I am not much of a joiner. Just the other day I got tagged (twice) in the ubiquitous ice bucket challenge and wrote a bit of a rant about why I won’t participate (mostly dislike of cold water, if I’m honest, although I tried to make it sound more high-minded than that). And I really hate “tagging” other people, making them feel coerced into participation. But, still, when a good friend and former colleague tagged me in the Positivity Challenge, I was glad. And I decided to play.
Why? What about positivity attracts me? To tell the truth, by nature I am something of a negative Nelly, sure that the sky is going to fall and water is going to come into the basement. I see it as an adaptation of coming from a long line of peasant stock, for whom the sky really did fall on a regular basis. If there’s been one major adjustment for me of living in the “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” society, it’s been learning to believe that I could hope for the best and actually see it happen.
I’ve been a student of positive psychology nearly since its inception. I’ve read everything by Martin Seligman and his proteges. I’ve done exercises and perused studies. It all comes down to a simple idea: looking on the bright side is just better. It won’t stop storms from coming or hardships from plaguing us, but it will work miracles for our own satisfaction. When your house blows away, you can sit under the tarp lamenting the fact that the rain is leaking in or you can focus on how pretty the sound of it is. (How’s that for a pessimist’s view of positivity?). Either way, your mindset is always within your power.
That’s what attracts me about the Positivity Challenge. Looking on the bright side isn’t hard, but it’s a muscle that requires training. I like the idea of being asked to do it publicly.
Here are the rules: for the next 5 days I will post 3 things I’m thankful for. Then I’ll tag 3 people to do the same. They, if they don’t hate me too much for it, will in turn post their 3 things for 5 days. And tag their unsuspecting friends. And we’ll be a wave of positive thinking that will hopefully spread a ripple of cheer around our neck of the woods.
So here goes:
1. I am so grateful for my children. An easy one, perhaps. But in their absence (on vacation with Dad), I feel my gratitude for them more acutely. To hear their voices sounding so grown-up on their daily call to me reminds me how much time is passing. And how they will always be the greatest thing I’ve ever done.
2. I am grateful for my writing career. I too often get mired in the details of wanting to sell more books or schedule more appearances that I forget… I AM A PUBLISHED AUTHOR. Holy guacamole. I’ve wanted it for as long as I can remember and now it’s real. What a miracle.
3. I am grateful for my wonderful little house and garden. It’s a place full of pretty things and happy times and a source of constant and ongoing joy.
There is so much more, of course, but I’ll be rationing my gratitude for the next days of the challenge. Stay tuned. And even though I can’t tag you all by name, readers, you might consider taking a little time to ponder what’s good in your life. It’s a lot.