I don’t know if it is because November was National Gratitude Month or because I have been working through Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Magic, (by the author of The Secret, but focused on gratitude) but I have noticed something disturbing:
People are negative, yo!
Ok, it could also be that I have been spending too much time in the faculty room (Note to new teachers: never hang out in the staff room if you want to like your students, their parents, or your colleagues!)
Seriously, I feel like I am surrounded by people who only see the negative in others and the world. And that means that is what they see in themselves, too.
It has long been my belief that if you are hard on others you are equally (if not more) hard on yourself. I know that has been my personal experience in regards to how I treat, evaluate, and talk to myself.
I work part-time as a teacher (for the time-being) and have seen this in my young students as well. If I hear them tearing down a classmate I know they hear that destructive language elsewhere. They learned it at home, or out in the world, and they repeat it to others…and themselves.
It is heartbreaking.
But grown-ups do it too. And I am here to tell you this:
You have a choice.
You can choose to be positive and kind and see the good in others or you can choose not to.
Isn’t that good news?
You know what else? It gets easier with practice!
Now, before you get your panties in a bunch I am not saying you have to be all Pollyanna all the time. (“Pollyanna” refers to someone who is overly optimistic all the time. You can read the book or watch the movie to learn more.) I totally believe in the power of venting.
I vent. My friends vent. I am cool with that.
But it’s not our default. We don’t wallow for extended periods of time. (Unless it’s warranted, which – let’s be real here – it IS sometimes.)
That said, even through breakups, the death of loved ones, jobs lost, cars broken into, stress with family, financial hardships, life-threatening illnesses, you name it, you don’t have to live in the despair and negativity and fear forever.
The path out of the darkness starts with gratitude and positivity.
I have had to claw my way out of depression and despair more than once. But I am still a positive person – regardless of the very real challenges I have faced in my life.
It’s funny though, I don’t always see myself that way.
Check this out: a few weeks ago I was at the car dealership getting my oil changed and a salesman walked up to me asking if I had heard about the great new trade-in program they were running.
I told him I had, thank you. I explained that I was in the middle of a bankruptcy and wouldn’t qualify even if I wanted to. [smile]
His response surprised me.
Wow, he said. How are you so positive?
I didn’t really know what he was talking about, I was just being me.
I told him it was all good, just something I was going through. I have a good car, I have the money to maintain it, I’m getting back on my feet financially, and it’s just not the end of the world. [shrug]
Well, it’s inspiring, he told me. Not everyone has such a good attitude.
He got that right!
Not everyone has a good attitude. Maybe you don’t.
But you can.
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