Bit of Happy #56: Look On The Bright Side

30 Nov

“You can complain that roses have thorns, or you can rejoice that thorns have roses.”
-Ziggy

This was actually one of the very first quotes I jotted down in my book. The author, Ziggy, definitely has a point that should not be missed. So often we blind ourselves of the positives in a given situation. We close our minds to the optimistic point of view – the flip side. Certainly not limited to roses, looking on the bright side of things in life should be as important as……. brushing your teeth in the morning – REALLY. Think about it. After you have just brushed your teeth, you’re left feeling clean and refreshed, right? Looking on the bright side of things will have you feeling the same way! Trust me. Well maybe not quite ‘clean,’ but certainly uplifted, like a breath of fresh air.

Okay, that whole ‘toothbrush’ analogy may have been stretching it a bit. I probably should have just stuck with the roses. I admit it!!! Anyway, I wanted to share a story with you; one that my grandmother always told me as a child. One that I try to keep in the back of my mind as I go through each day.

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It’s a story about my mother’s brother, Gregory (my uncle). He’s one of the happiest, most easy going people I’ve ever met – not a care in the world. Greg is also mentally disabled with the intelligence of about a four or five-year-old. He cannot read, write or drive, but he’s very smart in other ways. And one of his greatest gifts is his ability to bring out the best in people. Despite a lot of difficult challenges he’s been faced with through out life, he still finds a reason to smile and a way to see the positive in every situation. The best part about it is that he’s had this strength – this incredible talent – since he was little.

My mother gave Greg a birthday card for his 8th birthday – a Snoopy birthday card. (Snoopy was (and still is) his favorite cartoon character.) He was so excited to have received this card that he wanted to take it to school to show his class. At noon, all of the children had gone out to play for recess, and Greg wanted to show a classmate his new birthday card.

Greg handed the boy his birthday card and said, “Look, look! My sister got me a Snoopy card for my birthday.”

The boy observed the front of the card and then the inside. He then looked down at Greg and tore the card in half before handing it back to him.

Greg looked down at his card, now torn in two separate pieces. His face crinkled in dismay. He then looked up at the boy, and his features softened into a gentle smile. He held up his birthday card ripped in two pieces – one in each hand.

Now… I have two,” he said, grinning from ear to ear. Greg was completely genuine and sincere in the tone behind his words.

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Despite the negativity in the boy’s actions, Greg chose to see right through them and find the bright side of the situation. The significance lie not in the ripped birthday card, but in Greg’s reaction. The focus should not lie in the negativity, but in the optimism expressed in light of something not so favorable. I think if we all took a little more time to look on the bright side, we would find a lot more happiness in our future.

I just fell in love with this story the moment I heard it. So innocent. So brave. So optimistic. It’ll be one I carry with me for the rest of my life. Just a little reminder for myself. A little reminder to look on the bright side. And maybe (if I’m lucky enough), you’ll use this story as a reminder to do the same.

Do you have a story similar to this one where you or someone you know saw the bright side of a not so great situation?

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