The Positive Truth

I will totally admit that when the blogger told me that I wasn’t positive, it hurt me a little.

There.

I said it.

However- I went pretty quickly from being hurt, to what Kim said the other day in a comment, which was roughly along the lines of: Who said that being positive was always a good thing?

But back to the original point- when people say things to you, they can hurt. Words can hurt. The trick is figuring out if they hurt because what was said was horrible, or if you think what the person said about you is true…

Do we really want to look our worst traits in the face?

We have a friend who talks a lot (and let me preface this by saying my Husband and I are champion talkers, and this guy makes us look like we are in the minor leagues) So one day the guy was saying how his son talks a lot. My husband and I laughed and we made some sort of apple/tree comparison, and our friend was stunned, I mean flabbergasted, that we thought he talked a lot, because he was 100% positive that he was quiet as a mouse… He was hurt by the realization that he was actually quite loquacious. And we didn’t mean to hurt him- we were just stating a fact…We thought there was no way this guy didn’t know he was a talker. We were wrong…

My positive/not positive thought process went as follows:

  1. Told I wasn’t positive
  2. Hurt and self doubt
  3. Thinking about what is positive
  4. Considering ways that I am positive
  5. Realizing how positivity can be a bad thing
  6. Accepting the fact that I am balanced
  7. Realizing that too much positivity is bad
  8. Taking the rainbow and unicorn sweater out of my Amazon cart

When/if someone has ever said something to you that hurt, how did you react? How did you handle the comment? What is your advice to someone who has been hurt by words?

Positively a Met Fan

A few months ago, someone asked me to unfollow them, and said they were unfollowing me because I wasn’t positive and they only surround themselves with positive people.

Fine. It’s a little doth protest too much for me, as was witnessed by a tirade they posted on another blog that was heavy on judgement and negativity…but…whatever…

So now that you have the backstory, I must ask:

What is positivity?

followed by-

Am I a positive person?

Well, I am a Met fan. Have been since I was old enough to know what baseball was. Of course it helps that my Dad was a Met fan and the Mets won the World Series in 1969, when I was five. My first memories as a Met fan was them winning a world series.

I had to hold onto that memory until 1986…

And I’m still holding on now…

Does being a Met fan make one positive?

Every year, I enter the season and expect that we will win the World Series. And every year, bar two, I have watched them falter. Yet I optimistically enter every April with dreams of a parade down lower Broadway…If that’s not positivity, then I don’t know what is…

However…

I will admit that I lean towards the pragmatic. I think that there has to be balance in life, and I think that sometimes you need to be realistic about things. Like when I was at the Met game last week and the score was 10-0 Mets, and I couldn’t help but wonder if that was enough runs to secure a victory…

I also have a little superstition in me, and I won’t talk about something till it’s a done deal, and I’m afraid to jinx the outcome…I’ve had things taken away at zero hour, and it’s not pleasant or fun…so I admit I can be cautiously optimistic…(again…I won’t talk about what place the Mets are in now, in June. I won’t talk about it till October…and even that’s a maybe)

Being a Met fan has shown me the highs as well as the lows. I’ve seen the unbelievable…Game 6….and I’ve watched them have a six game lead and blow it in September.

But every April…

So maybe I’m not totally positive…but I’m not totally negative either. I just look at what’s in front of me and look at all the sides that are there…and add in a little tiny dash of hope…

Self Helping

I am a sucker for a good self help book.

OK- I am a sucker for a good book in general, but I can’t help but gravitate towards book that cheerlead. I like a full on, pompoms and pyramid building Go Team experience.

Why do I like these books? I have no idea. I am not the type of person who leads the group in the school fight song…I tend to be the person in the back making sarcastic comments about the proceedings. So what is my addiction to happy go lucky self help?

Do I secretly want to be Queen of the Pep Squad?

or

Do I often see so much mediocre in my day to day, that I need to pick up my spirits, and a book that screams out BE AWESOME is just the ticket I need to get out of depressionville and into happyland?

