What You Focus On Expands


Today’s guest post from Catherine Rodie Blagg:

We have new neighbors. They moved in a few months ago. I haven’t met them face to face yet. When the quiet, elderly, Korean couple moved out I wondered who would come along and fill the big empty house. I hoped it would be a family with young children, potential friends for my girls. I had visions of inviting them round for a cuppa and chatting with my new neighbor while our children splashed about in the paddling pool.

When I heard voices in their garden I resisted the urge to climb up the fence and instead listened out for children. I started mentally baking a batch of welcome cookies.

The voices that drifted over the fence were tense and grumpy, which seemed logical – moving day isn’t the most joyous occasion. But their language was pretty shocking (even by my standards), and after a few minutes I took the girls indoors, the last thing I want is for G to start using the ‘C’ word (and no, I’m not talking about Christmas).

It’s been a few months now, I haven’t popped round to introduce myself and I never did bake those cookies. We hear them often. Their colourful language floats through our windows as we sit down to a family meal. Their voices wake us in the night.

I huff and puff. I glare at them through the walls. ‘Why does it bother you so much?’ My husband asks.

Because they are invading my personal space with their foul language, that’s why. Because it’s just so inconsiderate.

And there it was… the magic word. The bottom line of my huffiness. Inconsiderate.

As I’ve got older I’ve become increasingly aware of the way human kind interacts with one another. And a general lack of consideration bothers me more and more. People in their cars who won’t slow down to allow someone into their lane. People in shopping centers who push past others on the escalators. Little things. Small gestures.

I tried to explain my point of view to my husband, who being rather laid back by nature isn’t so bothered by the constant stream of profanity drifting over the fence. He told me to let it go. Forget it. Ignore it.


I have a tendency to mull things over and just as I was ready to go bang their door down and tell them to shut the fuck up (yes, I know, I know….) I had an epiphany.

“What you focus on expands”

Do you know that one? It’s a universal law and it’s so bloody true (yes, I know…). The more I acknowledge all the little, inconsiderate actions I encounter the more disheartened I become. Because I putting my energy in the wrong place.

So today I tried something different. I focused on the good stuff. On the people who return my smile as I pass them in the street. The man who waved back at G when we were held up in traffic. The kind lady who held the door open for me at the post office.

When you focus your attention on all the positives then all of a sudden those inconsiderate things don’t matter so much, and all of a sudden the world is a little friendly.

And as for my neighbors, they can fuck off. The cunts!

Do inconsiderate people bother you? Do you feel you sometimes focus your energy on the wrong thing?

This post originally appeared here and has been republished with full permission.

To submit a guest post email submissions@kikiandtea.com

  • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

    This made me laugh out loud at the end!!

    It’s very true, though. If you focus on the negative that’s all you will see, but if you focus on the good in people you’ll suddenly realise how much good there is.

  • http://www.alibibyally.com Alyssa Robinson

    Earlier this year when I was struggling with depression and felt like I was of no use to anyone, someone told me something that I hope I’ll never forget. She said that it doesn’t take grand gestures to make a positive impact around you – even if you’re feeling miserable, just a little smile at a stranger in the street can make their day and create a ripple effect. And just realising that, feeling like I had power to make others happy again, made me feel SO much better.

  • Debyl1

    Totally agree with you Catherine.When we focus on the positive our world becomes a better place and the negatives don’t matter so much.Positives are powerful.
    I volunteer at the nursing home my mum is in and I always come away from there a happier more grateful person than when I went in.
    I don’t give much but get so much in return.The holding of hands for comfort,the kiss on my cheek for the freddo frogs I give,the countless smiles I receive for helping out with activities,the endless laughs I share as we play games….I could go on and on.
    All the things that people may have done to upset me disappear as the beauty of sharing precious time with my lovely oldies fills my heart.x

    • http://www.cupofteaandablog.com Catherine Rodie Blagg (Cup of Tea and a Blog)

      Debbie you are such a beautiful soul. It is such a pleasure to know you, albeit virtually! x

  • An Idle Dad

    There is the Native American saying (or, perhaps more likely, something on the Internet that gets bandied about as an Native American saying) of the two wolves.

    Essentially, they’re discussing the exact issue mentioned in the blog and one guy says that it is two wolves. One wolf is filled with anger and greed and guilt and evny and whatnot, and the other wolf has empathy, kindness and joy and stuff like that.

    The other Native American says “Which wolf wins?” and the first guy replies “The one you feed”

    Naff, but pretty cool at the same time.

    • http://www.cupofteaandablog.com Catherine Rodie Blagg (Cup of Tea and a Blog)

      I love that!

    • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

      Love it!

  • http://thegoogleyear.blogspot.com.au/ Bea

    Ha, that ending made me laugh! I’d never heard that before but love it, so true. Ok, I’m in. I’m going to follow your good example of focusing on the positives. Starting with these cupcakes.