I am naturally a positive person, it is something that people comment on often and it got me thinking about the HOW’S and WHY’s of being positive. My life is not always amazing and full of happiness, and crappy things happen often, yet I am happy almost all of the time. There are a lot of factors that go into that, such as a supportive husband that makes me laugh, two kids that make my life special, and great friends and family.
Yet, I’ve been happier with less. I was happy when we made 1/3 of the money we make now, and when I lived far away from family when my husband was away, or when I worked crappy jobs in one of the 5 places we’ve moved in the past 14 years. I truly believe being positive is a learned trait that you have to work at constantly. I’ve thrown myself a pity party here and there, but most often I get up, dust myself off, and figure out how to make things better. Here’s how I do that.
- When things are going really bad, like if my daughter is throwing up in the Detroit airport into a magazine bag during a 3 hour layover, and then my husband and son get sick on the plane, and they lose our luggage and my kids are laying like dead animals on the ground while I report our bags (which took two days to get back to us…), I always think, “is this the worst that can happen?” In that instance, that happened to be the worst airport trip of my life. I then go, “okay, THIS is now the benchmark for bad airport experiences”, so now when things go wrong in the future I can say that at least it wasn’t as bad as “that other time.” It’s a mind trick that enables you to be grateful for what you have, because it could always be worse. That benchmark often gets lowered, but most often I find myself in instances where it still could get worse, and I’m grateful it is not.
- Another thing I like to do is just accept the way things are and look for ways we can make them better. We are moving in a couple of months, from a place and a school and a town that we all adore. I COULD boo hoo this and make my kids sad about leaving and crying, or looking at the huge undertaking of buying a new house and changing schools/doctors/dentists/etc., as a bad thing. But I can’t do that. You see, we have to move and have zero choice. So then it is up to me to set the tone for how we view this move. I like to open it up as an adventure to the kids. We will travel to a new area and learn new things. We search things to do on the ride down and in the new town. I show them videos of their new school and house and tell them all the cool things they can look forward to. We discuss a little bit about how we will miss where we live now, but I always include the fact that we have an adventure awaiting us. My idea is that they will grow up always looking for that silver lining. To say, “we are sad to leave here, but so excited to do this instead.” There is always a silver lining in life if you look hard enough, and I work hard to make sure my kids see that.
- The last thing I do to be positive on a daily basis is to just be grateful for what I have. I’m grateful that I have two children that make a mess and drive me nuts, because I would be lost without them. I am grateful for my husband because he provides for us so well, and always supports my dreams. I’m grateful for being able to buy the food we need and the clothes we want and be safe and warm and happy in our home. I’m grateful for a strong and healthy body that does everything I ask of it. I’ve seen horrible things happen those around me and I see them pick themselves up and carry on. The loss of children, parents, homes, jobs. Things can always be so much worse, and having the perspective of being grateful is important. One of the smallest ways I do this is when I make a mistake, like last week I dropped my vacuum when I was walking downstairs and the canister opened up and spewed a weeks worth of dirt and grossness all over the carpeted stairs. It took me a bit to figure it out (after walking away and letting it sit for a good while), but once I cleaned it up I thought, “well at least now the stairs are really clean.” Sometimes you just have to search deep to find the positive.
That’s it! Most of these are simple, really, but they are the little ways I stay positive in a world that constantly seems to send me curveballs. There is ALWAYS a bright side to something, and it may take a long time to figure out what that is, but if you have a little faith in life that things will happen the way they are supposed to, and a little gratefullness for what you do have, you will be happier, I promise.