I guess it doesn’t really matter WHY- I guess it just matters that when I read one of these books I automatically feel better. It’s a relatively harmless way to treat myself. The cost is a book…the side effects are a dash of positivity and perhaps a slightly different outlook. Is there a downside to my odd self help addiction? Not one that I know of. We all know I’m never going to veer towards toxic positivity…so I think I can figure out how to balance things out.

Now- I know I can be negative sometimes. And I can be mean in my head (or in your face if you irk me enough) but I think my scales don’t tip too much to one side or another. Emphasis on think- I know I can be, let’s just say passionate, about things, and I can tend to talkreallyfast and/or GET REALLY LOUD… But I also recover quickly. My Husband was always amazed when my daughter and I would be yelling at one another, and five minutes later we were hugging and best friends… Maybe that’s my superpower- recover quickly from bad to maybe not necessarily good, but at least neutral…

However you look at it, I like the way self help books make me feel. They give me a practical way of looking on the bright side, or at least the not so dark side. The practical is the part that works for me: these books break things down into manageable steps- they give me the guide on how to see things in a different light. They teach me how to be a little more of whatever it is I’m looking for at the present moment. They don’t TELL me what to do- they SHOW me how to do it.

How do you feel about self help books?

Yes?

No?

Maybe?

Never tried?

Tell me anything about self help:

I ______________ That

When faced with the title sentence, which word do you normally use:

  1. Like
  2. Love
  3. Am indifferent to
  4. Hate

Seriously, think about how often you phrase something like this, how often you make a bold declarative statement, and if you use of the above words more than the others.

Are you thinking?

Let’s start with like.  I know we all “like” things.  I expect a bunch of you to “like” this post…we write so that others read our words, and get some sort of feeling about what we have written.  But I don’t mean social media likes.  I mean, how often do you utter the words “I like _________”?

I’m going to give you some examples:

I like using cloth napkins when I’m eating.  I think they cover my lap better, are softer when I wipe my mouth, and are better for the environment because I don’t throw them away.  I like cloth napkins.

Love.  How often do you use the word love in a day?  5 times?  50 times?  None?  I tell my daughter that I love her every morning when she walks out the door.  I love hot tea with milk and sugar.  Count your loves.

Am Indifferent to.  I rarely use these exact words on a daily basis, but there are things I have absolutely no opinion on.  Coke or pepsi?  Doesn’t matter.  Are there things around you that you don’t care enough about to form an opinion?

Hate.  How often do you use the word hate?  I hated that book.  I hate that movie.  I hate _______.  Seriously, how often do you use the word, or think the word every day?  How many things do you feel so strongly about that you use the word hate?

Take five minutes.  Tabulate your results.

How many times did you use each word?  Is there anything that stands out?  Have you used one word more than another?  Does anyone have Hate leading the pack?

We all hate things.  We all are allowed to hate things.  I hate anchovies- really can’t stand them. And that’s fine.  Hating something is fine.

But do you hate more than you love, like or are indifferent to?

Now, before you get crazy, I’m not advocating becoming “Susie Sunshine”, or “Polyanna”.  I’m not handing out rose colored glasses, or handing anyone a bucket of sand.  I just want you to think about what words are filling your thoughts, dreams, prayers and your time.  I want you to think about what words are making up your life.  If the majority of your words are words of hate, how do you think you are going to feel inside?

Try to have a balance of those four basic ideas as you are going about your day.  If you find yourself constantly repeating the same thought, try thinking again.  If you write a post about something that makes you mad, or that you hate, try to balance out the next post by writing about something you like.  Or, as a spin, write about how to fix the problem of the thing you hate or that makes you mad.  There are negative things in life: how do you make them into a positive.

Are we clear on this weeks homework?  First, we analyze how often we use these words.  Then we figure out how to balance our thoughts out.  I’m not aiming for positivity awards:  the goal is balance.

Whop wants to win the first “Balanced Thought Award”? (don’t get too excited- I don’t create memes…)

 

 

 

Accentuate the Positive

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?