Why is it so easy to recognize the "bad" stuff around us?
Let me start this with a little disclaimer ...
When I mention sadness and unhappiness in this prate, I am not speaking of mood disorders or mental health disorders that may require medication(s) and therapy. Also, the suggestions I make below should not be considered a cure or be substituted for treatment should you currently be in therapy or believe you need a therapist. I encourage anyone who suffers from a persistent feeling of sadness to speak to their doctor and find a qualified therapist.
It seems in this world that "finding the silver lining" is becoming increasingly difficult. Falling into a pit of focusing on everything wrong with the world seems rather prevalent these days, making it more difficult to enjoy the little things truly. Ants. (Stay with me here ...) Ants are tiny. When many of them come together, they can build mountains. Little things add up and can become big things. This is true of both bad and good things.
Every day we walk around and easily can list all the things that have "gone wrong" from when we wake up. How often do we list all the things that have gone right? This is not typically done. Why? And if someone does start pointing out good things (especially if those good things are significantly small in other people's eyes, (such as I put my clothes on the right side out or I did not stub my toe on the leg of the couch), the positive proclaimers are met with strange looks, rolling eyes, or "Well, aren't you the lucky one!?" type statements. WHY? I am keenly aware of this phenomenon because I am one of those "positive proclaimers," often voicing the silver lining and then being at the receiving end of the eye-rolling stares.
Why is positivity met with such animosity? How often do you utter the question, "How are you?" in a day? How often do you actually want to know how the person you asked is actually doing? Most likely, not often. Your expectation is they will say, "Fine." Maybe they will return the question in the ping-pong banter of greetings, but neither you nor they are really expecting to get into a deep conversation about how each of you is feeling. People who know me have heard me answer that question often with a resounding, "Always fabulous!" Strangers who hear me answer their "How are you?" with "Always fabulous!" the first time typically respond with -
"I wish I could say that!"
Sometimes, they respond with all three! Those who have heard me say it each time they greet me respond with -
"Oh, that's right, (if voices could roll their eyes) you're always fabulous."
"I just love hearing you say that."
Silence and a look of disdain or rolling of their eyes.
Of course, number 3 of the first list and number 2 of the second are my favorite responses, but I do not hear them most often. And being "Always fabulous!" is easier said than done some days, but saying it never hurts. When I respond that way, even on a less than a fabulous day, and the person standing across from me smiles or the person on the phone giggles, it makes me smile. So even if it is a bad day, everything is fabulous for at least that moment.
There are a few different ways to bring positivity back into your day. (Remember the disclaimer at the beginning? I am not implying that utilizing the following will cure depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or any mental illness.) Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to list the variety of things, moments, and people in your life that bring any form of happiness to you. It could be as elaborate as a bullet journal that you deck out with stickers, graphs, notes, and use many colored pencils, or as simple as a post-it note, you write three things you are thankful for each morning after you wake up and you post them to a wall you look at daily.
Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and remember when you were seven years old! Climbing trees, jumping in mud puddles, riding a bike, painting with finger paints. Whatever it might be, remember the carefree days of being a child and allow yourself to be just that, even it is only for a few minutes. Eat dessert first. Have cereal for dinner. Throw away the conventional thinking that "once you're an adult you can't" blah blah blah. Lay in the grass, look up at the passing clouds, and imagine they are big puffy marshmallow people going for a stroll. Allow yourself to imagine. Get some crayons and a coloring book. Blow bubbles.
The day-to-day stresses of work, paying bills, trying to eat a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, seeing the ones you love, and getting enough sleep all of this builds up. We forget to take thirty seconds to smell the fresh air, see the first robin of spring, or feel the soft touch of a loved one. Slow down and really enjoy the little things. Thank someone for cashing you out or holding the door for someone. When you are getting ready for bed, instead of focusing on all the things that went wrong that day, list everything that went right!
A little gratitude can go a long way and just a tiny bit of positivity from you might be that moment that helps someone just get through the day. That "someone" might even be yourself!
Love Lots; Smile Often
The pictures added to this blog today may seem arbitrary, silly, or both. These are just a few things in my world that bring me joy. They make me smile for various reasons, many of them because they spark a memory of someone I hold dear in my heart or remind me of a happy time.