I used to be a full-on pessimist. If something could go wrong, I’d expect it to go wrong and usually it would. Not surprising, really, given how much time I spent manifesting the worst-case scenario. But over time I changed. I’m no longer looking for proof that the world is against me. Rather, I’m looking for good and in doing so I’m seeing so much more of it. The world and the people in it can be so wonderfully, thoughtfully surprising.
Of course, there’s a limit. Sometimes you just need to call a jerk a jerk. Right? Hmmm, hold that thought.
Here’s what happened when I wasn’t looking for good
I had him pegged. That man on the train watching his action movie without headphones on? He clearly thought he was the centre of the universe. I mean, why wouldn’t I and every other passenger around him want to listen to his movie soundtrack while trying to get lost in our thoughts and books and social streams? [Insert eye roll here.]
You know, I wouldn’t have been so harsh to judge him if it weren’t for our very brief dialogue earlier. I was moving from seat to seat trying to find the perfect spot for my four-hour trip to Ottawa. (The one originally assigned to me was rear-facing. Nope, not happening.) As I was milling about the carriage, he caught my eye so I explained what I was doing.
‘I’m trying to find the perfect seat,’ I said.
‘As long as it’s not here,’ he replied with a slight smirk on his face and his hand on the empty seat beside him.
As if, buddy. As if I’d pass up the chance to have that nearby empty row all to myself and choose to sit next to you. P-lease.
I’ll be honest — with two strikes against him, I’d written the guy off. If I’d have met him at a party after that train ride, I’m pretty sure I would have given him a wide berth and told people about his abysmal train etiquette.
But here’s the thing. He really wasn’t a bad guy at all. On the contrary, he was super, super nice. Nice to the point that I will honestly never forget him, and here’s why.
I was having a nap. Napping is something I’m good at.
Why not take advantage of the dulcet hum of this whirring train, I thought.
I contorted my body across my two seats but I just couldn’t get comfortable. As I stood up to rearrange myself, I saw Mr. Centre-of-the-Universe point to the blue down vest on the chair beside him and then point at me with a look that said, ‘Do you want this?’ Not exactly what I expected, I’ll admit.
I smiled and shook my head no, then I took my own faux fur jacket out of the overhead bin, rolled it up into a pillow, assumed the fetal position, and nodded off. I’m not sure how long I’d been asleep, but I was awoken by the sound of my phone ringing.
As I groggily opened my eyes to reach for it, I caught Mr. Centre-of-the-Universe gently placing his blue jacket over me before casually returning to his seat as if he did this kind of thing every day (this kind kind of thing). What was clearly something that came naturally to him was, to me, the kindest gesture I’ve ever received from a stranger.
Looking for good is often easier said than done.
When you’re caught in a negative rut, it can be hard to see the good in the world. When you’re sharing close quarters with a man watching a movie without headphones, it can be hard to see the good in the man watching a movie without headphones. I totally get that. So, what are you supposed to do?
If you can’t see it, believe in it anyway.
Keep looking for good!
If I hadn’t decided to take a nap on that train, I wouldn’t have had this experience and I wouldn’t have witnessed the kindness of this stranger, but his inherent kindness would have existed nonetheless. My point is this: you may not always see it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Keep searching.
When you’re looking for good, good stuff happens.
I don’t believe it’s pure coincidence, and I don’t believe it’s simply because you see more when your eyes are open. Obviously, it’s partly that. In the same way that you suddenly see a gazillion blue cars the day you buy a blue car, you suddenly see good in the world the day you buy into the notion of good existing. But it’s more than that.
We have the power to manifest good in our lives.
Yes, I’ve watched The Secret and I know all about The Law of Attraction but I’ve never grabbed onto the movement in a significant way. I just know this power exists because I am using it and it is working.
I am manifesting good in my life. Are you?
After flipping the switch on my right to be amazing (screw you, imposter syndrome) and deciding that it’s time to make real s**t happen, I began reaching out to people I would never have had the courage to reach out to before. I’m talking public figures I admire, including a young and incredibly talented stylist and art director I discovered on Instagram, a kindness-spreading entrepreneur I met at a yoga conference, and the first-time author of an esteemed book that has inspired me to write my own (no b.s.).
Granted, they’re not exactly up there with the Lady Gagas of the world, but reaching out to them was still intimidating enough. Instead of assuming that they wouldn’t have the time of day for little old me, I decided that they might, just might, appreciate my appreciation of them and guess what? They did.
Three awesome women responded to my outreach and then responded to my responses to their responses. I believed that a connection was possible and lo and behold, it was. Do you know what else is possible? Human kindness. Finding love. Achieving your goals. All that and more. And if you don’t believe that, you might as well go ahead and kiss a happy life goodbye.
When you choose to believe in goodness and go looking for good in others and the world at large, your heart will have no choice but to open. And when your heart opens, so will the door to new and surprisingly beautiful possibilities.
So stay on the lookout. There’s a lot of beauty out there. Eyes wide open, friend. Eyes wide open.
Viv for Today xo
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