The Question That Changed My Perspective

The Question That Changed My Perspective

What’s Good In Your Life Right Now?

I was having a rough time, which unfortunately seems to be my new normal. I’m a disabled veteran with chronic joint pain as my primary diagnosis, followed with depression. I’m still grieving the loss of my mother, of who I’ve always known her to be. She’s been a nursing home for about two years now with a diagnosis of Dementia. The evaluation of my friendships has led me to disengage and be open to others who will actively participate in my life, and also reciprocate my feelings.

It’s challenging for me to do basic living skills and home maintenance due to being in daily pain. It increases my depression when I think I’m too young to feel this way, too young to not be fully functional. The majority of my family doesn’t support my disability, which I’ll add stems from an injury I incurred during active duty in June 2000.
My grandmother’s health took a turn for the worse, which added to the grief I’m already dealing with from my mother’s mental decline. So many things going on within my body and mind, and that of my family.

A family member of my partner asked me how I was doing. I told him all of the above. He listened quietly, thoughtfully. He has a gift for being emotionally present when he’s around. He genuinely cares for others and wants to make others’ lives better. When I was finished speaking, I had tears in my eyes because it also adds to my depression to hear my own voice list my ailments. I looked at him sitting across the table from me. He met my eyes and thanked me for sharing about my life and for my honesty.

He then asked a question that changed my perception and challenges me daily to have a positive mindset. He asked, “So, Dee, tell me what’s good in your life right now.” I was stumped. I’ve been the type of person who sees the negative in my life and looks for a silver lining. His question challenged me to change my thought process. Instead of looking at the bad, I learned to simply focus on the good. After about a minute, I gave him several answers. I realized there was a lot of good in my life, none which I had to look for on the fringes of the bad.
His question haunted me in a good way. I still have down moments and then I ask myself that question: What’s good in my life right now? It helps lift me up. It helps me focus on positive things. It helps me see the goodness in my life and within myself. When I next saw him, I share this with him. He almost looked puzzled. He didn’t intend to provoke a life changing perspective in me. But, he did.

I was at a conference and the discussion turned to mental health issues. Person after person shared how they dealt with whatever disability they had. There were numerous stories of battling depression. I waited quietly for my turn to speak. I said, “Someone said something to me that I’ll share with you. I’m not giving it to you because I need to keep it for myself. What I’ll share is a short question, one that changed my life.” And, I asked that question: “What’s good in your life right now?” I challenged each person who shared their story to ask themselves that during their down times. I smile as I type this because I’m remembering some people providing answers, though I meant it for them to think about and apply to their lives later. It was encouraging to me to see others turn their thoughts around, just as that question had done for me.

I encourage you to think about, and also share, that question. Change your outlook. Challenge your thought processes and answer the question, “What’s good in your life right now?”

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