We just experienced a (very) big and unexpected life expense. Our water heater went out. Ugh, the water heater. Not even a fancy appliance like a refrigerator or something that people can actually see. Not an appliance that, when updated, can make your house look better. Nope, the water heater. We called a plumber and had it replaced. The replacement water heater and the labor were expensive. Really expensive. But, we need hot water, right? As they always say, ‘it is what it is.’ (Although I am not totally sure who ‘they’ are, but I know they always say that!)

Then, I was telling someone about our water heater replacement and the outrageous cost. The response I got was not what I expected. “You paid HOW much for a water heater?” “You didn’t shop around?” “You way overpaid!” “You guys are idiots if you paid that much!”

I was pissed; not at the person saying this to me, but at ME. We are so dumb! Why didn’t we get other estimates? Why did we agree to pay so much? We got screwed! These are the thoughts that went through my mind.

So, I did what I always used to do, what I have been working so hard to stop doing: I blamed my husband!

“Why did you spend so much?” ‘Why didn’t you get other estimates?” “You got screwed!”

I felt like shit, so I turned it around and made him feel like shit.

Now I felt even shittier.

This situation was going to go one of two ways: blame and anger leading to the inevitable fight or shifting my mindset and finding the positive. The decision was up to me.

It is what it is, right? We need hot water, right? They allowed us to do a payment plan. Maybe we got screwed, maybe not (according to my husband it is a really nice water heater, whatever that means!)

So, as a person who is working hard on mindset shifting, positivity, and seeing the world through a lens of abundance instead of lack; what do you do in situations like this? Crap comes up all the time, that’s life. How do you stay positive when crappy things happen?

Unexpected expenses are going to happen. But, the reality is, even worse things are going to happen. That is part of life too. So, how do you deal with it all?

Here is the answer: gratitude. Now, I am not saying ‘stay positive all the time and never allow yourself to feel negative.High vibes only is bullshit. Crappy things happen, and sometimes you have to allow yourself to feel those crappy things.

Here is the key: no matter what the situation, there is always something to be thankful for, always. Sometimes finding the gratitude is difficult but just like anything else, the more you practice, the easier it will become. Incorporating gratitude into your life every single day changes your brain. We are programmed to continually find the negative, the bad, or the threat. It is that whole fight or flight thing ingrained into our genes from way back to the caveman days.

But, we no longer need to be in constant fight or flight mode. There is no longer the threat of a saber-toothed tiger outside of our doors.  Our brains just haven’t gotten the message yet!

We have to practice finding gratitude in our everyday lives. Find the good, find the beauty, and find the positive. Once we train our brains into finding the positive, it becomes more natural. Easier.

There will always be negative. There will always be shitty situations, and there will always be unexpected expenses. But, if we can learn to find the positive in the small punches life throws at us, our brains will be ready to search for the positive when those bigger blows happen.

Now, I’m off to take a HOT shower!

Lisa Wyckoff is a wife, mom, teacher, avid reader, runner, lover of learning and an Integrative Transformational Life Coach. She helps women on their journey of owning their power, achieving their goals, shifting their mindset, and transforming their lives through integrative and holistic coaching focusing on the Whole Self: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. You can read more articles like this, or find out more about working with Lisa lisawyckoff.com.


Image courtesy of Lucas Lenzi.