A few weeks ago I wrote about how it’s very easy for me to complain about bad customer service, but I never take the time to talk about good service.  That day I sent a note to Staples commending two of their employees.  It felt good, and hopefully those two employees got a nice little note in their employee files. The incident made me think of a larger issue: why are we so quick to accentuate the negative instead of the positive?

I try to do a gratitude exercise every day, but I admit, when I sit down at night and brain dump, the negative things about my day usually pop into my head first.  I think about the irritating employee at the bakery, the guy who bumped into me spilling coffee on my favorite black converse, the fact that someone had already grabbed the “good” elliptical at the gym.  When I think back on my day bad overshadows good by a wide margin.  It often takes me awhile to think of a good moment, and I lead a relatively charmed life.  My days are normally filled with way more ups than downs.  Why don’t I remember the good as well as I remember the bad?

Am I hardwired to think that if something isn’t “perfect” then it is bad?  Do societal pressures make me feel that every moment of my life should be fairytale like, so that when something disrupts the fairytale I remember it?

Have I overthought this topic?

Well, yes and no.

I think in order to live a fulfilling life, one must find the good that is out there, find the positive that exists.  I don’t think a fulfilled life is one that is filled with riches or fame or any of those other grandiose things.  I think true fulfillment lies on the back of the small moments, and accepting that these small moments of joy carry a great deal of impact.  Finding joy in your morning cup of coffee, or a pleasant exchange with a stranger can bring you happiness every day.  We need to recognize this and nourish it.

Psychologically I don’t know why we harp on negative and eschew positive, but I know we do.  But, I think it’s possible to change out mindset.  It just requires work.  I think the effort will be rewarded.

I know some people are scared of happy.  I know some people don’t trust those that exude positivity and happiness.  Isn’t that sad?  When did happy become a thing to be mocked?  When did contentment become a joke?

I’m giving you homework tonight.  At the end of the evening, go back and reflect on your day.  Write the highs and the lows.  But the number of highs must equal the number of lows, or exceed them.  Some people might find it easy to do this: others will not.  But I think it’s worth a try.  Don’t you?

59 thoughts on “Accentuate the Positive

  1. Encouraging post. Yes, I think we do focus on the negative more than the positive, and we know the newscasters certainly do. You’re right that we should focus on the positive things that happen in our day and writing about it at the end of the day could really help us to do that. I was just thinking about being more positive the past few days. What timing! 🙂 If I can do this “homework” each night in my journal, it could become a habit! Thanks for the uplifting message. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I remember a friend, Rodney, who was taking his Harley across America. He left Alabama, headed West on I20, in the rain; and just east of Shreveport he hit a deer. The next morning, we’re taking him to the Harley shop to arrange repairs, marvelling at how he was unhurt and only had a hole in his rainsuit and a scuff on his boot. Rodney looked at us and said
    “People say there are no miracles anymore. Jesus isn’t here raising people from the dead & healing lepers, yet there are still miracles if we just open our hearts and minds to them. Babies are being born, addicts are getting clean, I’m not hurt. There are miracles still happening”
    I was floored by it, and it imprinted on me. It made me realize that even I am a miracle, because I’m clean today. For an addict like me, that is a miracle. This post is right on time for me, after what I published this morning. Thank you

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I definitely believe it’s worth a try!!! I needed to read this post; it’s much too easy to reflect on the negative than the positive. I needed a reminder to stay positive, but still acknowledge the bad without OVER-acknowledging it. If that makes sense. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In Tibetan Buddhism, they say that rejoicing about good, including good that happens to others, is considered one of the highest forms of prayer. As a superlazy person, I love to do it. My version is to run through what I love, and list that: I love these cats, I love that beautiful tree, I love that funny joke, I love that food, I love that that waiter was so nice, I love that that person wore a great shirt, I love that old friend from deacdes ago, I love my clients, I love my friends, I love birds and squirrels and chipmunks, I love disco, etc. I think that any kind of rejoicing about healthy things is healthy.

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  5. There’s a Buddhist parable about two monks walking along a path through the woods. They arrive at the river, and there is a woman there. She asks the monks if they will help her cross the river. While it was forbidden for the monks to touch a woman, the first monk picked her up and carried her to the other side of the river. Then he put her down and the two monks continued their journey.

    The second monk, though, spent the rest of the day fuming about how the first monk had violated his vows by touching the woman. When they stopped for the day, the second monk confronted the first. “Why did you carry that woman across the river?” He asked angrily. “You know it is forbidden!”

    The first monk calmly replied, “I put the woman down at the river’s edge, but you are still carrying her.”

    I try to keep that story in mind as I go through my days so when someone is rude or some minor thing irritates me, I don’t brood over it. It doesn’t always work, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. it could be worse. you could have some physical problems to live with. but it’s all good as far as I’m concerned. I’m on the right side of the grass and that’s something to always be happy about. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I agree with you. I try to write a good thing everyday that also might have a downside, so I can see both sides for example: Traffic was really bad on the way to work but on the plus side I was able to enjoy my audio book for longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s true that humans have a negativity bias (it’s the way we are wired). That is why it’s important to focus on the positive and celebrate the good. I make it a habit to recognize good service and positive interactions, and I am (sadly) amazed to hear how seldom people receive positive reinforcement.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In my opinion we contemplate negative as stronger because we look at it first.
    If instead you look at the positives first, count your blessings first, then likely you will be like me and see your day has much more light than darkness.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Part of my therapy is to think of something good that’s happens in every day. Even on my crappest days I can come up with something. It’s mostly my son trying to make me laugh or saying something cute but there is always something to be thankful for. Also, thanking people who do a good job is important to me. I gave my therapist a box of chocs and a card when my CBT finished. He was delighted but said that he doesn’t get a lot of thank yous. The man had helped restore some of my sanity – if that’s not worth a thank you, I don’t know what is!

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  11. I agree about looking for positive more often. But here’s the thing, I’ve seen people go bonkers for positivity to a point of becoming mentally unhinged when reality, in the form of negative, comes crashing down on them. It makes me appreciate balance, of course. But also makes me a little hesitant to totally embrace a positive mindset.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh..I think it’s two different things. I don’t advocate blindly walking with your head in the sand. But, I think people who always have a negative mindset never accomplish anything. I think the people who get blinded by bad things haven’t been conditioned right. I’m not an advocate of everyone gets a trophy after a kid in is pre k. I think that kids need to fail in order to gain confidence. But, I think people need to go into things with a good attitude. If you go into something negatively there is no way you will succeed. Negative feelings don’t get you anywhere

      Liked by 1 person

  12. A few months back, I ended up doing an online course on the science of happiness.,a brilliant course and beautifully explained..now we all know positively should be the way of living and I pray every morning for a positive day; my success rate is rather high on this but there are days of a very hapless feeling too..yes, it’s the drive to look at the brighter side of life which becomes the essence of living!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! If you set out to be positive, you have a better chance of having a good day, and success in the things that are important!! Closures sounds great!!


  13. Great post and I like the challenge. I just started a journal tonight. I’m writing a positive before going to bed and one when I get up. Using a paper, lined journal I received as a gift. Thanks for your positive posts. Following as I need them daily!

    Liked by 1 person

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