At the risk of dancing all over a cliche, or sounding like an annoying motivational speaker, I feel compelled to write about the importance of attitude (or perhaps, more accurately, perspective).
What matters most in our lives is not circumstance itself, but how we perceive circumstance. I've noticed, in my life, that it is possible for me to have two nearly identical days in terms of my routine and what happens to me. One of those days can feel brilliant while the other is drudgery. The difference depends solely on my thoughts. Am I lost in the moment or worrying about the future? Am I appreciating the way things are or worrying about when they might change? Am I seeing beauty in an old man on a bicycle or lamenting old age itself? Am I living in fear or living with hope? Living with regret or celebrating experience? Thinking about money or thinking about love? Thinking about a relationship or thinking about chores? I could certainly provide more examples.
A more complex illustration of this phenomena has to do with friendship or a love relationship. If one focuses primarily on the bad in a person, it is easy to demonize and run for cover, to play victim, to fall into depression and hopelessness, to destroy a potentially healthy relationship. Indeed, to look at a relationship through the eyes of negative thought is to take offense with every word or gesture...to misinterpret and even imagine problems. Taking this view of a relationship begins a spiral that no amount of conversation, argument, or rationalization will end. Nothing that the other person can do will penetrate such a dark cave of despair. The entire relationship then becomes a burden, a source of pain and unhappiness, and a symbol of everything that is wrong in one's life. In reality, the only thing wrong to begin with was the way of looking at things.
A negative spiral in a relationship can end in two ways: either the relationship can end or the spiral can end. In the case of ending a relationship, we fall deeper into our own thought patterns and convince ourselves of our own rationality. On the other hand, both people can simply decide to stop it...they decide to take a positive view of things and accept each other unconditionally.
In a healthy relationship, it is necessary to take every word and gesture with its best possible meaning or interpretation; not its worst. Only then can two people experience the relationship's full potential, allowing it to strengthen their lives and add a new element of happiness.
Still, the idea of "positive-thinking" is enough to make anyone roll their eyes. That's because we normally conceive of positive-thinking as something that is done through sheer will-power...as though the achievement of such a state can only be attained by fighting our human nature. It is interesting that we only talk of human-nature...say that someone is "only human" in the negative sense. It is every bit as much human nature to find happiness, comfort, contentedness, bliss, beauty in something as it is to find worry, hopelessness, pain, and fear. So the only question is: what part of one's human nature does one want to celebrate, embrace, and live? It is actually an easy choice that is as simple as making up one's mind and taking the first step. The rest of it follows effortlessly.
To make this shift is to take a momentary leap of faith. That conscious leap ends the destruction of the downward spiral and begins a renewed time of growth, love, passion, and happiness. Having a friend or loved one who is there waiting for you to take this leap helps, but it is also something that can be done within the invisible realm of one's own mind to impact every aspect of one's life.