I am not Pollyanna. I do not wake up smiling. It usually takes three cups of strong black coffee before I am remotely prepared to spread cheer and sometimes that is not even enough. Since I manage a website about joy, some people may think I have a ridiculously bright outlook or that I am faking happiness.
To be honest, it is a little bit of both.
Cancer opened my eyes – wide. The way I wasted time. The people I spent emotional energy on. The choices I made. I elected to stay positive in my fight so I could become well again. I vowed not only to win the battle but appreciate every healthy moment thereafter. At times, I wore a false smile. I had to. Some days were just too difficult, the journey too daunting. I allowed myself to fall down but more importantly, I sought to be picked up.
Even the gray days were beautiful. And now…
I have a ridiculously bright outlook … most of the time. I am determined to fill the bulk of my days with things I enjoy. I am unafraid to admit I have become extremely selfish. I am selective in how I direct my energy and with whom I spend my time. My focus is on activities and people who matter. If something does not fit into that plan, I say no. I refuse to over-commit or wade in excess.
I also love solitude and after years of believing I was an extrovert, realized I am actually introverted. I embrace it. I no longer hide behind a different label. I no longer pretend to be something or someone else. I am honest with others and unapologetic. Being alone is energizing, and those who know me understand I give whatever and whenever possible. The greatest source of happiness comes from being true to self and that, in turn, creates a positive outlook.
Our days are limited. Be a little selfish. Focus on what matters. Be you.
I am faking happiness … some of the time. I try to find something good in each moment and when I cannot, I seek out others who might help. I avoid the trap of fake news and rude comments online by blocking or deleting the negativity. I keep my distance from people who choose to see the dark rather than the light. You know the person: the one who constantly complains and drains precious energy. I work to surround myself with all that is right in this world. And when times are really tough, I let the sadness in because I know the joy will soon return. After difficulty and illness and loss, it has always returned.
I do not pretend to be happy if I am not. I simply make an effort to push the good feelings closer to the surface so they can emerge when ready. Do you remember the saying fake it until you make it? If I am stuck in a low place, I look for the person reaching a hand to lift me up. When I am unable to see beyond the bad, I read up on everything good. Gratitude and joy are highly contagious. They spread, infecting us and others. Seek to plant a small bit of positivity in your everyday. Tend it. Nurture it. Watch it thrive and grow.
Train yourself to be a more positive person.
ONE WEEK CHALLENGE: At the end of the day, quickly jot down everything that made you happy. Include even the littlest, seemingly most unimportant things. If it made you smile, add it. If you conquered some fear, add it. If it filled your heart, add it. There are no wrong answers – just do not include anything remotely negative on there. When the week is done, look back upon your list. Those things that made you feel powerful, brought joy, and carried goodness? DO MORE OF THEM.
When we fall, it is so easy to stay there. Frustration. Anger. Sadness. Fear. Hurt. They tempt us with their ability to release what has been bottled up inside. They want us to spew them into the air so they can harm and contaminate others. Misery spreads faster and easier than joy. Staying positive, on the other hand, requires concentrated effort. Do not push away your true emotions. Feel them, acknowledge them, but then release them. Make room for happy.
It is possible to learn a positive approach to life. Be aware it is a work in progress – a one-step-forward, two-steps-back kind of thing. It does not occur overnight and it is virtually impossible to master, but that is not the point. Simply capturing more of what is good is the goal.
Love more of life. Love the world you made. Love everything.
Something I love? ONE LINE A DAY Journals. I still have one from when I was a girl and have gifted them to others. They are a wonderful way to document highlights and provide a snapshot of daily life. Perfect for anyone looking to record simple memories for themselves or others. Parent, grandparent, new parent, student, newlywed, new homeowner, newly hired … help someone love the world they made!
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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE