I was driving home from work when I looked to my left and saw the most beautiful, vibrant rainbow. This is not the first time I've seen one lately and, seeing as I don't live in an area where rainbows are all that common, I took this as a sign. I mean, it has to be, right? All of these years looking and looking for rainbows and never seeing them and suddenly, within the last few weeks, I've seen quite a few... Seems a little suspicious (in a good way) if you ask me!
So, I'm at a stoplight and I decide to slip off my Ray-Bans to have a better look at this gorgeous image spread across the sky (this was a full, huge one, not some smear of colors sitting out randomly against the clouds). The minute I slipped off my shades and turn my face to the sky, the rainbow was gone. It had disappeared! I was both shocked and disappointed. Where did it go? I wondered as I fumbled in my lap for my sunglasses. At this point the light had turned green and I was trying to understand the missing rainbow while navigating through the throngs of people heading home from work after a long day. I unfolded my shades, slipped them back on, and looked to my left. There it was! Back again, the beautiful streams of colors were vibrantly stretched across the sky. I smiled, ear to ear. Then I pulled down my sunglasses an inch and peered over them. No rainbow. I pushed them back up on the bridge of my nose. Rainbow!
While this seems like magic to me, I'm sure there is a logical, scientific explanation for this. I'm going to stick with the magic idea for now. As I was driving home, shades on so I wouldn't miss another rainbow sighting, it occurred to me that, with the shades on, I could see this happy, beautiful thing. Without them, I could not. Last week I posted an article called 13 ways you distort your thoughts (and how to stop doing it) which basically discussed the various negative lenses we use in our minds to distort our thinking. While I think it's important to recognize these distortions and aim to avoid them, I think it's equally important to think about the positive lenses we can put on our thoughts. Like Ray-Bans bringing out rainbows, we can use our thoughts to bring about happiness in our lives. Creating a spin on last week's article, I've created a list of positive things you can do to bring out the happiness in your life. As you know, attitude is everything. Perception is so important. And it's up to YOU to decide how you want to perceive the world. These are some ideas I came across after the rainbow incident...
- Don't limit yourself! (Look for as many colors as you can.)
Don't view the world, your problems, yourself in black and white. There are so many ways to see the world. Look for all of the colors, the various shades, the differences, the similarities. Try not to think of everything as yes or no, do or don't. There are so many ways to see the world and, as I'm sure you know, the possibilities are endless. Don't limit yourself!
- Embrace uniqueness! (Don't assume that each color is the same.)
Colors are equal, but they are different. They are all needed to make the rainbow, but each color is unique. Recognize that uniqueness in the world, in all of the people you meet, and in yourself. You are different for a reason, and that is great. If we were all the same, life would be extremely boring. Be happy when you meet someone not like you. Learn from him or her. Embrace that uniqueness!
- Know that we're all in it together! (Focus on how the colors work together.)
A rainbow needs all of the colors to make it truly beautiful. Think about all of the people in your life -- co-workers, parents, friends, family members, doctors, teachers, etc. -- we all work together to make life the way it is. What do you contribute to the rainbow of the lives of others? What are you grateful that others contribute to your rainbow? Think about how we all are in this together!
- Be grateful for all kinds of happiness! (A rainbow is a rainbow, no matter how small.)
Okay, so I sort of snagged this line from Horton Hears a Who (which you should absolutely see if you haven't!), but the concept is this: even though I might have been joking about a small rainbow in the passage above, a rainbow is great no matter what size it is. Whether you get to see a little glimpse of that happiness or an amazing spread-across-the-sky version of that joy, it's still great. Be grateful for all kinds of happiness!
The other day, before my own rainbow sighting, I read a post on Look Far called "The Rainbow." It was a really great post and I think it's great that we can all gain a little bit of inspiration from rainbows...or nature...or whatever beautiful thing they spring from. One important fact about rainbows is that you need both sunshine and rain to make them. You need the good and the bad.