Overcome The Negativity Of Life Detours

“The really happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.” ~ unattributed … 

Typically when I hear the word detour, I immediately associate that with loss of time, change of plans, and much more work for me to process–in simpler terms, more stress. But do they have to be so? For when I look at them as life’s way of showing me something that I would not have seen otherwise, they seem quite the opposite. What if they are me being guided in a direction–or on a road–that I would have chosen to avoid had I been able to do so. In truth, some of my greatest adventures, filled with the most amazing things that I have ever seen, have been on detours.

There are times in our lives in which we might find ourselves being pushed off our expected paths–perhaps we find ourselves travelling down unplanned roads because a job ended or we have been offered a new career opportunity. Or maybe we find ourselves suffering an injury or a difficult health issue. Perhaps we experience something suddenly or unexpectedly, something that throws our plans of the future into disarray, such as an unexpected pregnancy. Sometimes when we think we have our route all figured out, life throws us a curve ball and we end up doing something completely different, going somewhere completely unforeseen, or doing something completely unimaginable. And when that happens, life will still offer us beautiful and breathtaking scenery–even if it is not the scenery we had planned on seeing; but we have to be open to whatever life brings into our paths.

Of course, there may be times in which we find the detours of life to be frustrating, annoying, stressful, maddening, or even hopeless. Yet when we allow ourselves to enter into such a state of mind, our eyes are not necessarily open to the beauty of our new route–focused instead on where we wish we were. Perhaps we are worrying about the detour taking twenty minutes more than we had planned on, or not finding our way back to our original route. Or perhaps we are just not open to new and different things, preferring instead the safety and comfort of what we know and had planned. Or maybe we fear not being in control, of not being able to determine our experiences in life.

Our awareness and perception of the beauty that surrounds us is a powerful gift. With it, we can elevate our lives no matter where we are. And often times, a detour… is a gift, if we choose to see it. It is a chance to see something new, something different, something unplanned… something that we were meant to experience. And if we keep our minds and hearts open, we may find in each detour that we take something that will help us to come closer to being the people we were meant to be.

Overcome whatever negative perceptions you have of the detours in your life.

Questions to consider:

What makes us think that the path we have chosen–be it a road when we are traveling, a career, or course of study–is necessarily the best one for us?

Why do we think of detours with negative connotations? Are detours necessarily negative?

What does it take for us to enjoy the scenery on any road we travel? How much of our enjoyment is due to our attitude?

For further thought:

“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.” ~ Charles Swindoll

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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