Flipping the Switch

Turn on the positive, turn off the negative

Turn on the positive, turn off the negative

There have been two pieces of industrial-sized equipment whirring away in our master bathroom for the past two days, the result of a “water intrusion” incident.  This being the third such occurrence in less than two and a half months.  I will not bore you with the details, but there is an issue with the main line in our condo building that is in the process of never maybe someday hopefully soon being repaired.

We were favored with good luck in that we were home each time the water started flooding intruding into our home. Luckier still, my husband had the foresight to purchase a shop vac a few years ago, allowing him to diligently vacuum up bucketsful of water until the plumbers arrived.

Me, only let's be real, in sweats instead of a dress

Me, only let’s be real, in sweats instead of a dress

Wait…favored?  Good luck?  You may be asking how I can use these terms in the face of multiple incidents.  Believe me, five years ago I would have seen things in any entirely different, and much darker, light.  Instead of this post I would be writing a profanity-filled, anger-fueled rant that would make your head spin (think a female version of Ralphie and Randy’s dad in A Christmas Story, only with more cursing and less lovable grump).

I am thankful to say, however, that today I can tell a different story.  I have learned, through trial and error, and through taking one step forward and two steps back, how to change my outlook.  I am now in control of how I view things, and more importantly, how I allow them to effect my life.  I touched on this in a prior post, but I believe it bears repeating.  With conscious effort you can choose to turn a negative into either a positive, or at the least, a lesser degree of negative.


This is how I am able to “flip the switch” and to see the upside to our water woes.  Yes, it has been an inconvenience, but it could be worse.  If we had not been home the carpeting would have gotten soaked and possibly ruined.  Yes, as a condominium unit owner it can be frustrating having to follow the steps required to have the issue resolved.  We do have a home to return to each day, though, and that is something to be grateful for.  Plus, once the dust has settled (or in this case the water has receded) we will likely have a new floor at no cost to us.

When faced with an unpleasant or an inconvenient situation I urge you to try “flipping the switch”.  Take a moment to step back and analyze just how big the event or issue is in the grand scheme of your life.  Am I stuck in line at Walmart behind the woman who has four separate transaction due to coupons, and is it slowing me down?  Sure it is. Do I know her story? I do not. I can take a peek at her cart, however, and see baby food and diapers. So maybe I can create a story, and I can see that she is trying to feed a family of five on one income without having to go on public assistance. Or perhaps she is setting aside her savings to pay for a college education, or a dream vacation, or to pay medical bills for an aging family member.  Now, do my extra fifteen minutes in the store seem quite so important?  Not really.

I am not naive, and I understand that there are bad days.  There are situations where it may be too hard, if not impossible, to find a positive.  I am not advocating the burying of one’s head in the sand.  I am simply asking that each of us take care in our reactions to life’s every day nuisances and annoyances.  After all, into our lives a little rain (and other water) must fall.  The big question is whether or not we choose to look for the sunshine that follows.  Do we choose to search for the black clouds or for the rainbows?

Look for the rainbows, not the black clouds!

Look for the rainbows, not the black clouds!

Have you taken the opportunity to “flip the switch” and turn a negative into a positive?  Do you believe that you are in control of how the world influences your attitude?  As always I welcome and encourage your comments and feedback.  Cheers! Karen

“Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” ~ Proverb

All photo credits to: http://www.pixabay.com

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27 thoughts on “Flipping the Switch

  1. I live in an apartment complex and my building has eight apartments. There is a kink in the sewer drainage pipe under the building and when there is a back up, my toilet is the first to overflow. I have lived here long enough to know the warning signs/sounds and thankfully, the maintenance crew now realize I am a reliable observer. So, when I call to report these signs, and tell them once again my toilet is about to overflow because the line needs to be snaked, they believe me and take care of it. My proactive approach has reduced the amount of overflows, and the amount of stress in my life. If they don’t snake it monthly, it overflows every third or fourth month. I have turned this into a game now. Of course it always happens on a weekend or late at night. Who will be the worker on emergency duty? How long will it take them to respond? Will they listen to me and automatically call the guy who snakes it or will they try to plunge it in futility? When I get the new guy I admit I do have a bit of fun with him 🙂

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    • Ha, good for you! I’m not prepared to go so far as to say I’m having fun with it, but it could certainly be worse! We’ve owned this condo for 16 years, and this is the first problem we’ve had so I’ll call that a win. Hopefully they will get it resolved and it won’t be an ongoing issue. Monthly does not sound entertaining to me!

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  2. This is a lovely post, and one I could definitely do with taking a few pointers from I reckon. However as someone for whom the majority of blog posts are ranting or being humorously (hopefully) grumpy about stuff, I might have to start over completely! :/

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    • I usually have that mindset of needing to start over when I want to emulate a new style, however in light of this refreshing and insightful post, I think that you don’t have to start over COMPLETELY but rather, start injecting positive outlooks in your posts. That way, as you look back, you can see your transition from someone who was once grumpy, to someone who can look on the bright side of things! But that’s just my two cents 🙂

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  3. It takes strength to see the humor in dark times, and the good in bad times! Really nice post. I hope you can get the water issues sorted out! I’d say this calls for a good staycation and Netflix binge! After all, you have to keep an eye on that bathroom situation!

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  4. Great reminder! Thank you for posting this! I have had a not so fun couple of weeks at work and have to constantly remind myself, “at least I have a job that I can say I enjoy most of the time”. I do have these conversations a lot with my 20 year old son. It takes him a bit longer to see the positive in things but I think some of that comes with time and maturity….and a mom that keeps encouraging it 😉 I think I will have to forward him your post so he knows it’s not just me that thinks this way!

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    • Won’t he be excited to know there are two of us! And my husband will do an eye roll on his behalf. It’s funny, he has a nearly limitless capacity for patience in the face of emergencies or huge life-changing events, but he is easily frustrated by life’s minor irritants. He, too, “loves” when I try to gently steer him toward a more positive outlook. I hope things turn for the better at work! Best, Karen

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  5. When there’s a situation that I cannot control (like stuck in a traffic jam or in line at a store) I handle it great. Because I know there is nothing I can do to change the situation and that getting upset about it will only raise my blood pressure and put me in a crappy mood. Instead, I can usually see the absurdity and laugh about it. But not when there’s a chance that I might be able to change things, if I talk to the right person, or if I change lanes, or if I just …. That makes my stress level and temperature go up. A bit paradoxical, I admit.

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  6. You are so right. And I’m glad you are posting things in a similar vein right now…..with people like me on board it takes a while for them to sink in, but it does eventually happen! Do hope the water issues are resolved for you soon…..positive outlook or not, it’s no fun to go through that!

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  7. What a great post. I read it twice in the day. I am someone who really loves nonsensical whining; it makes it easier to cope up with the situation. And I guess the people around me are accustomed to rolling their eyes when absurd comments come out of my system.
    But the way you have written to embrace the sunshine 🙂 Maybe giving the situation a story will make it easier to empathize rather than make amends with whining.

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  8. Inspirational as always. I interviewed for a new job this week and I was stressing and worrying every minute I didn’t get a response until they made me an offer; now I’m fretting that I won’t fit in there! Maybe I need to flip the switch and see it as a huge opportunity rather than something scary! I hope you get a solution to your water woes soon Karen!

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