Being Positive is Easier Said than Done
Having a positive Outlook is difficult when we feel everything is going wrong! Often when we say this EVERYTHING has not gone wrong it only seems like it amidst what seems like a catalog of catastrophes’ when in fact this is what psychologist call minimizing and maximizing. Some things are still going right, Your body is still functioning (hopefully), the sky has not fallen down. The sun still rose this morning (even if you can’t see it) and the world is still spinning. Some things, however, may have gone very wrong. It is not always easy and it is harder for some people than others (before you feel judged) if we look at the genetics (you can click here if you want to)
Even with the greatest resolve and best genes, It is not always easy to try to maintain a positive perspective on whether we know what genes we have or not. Putting things into perspective can be extremely difficult when things go wrong and we see very little positive in our situation, but it is certainly worth trying (especially since epigenetics teach we can change gene expression). Maintaining gratitude and focusing on things that go well is a key strategy to help us at least feel better (while we are dealing with difficulty). There is usually enough pain in the trial without adding and prolonging suffering within ourselves.
I remember a friend stating that if she were me and had cancer, she would be crying all the time. I was somewhat dismayed by the vision of sitting crying. That certainly did see how that would in any way be helpful. It was true it was serious, it was true I may not survive, but spending what time I had crying seemed somewhat bizarre. (but that’s just me and my family have always found me a little spoc like).
Out of Kilter – But Hanging in There
It is true when your health had let me down, plans would have to be put on hold…for however long. It is truly frustrating that physical energy escapes you. I dreamt of running frequently when I was ill. Something I do now when I can despite being overweight and somewhat self-conscious at times. Surely when our situation is serious, a negative attitude does not help on top of everything else, but having such a resolve is harder than it seems even by those who get through when looking back in retrospect. Especially when there is setback after setback and there can be a surrender (accepting things are not goo) but this is NOT GIVING UP!
To combat a negative mindset or predominant gloom, does not mean to deny the situation or circumstances, but just not to let them undermine or prevent seeing any good things, opportunities amidst the upheaval. I must admit it took what I had studied (self-esteem, motivation, resilience) and spiritual focus and the struggles I had had on before being ill gave a foundation for better coping.
Surrender but Don’t give up.
There is Scientific research shows that an attitude of gratitude is the strongest correlate with well-being and that spirituality and is negatively associated with feelings of envy and materialistic attitudes. So the more spiritual you are the less materialistic and more grateful. (Michael E. McCullough, Robert A. Emmons, Jo-Ann Tsang 2002) .
Having a positive outlook allows us to genuinely celebrate others good fortune without envy or resenting that we have not got the same or better blessings (as deserving as we might feel we are). A friend enquired if I didn’t question why I had was ill or feel angry. I must say the first thing that came into my head was that I wanted a little time out to consider more spiritual things. This might seem strange but the very essences of feeling that somehow our fortunes means we are less or more deserving can prevent us from celebrating and feeling joy for others It also implies that their good fortune is somehow related directly or indirectly to our own state or ability.
A little humility and examination of a chance of birth, parentage, opportunity even accident and illness can soon help straighten out our perspective. An occurrence of chance can change our circumstances and fortune instance and cause us to question our identity and show us we have a rather an inflated ego state when this is lost. Hopefully, we can surrender in good time to the master plan and better judgment and find more peace despite feeling the identity of our roles. We can accept the sometimes constricted circumstances but hold on to who we can still try to flourish.
I was amazed how the conversations of those who knew of my illness changed! Wasn’t I the same person? It can be hard for those around you to see your identity devoid of things like roles, physique, status, or whatever. I realized this and told few people until it was unavoidable. When things change once used to define us, it is well worth looking to God and within to inquire there about our true and stable identity. This takes time and quiet and listening with more than our ears, with our heart. Our heart tells us much more at times than what we hear. Learning to listen with the heart takes quiet contemplation, meditation free from distraction. Well, I was surprised at how much I was learning by being ill! (Whether I wanted to or not)
COACHING CAN HELP TO GENUINELY FOSTER A POSITIVE OUTLOOK EVEN IN TRIALS
COACHING CAN HELP WITH DEVELOPING A UNDERSTANDING OF WHO YOU ARE TO DISPEL ENVY AND JEALOUSY.
(see the full article on Gratitude at http://local.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Papers/The%20Grateful%20Disposition_JPSP.pdf )
Date & Journal: 2002, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology).