Life is a Patchwork Quilt – Choose Your Patches Carefully

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One of the most important things I’ve learned from the past 10 years of studying, applying, and teaching positive psychology is the power of our thoughts and how we can actually get better at managing our thoughts so they make our life better. And I’ve learned how our thoughts are highly influenced by what we focus on in the world around us; what we notice and what we ignore.

It reminds me of a patchwork quilt. The quilter sorts through a variety of fabric squares (or patches) and carefully chooses those that fit the design they want to create. They look for color, pattern, texture, etc. They ignore or leave out those squares that don’t fit their vision. The goal is to create something they find pleasing or beautiful.

When I think of my life as a patchwork quilt, I realize I get to decide which “pieces” I bring in to create my life. Do I dwell on those times people have hurt me or caused me stress? Do I remember situations when things went wrong? Or do I choose to shift my thinking to things I’m grateful for?  People, pets, situations, and things I feel blessed to have in my life? Do I choose to spend my time on activities that bring me satisfaction and move me towards my goals?  Do I spend time with people whom I enjoy?

Do I look for the good in my day? In other people? In the world overall? Or do I let the news and media direct my focus to all that’s bad? Do I take time to notice everyday beauty in nature? Do I appreciate the miracles around me? Am I grateful for the love and friendship from others? Or does my survival instinct rule my thoughts, always assuming the worst and looking for problems?

I’ve learned that I can intentionally choose to focus on aspects of the world around me that help me design the kind of life I want to create; something rewarding and beautiful. What “patches” are you going to add to your quilt of life today?

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