Better the good thing that is

There is the old Irish proverbial wisdom that states ‘Is feárr an mhaith atá ná an dá mhaith a bhí – Better the good thing that is than two good things that were’. It not only advocates avoiding nostalgia or sidestepping prompts to rumination but it advocates dealing with the reality of now, the positivity in the now.

Now is now. The past is past – both the painful and the comforting. You have to find your mental and emotional wellbeing now – while meditations or psychological exercises to ‘find your happy place’ are helpful at times, repeatedly dwelling in the past or fantasising the future is ultimately a draw away from the now – from living in the present.

Some people believe it really was great in the old days. People were politer, families were closer, neighbourhoods were safer and so on – but was it, or is that just a good excuse to dislike the present, to shy away from the world before you. It is all too easy to opt out of caring or manifesting change now, if it can never be as good as the past. This proverb reminds us to look at the good occurring now and not to drift into nostalgic thinking or get caught up in reminiscing.

Of course, it is good to occasionally reflect on good things from the past, it reminds us that our history was not all pain and trauma but it is even better to acknowledge how well it is going right now.  And if it is not going so well right now, if you were anxious today or are feeling the symptoms of depression, then the looking for the good about now can be both a circuit breaker and a chance to savour the positive vibe not labour in less productive quarters.

The good thing that is, may be that you are feeling good today, the good thing that is may be that it is sunny outside and perfect for a walk or cycle, the good thing that is, may be that’s is raining outside and all the local gardens are getting their fill.  Maybe you can hear birdsong, maybe you are going to listen to some of your favourite songs or make a good playlist and make the good moments manifest.

The present can be a very positive place. You could journal the good that is in your life right now, you could count your blessings on a walk or in a meditation but you can also just appreciate this now, your living self in this moment – there is the positive energy of gratitude and the gift of serenity right here, right now.

Action.  Make the now nicer.

While the proverb is about a perception shift into considering the good of the good, in finding that good thing happening and acknowledging it.  sure, a fine day is a good thing, but there is also genuine good contributing factors in it – reap that too.

That approach prompts that we can also make the now reveal itself as the good that is. We don’t have to just alter our mindset and so experience it in more positive manner – that is good but we can be better – we can shape it or at least better frame it for others too. So, make the now nicer for those you encounter today. Be the fine day.

Here are seven ideas to get you started but you can make a longer list. Do them all today in any sequence (tick as you go, if you wish) or make it a week-long action by simply picking one to do on several occasion over the course of today, then tomorrow pick another, and on until all completed.

  1. Be polite today.
  2. Connect with family today.
  3. Smile to or chat with a neighbour or local shop keeper.
  4. Litter pick or tidy a corner of your street today.
  5. Do a random act of kindness for someone at work.
  6. Leave a good tip, a thank you note or a nice compliment
  7. Don’t say ‘have a nice day’ say ‘isn’t it a nice day’ – and mean it.

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