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  • Writer's picturePaige Smathers

If You Look for It, You'll Find It

My five-year-old is in a constant state of trying to find a toy or stuffed animal she's lost. It feels like she's always asking me to help her find something.

I often hear myself saying to her, "Sweetheart, if you look for it, you'll find it."

The other day when I said that to her, I sat back and thought about that for a minute. I realized there's real wisdom in the idea that you really do find what you're looking for.

It got me thinking about the times I've learned a new word and all of a sudden, I hear people saying that word all the time.

Or when you buy a new car, and then realize just how many Subarus are in Salt Lake (that's a joke for my local friends, hehe).

There is a psychological phenomenon going on here called the Badder-Meinhof phenomenon, or the frequency illusion. This is what psychologists have identified as the thing that happens when you are excited about learning something new and selective attention occurs. In other words, now you're looking for that new thing you've learned, so you're finding it as a result.

The idea of looking for something and finding it also made me think about a time in my life where I was really struggling with self-love and self-esteem. In retrospect, I can see how I was finding negativity and judgement in relationships and otherwise, because that was a direct reflection of how I felt about myself. It was a reflection of how I felt about myself, but also a reflection of how I talked to myself about myself. I was finding negativity because that's what I was looking for.

Through lots of learning, maturing, and reflecting, I've found myself in a much more positive space in the last decade of so of my life. When I retrospectively look at the last ten years or so of my life, this idea of finding what you're looking for is so interesting to me—I have been actively looking for reasons to feel good about myself, reasons to be grateful, ways to love others, etc. I've been looking for the positive, and as a result I've found it.

This isn't to say that if you just think positive, you'll never have any struggles. We all know that none of us are immune to struggles, tragedies and sadness. But, our day-to-day lives (including working on healing body image or struggles with food) can improve as we look for reasons to celebrate progress, express gratitude and be kind to ourselves.

I really believe there's power in finding what you're looking for. Consider these questions: what are you looking for? What are you trying to find in others and in yourself as you move through life? Is there room for looking for more goodness, more gratitude, more connection and more love in your life?

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