Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • April 2013
Written by  Rev. April Kain-Breese

Healthy in spirit: shift your focus, change your life

The first blush of a new love seems to last just a few months before the less desirable characteristics of the beloved begin to surface. Why is that? Why are so many long-term relationships more about tolerating each other than about being in love with each other? There may be many contributing factors, but the biggest is focus.

What we focus on expands! New love focuses on noticing every way in which the new partner is a perfect match — “We think so much alike; we like the same things; we are so simpatico!” This lasts for a short while, but then we begin to notice the little (or big) things that we overlooked before, and our critical mind begins to kick in. Even those qualities that were once endearing can become annoying.

If you want to maintain your loving relationship, improve your work life or enjoy your daily living more, then you need to focus on what you perceive as positive and take your focus away from everything else. It is really that simple, but not always easy.

We seem to be trained to notice what is different or wrong rather than what is right. Do you remember those childhood puzzles, “What’s wrong with this picture?” For example, perhaps there would be the illustration of a child walking to school with a shoe on one foot and a slipper on the other — aha — circle the slipper! We do this in adulthood all of the time. We default to noticing what’s wrong with the picture — or the partner. “There he goes again, leaving his socks on the floor. I just hate that!” Repeat that in your head every day and within three weeks, you will be nursing quite a grudge!

And it’s not just in relationships that we get caught in the negative thinking trap; it happens in all walks of life. We say, “Oh that flu is going around; I suppose the kids will get it, and then I’ll get it, and there goes our vacation! Great, I’ll be home with a bunch of sick people instead of enjoying a camping trip.” Then we sit back and wait to get sick! The more we tell ourselves negative messages, the more “real” those messages become. Would you like a different outcome? Replace those negative messages with something more positive, such as, “We are going to have such a great time on vacation. I can hardly wait.” Don’t entertain the negative messages. Remember, we believe ourselves! Be sure you are telling yourself the story you want to experience.

In recent years, unemployment has been a challenge for many. If you are having this experience, try focusing on what you perceive as positive and take your focus away from everything else. For example, if you are job hunting, “I am a valuable employee, with a strong work ethic, excellent skills and a positive attitude. I am ready to work right now! The job I am seeking is seeking me. We are a great match. Today I open my mind to new possibilities. I follow my intuition. All is well.” How much better is that than, “I’ll never find a decent job in this economy?” Whatever you tell yourself repeatedly, whatever you take in from people and the media around you, whatever you focus on, is what you will bring into your experience. Be mindful! Shift your focus, change your life! 

Rev. April Kain-Breese is with Unity of Appleton, a Community for Spiritual Growth, which focuses on spiritual well-being through affirmative prayer, positive thinking and daily application of five basic principles. Sunday services and youth ministry occur at 10 a.m. Newcomers are welcome. Try us out! For more information, including Sunday talks, newsletters and upcoming events, visit or call 920-739-4823.

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