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Positive Outlooks

Monday, August 26, 2013

A SparkFriend posted the rhetorical question of why she focused so much on her "failures". Well, she's not alone.

Here in the USA, and perhaps many other countries as well, we live in a society where talking about the good things in our lives is considered boastful, whether it be hard-earned achievements or our wonderful (in our eyes) children.

Our news media focuses on the negative because drama equals airtime or front page space. Positive stories are pushed to the back or reduced to 30-second bits, if they appear at all.

In conversation, we compete with our stories of who had the worst day, the most painful injury, the hardest commute, etc. Someone who says, "I had a good day," is generally ignored and focus shifts to the next person with complaints. If someone announces a pregnancy, someone will promptly chime in with how difficult their pregnancy/childbirth was. When a baby is born, someone is sure to tell the new parents just how hard their role is going to be.

People with positive outlooks are disparaged as "Pollyannas", when it really should be considered the highest level compliment.

It doesn't have to be this way!

So the questions that I ask myself when faced with my own negativity or that of others are:

1) What is the value or lesson to be learned from this "bad" experience?

2) How can I focus on the positive in my daily life?

3) How can I express myself positively without stealing someone else's thunder (or thundercloud)?

4) How can I support others in my life in being more positive as well?

SparkFriends, I'd love to hear your answers to these questions.. I truly believe that. together we can change the world. Correction: We ARE changing the world!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Loved your blog! Yourawesome!
    1673 days ago
    This is a great blog and the responses to it are extremely helpful. This week I tried to slow down, step back, and see situations "through God's eyes". It helped to give perspective to some events. I think each day requires a recommitment to being the change we want to see in the world and knowing it requires constant, moment to moment work. Thank you!
    1695 days ago
    Great blog, and you are so right. I wish people would concentrate more of the good in our Country. There is a lot of good. When I feel my day is dragging, for what ever reason, I go out and take pictures. I enjoy Mother Nature, and all that she brings. How I admire the Sparrows and Finches early am. They always sound so chipper. I am not a morning person, so I appreciate their enthusiasm. I love my spark friends, and how everyone is so supportive for one another. Give, and ye shall receive!
    1699 days ago
  • LINDA!
    Awesome blog.
    1699 days ago
  • BRADMILL2922
    This is great! We do tend to spend way to much of our focus on the negative! It isn't always easy to stay with the positive but it is important to try!
    1699 days ago
    My first reaction was, "Whatchu talkin'g 'bout, Willis?" Americans not boast??? Preposterous! However, I quickly thought it through, and you are very right. The time and place for reporting your positives in only through these new life-coaching programs and websites for recovering Negative Nancy's! Or only after being asked by a friend that sincerely wants to know! Or in a photo-storyline on FB. How sad. (Oh, I didn't mean to sound negative. lol.)
    One of my bitterest moments was being told by my sister that she hated to tell me anything b/c I always "excused" her tormentors by pointing out their own possible struggles and reminding her of her blessings! I thought I was helping by pointing out that we can always find the good things in life and that everyone is human if we keep an empathetic attitude. Some ppl love to be the victim, some the victor. Some just want to stay sane... like me.
    I've learned that the only way I can stay positive is to surround myself with positive people and images. That means my DH and DD and a few treasured FB friends. I "hide" and "block" negative family members on my FB to keep my sanity. It's too easy to slip backwards if I don't. I have yet to find a group (or even one) real-life friend that doesn't want to complain and gossip over lunch. It's one thing to vent in trust or ask advice about bad situations, but quite another when you can tell they just couldn't wait to tell you "gurl, you won't believe what he's done this time..." Like DH says, "they just ain't happy unless they're unhappy!"
    1700 days ago
    Great blog! It's my mission to make just one person laugh or smile each day. That's how I attempt to contribute to making the world a more positive place. emoticon
    1701 days ago
  • 1EMMA2011
    Great post!!!! For me it is about focussing on my feelings. So how I feel about positive and negative events. It's not always easy and I agree with so much of what you have written. Generally I think people may not want to change. After all I have learned - it can be very difficult - to change and very painful. Sometimes it's best to listen, empathize and make suggestions... I guess this is where I'm at right now.

    Thank you for helping me think about these important issues!!!!!! Good stuff!!!


    1701 days ago
  • CANDIK48
    Love your post! Great questions to ponder..

    Here's my take on the answers.

    I think there is something that we can take away from every experience. Even bad experiences can gift us with lessons on what to do or not to do or ways to cope with adversity. Even finding that little bit of extra strength to endure is a gift. I try to stay positive or at least optimistic regardless of how bad things are. I remind myself it could be worse and for some people it is. I also try to be grateful for everything because nothing is promised in this life except death. Oh, and taxes. Being positive for someone isn't hard to do when we get into the habit of being positive for ourselves. Celebrate (or commiserate!) good (and bad) things no matter how small even when they are not our own or if we have to do it all by ourselves. Misery loves company and no one likes feeling alone with something negative. Share a hug, share a "I hear you", share an anything, just share. It lightens the burden and widens the party. And then either help them find a smile or give them one of yours. Smiles are contagious. I share them as often as I can. You'd be surprised how quickly you can help make someone's day just by a simple greeting and a smile. (To be recognized as someone worth acknowledgement even if it's to or by someone you don't know is huge!) Your smile might be the only one they get that day. Besides, the more smiles you give, the more you get and that just snowballs into all kinds of warm fuzzy things all day.
    1701 days ago
  • SPATTEN2001
    I absolutely loved your post .... I am trying to get my daughter to understand some of these same truths and it is very difficult to get her to understand.

    I believe there is a lesson in every experience, good or bad; we have to intentionally listen to the lesson to be learned from the bad ones and we have to dig deep to focus that there is a lesson in the good ones as well.

    Every morning that I wake up is a positive ... I try to stay focused all day long on the good in my life and in the world. I avoid too much TV because it is very much a downer with only bad news.

    This one requires some deep thought but I am certain there is an answer: 3) How can I express myself positively without stealing someone else's thunder (or thundercloud)?

    I always try to point out the positive in whatever experience has happened or is being related to me by others. I am a true Pollyanna or a rose-colored glasses wearer. But, I do have my days (in fact, yesterday was one).

    Thanks for sharing this blog!
    1701 days ago
    I think it's difficult for us to view things in a positive fashion because we're taught to share the negative. That said, I think every bad experience has some form of lesson, but it really depends on the experience. For instance, I got swept for going too slow during my last half-marathon, and it really crushed me. But I know going into the next one to push myself a little harder so that I don't risk that chance of being swept, and to accept the sweep gracefully if it comes. Etc, etc.

    It's harder still to focus on positive things on a daily basis. But if you pick just one positive thing daily to focus on, it gradually gets easier.

    I don't know that it's wrong to "steal someone's thundercloud". Maybe you just have to point out the silver lining?

    Supporting others to be more positive is probably the easiest for me, but I'm the 'giver' sort. I love to encourage others to do the best that they can.
    1701 days ago
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