How tough are these times?

by Alicia Rudnicki, Library Mix

These are trying times for many. It can be extremely difficult not to sink into dark moods and complain about difficulties that one faces.

While reading a library book, I encountered a thoughtful quote that seemed to fit the times. It was from Andrew McCall Smith’s 2008 novel, The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, in which philosopher Elizabeth Dalhousie helps a physician to feel whole again following a bad experience for which he was responsible.

Dalhousie asks “Who had said You’ve never had it so good? Harold MacMillan, a long time ago?—and he had been addressing the electorate. Politicians did not speak like that to the electorate these days. They might well say I know how hard it is for people these days, and people would like that, because they did feel that it was hard. And for some indeed, it was.”

Even though MacMillan, a World War I veteran, was Britain’s prime minister during a period of relative economic ease, his words inspire consideration: How tough are these times, and how tough are we? Perhaps we need to let the good things that are happening trump the bad.

Although it is a struggle to maintain a positive perspective, it is a good fight and one that can leave you feeling more mentally healthy.

Perhaps you saw the front-page article in The Denver Post in late March concerning a movement to counter negative thinking. In “Wearing optimism on your sleeve,” Michael Booth wrote about a metro area realtor who wears a “no complaints” bracelet.

Booth wrote that this businesswoman switches the bracelet to her other wrist each time she catches herself complaining. When she hears others lamenting, she fingers the bracelet as a reminder to stay positive. He noted that millions of people “from Cherry Creek to Taiwan” are doing this “to counter pessimism.”

“Your words create your reality,” the realtor said. “If you say you can’t sell a home in this market, you’re not going to. But if you say, ‘I’m going to be productive in this economy,’ you draw that to you.”

I do not believe in being a Pollyanna, but perhaps Dalhousie and this realtor are onto something: Our attitude colors our world.

And to turn this commentary back to the subject of libraries, reading a good book can color our attitude. So journey to your local library every now and then; you never know what you will find.

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