the story that I choose as my truth.


Life is a mix of experiences we enjoy and others we don’t care for, possibly even hate at times. Some suggest life is 50/50 good and bad. The exact number doesn’t matter, we all have our ups and downs. We often don’t have any control over what happens to us but we 100% have control over the story we tell about our circumstances. It’s a fun challenge to figure out how to be a hero of the challenging situations that come up in life!


Neuroscience confirms we have a negativity bias. I don’t believe pessimism is a natural tendency, rather that we are programmed to pessimism. Our brains gravitate towards drama. Take my blog posts for example. I have posted several blog posts and promoted them via social media in the same manner I did “My Miserable Life.” Within one week, I had double the number of views for “My Miserable Life” than my highest viewed post thus far that has been up for months. This is why the news outlets vie for our attention and receive it – especially the juicy/controversial stories!


When someone doesn’t reply to a text I send, my first thoughts go to, “I wonder if I’ve said something to offend them.” Or “I wonder if they’re mad or annoyed at me.”


If one of my kids was a little late coming home, I was sure they were kidnapped or in a horrific accident! Most times these initial thoughts are so far off base, but our brains are very convincing!


One helpful practice for me is this response, “yes, and what else is possible?” This is where we can choose to even the scales and focus on what else could be likely. For the text, it could be, “they must be busy!” I can tell you 99% of the time I don’t reply to a text is because I see it at an inconvenient time, then forget to address it when it’s more convenient. For my kids getting home a little late, it could be, “oh, they’re having so much fun, time escaped them.” Or, “poor kid, they probably hit all the red lights on the way home.”


We have a beautiful view from our front porch (the picture at the top of this post). Off to the southwest we enjoy many beautiful sunsets against a mountainous range. However, off to the northwest there is a small airport and an industrial section of our town. Both are in our view. I prefer the mountainous range. Our house could have a “terrible view” of factories and unsightly buildings, or it can have a “beautiful view” of mountains and blue sky or sunsets. The choice of where I focus is up to me.


There are so many distinct areas of our lives where we can apply this concept, not solely to our overall life. How can you be the hero in your job? Or how can you recognize or focus on the good when the negative pops up so freely? (even those scales!) What about your relationships – with people, money, time, your body, groups you associate with etc.


Remember to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments! Inquiring minds want to know! 😉


High Five!


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9 Comments


Terri Hayes
Terri Hayes
Nov 21, 2023

One thing I didn't bring up in the synopsis is a mention of what the world has termed "toxic positivity." I'm not sure I like the term exactly but the concept has merit. I think it's worth noting here a general idea of what toxic positivity is: Toxic positivity refers to the overemphasis on positive thinking while invalidating or dismissing genuine negative emotions or experiences. It's when people enforce an unrealistic expectation to always stay positive, disregarding the complexity of human emotions. For instance, phrases like "just be happy" or "good vibes only" can undermine someone's feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration, making them feel guilty for experiencing anything other than positivity. While positivity itself isn't harmful, the pressure to suppress…

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Terri Hayes
Terri Hayes
Nov 21, 2023

Well, you are in good company with the rest of us humans! We are all trying our best and assuming good intent can be a challenge.

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Guest
Nov 19, 2023

True, true! My first thought when reading this last blog was: It seems to be a human thing to be attracted to negative things...like "My Miserable Life". I had to read it because I know you and that was totally unexpected. So parts 2 and 3 were a must read. I am not much of one to comment. So here you have it! Thank you for great insights.

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Terri Hayes
Terri Hayes
Nov 21, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for your comment! Engagement just adds to the enlightenment :). Unfortunately when you post as a "guest," I don't know who you are. I'm sure we're friends from your comment, I just don't know which one :)

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8greyhaven
Nov 19, 2023

I enjoyed this three posts! The book Authentic Happiness sites several studies that show that people who choose a more optimistic way to frame their lives actually live longer .

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Terri Hayes
Terri Hayes
Nov 21, 2023
Replying to

I love backup! Thanks for adding to the subject!

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Guest
Nov 17, 2023

Terri- I really enjoyed your thoughts. You hit the nail on the head. I have a little sign in my bathroom that says “happiness is something you decide ahead of time.” Mindset can change everything. If we choose to focus on the good, it will be found.

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Terri Hayes
Terri Hayes
Nov 21, 2023
Replying to

I love that bathroom reminder! I should clarify that although feeling happy is great, we wouldn't even know what it is without misery so there is a place for the other side and valuing ALL emotions. It's more a matter of where we want to spend the majority of our time. My blog hosting site doesn't let me know who a guest commenter is so hi even though I'm not sure exactly who this is :).

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