A while ago, I attended a birthday get-together where part of the celebration was reading and laughing about the birthday-girl’s “Hate List,” which she had apparently been creating for a long time. It wasn’t rude, and some of the items were actually quite funny. For some reason though, it rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t stop to think about why.
Today I was having a lovely time riding my bike. I was relishing the beautiful weather. I was enjoying the sounds and smells of nature. I was contemplating all the things I love about life. Mentally, I was listing everything about my ride that filled me with joy. I was in the moment.
I pedaled around a curve and suddenly came up on a man walking a Jack Russell terrier. This little dog did not like me one bit and decided to lunge at me, barking and growling, as I rode past. Unfortunately, he was on an extendable leash, and his owner struggled to keep him from biting me. Thankfully, I escaped unscathed.
As I rode away, my heart thumping in my chest, I started thinking about everything I hate about extendable leashes. I hate how people have so little control of their dogs. I hate that dogs on these leashes run in front of my bike. I hate that people know they have aggressive dogs and yet still use these leashes.
And then I stopped myself.
I was ruining my lovely ride by focusing on things I hate. Those thoughts yanked me right out of my peaceful, joyous space and thrust me into an ugly, negative space.
And then I got it. I understood why that “Hate List,” although funny, rubbed me so wrong.
Focusing on things we hate destroys our joy and robs us of time we can spend on things we love.
So for the rest of my ride, I actively chose to focus on positive thoughts, not on things I hate. Within moments of making this decision, I was again relishing the beautiful weather, enjoying the sounds and smells of nature, contemplating all the things I love about life. I was back in the moment.
I wonder, how much better would life be if we spent more time focusing on things we love rather than on things we hate?
Personally, I’m choosing to focus on things I love. In fact, I’m going to start a list so on challenging days I can read the list and remind myself of all the lovely things in my life.
What about you? What are you going to choose to focus on today? Things you love or things you hate?