Putting a positive spin on things

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I try my best to look for the positive in any situation, and to always look for the good in people (surprisingly, you can usually find at least one thing to like about anyone), and nothing drains my energy faster than a chronically negative person. We’re all entitled to a rant and/or a whine here and there; sometimes you have to get it out – and I think that’s perfectly fine.

But I often hear myself saying things like, “ugh, I have to go do such and such” or “oh, God, I just don’t feel like doing that” when I think of things that I need to do or have to do. And I never looked at that as being negative. But it really is, isn’t it?

Yesterday, I read something that gave me pause. (Please forgive me for not remembering what blog I read this on.) When this woman said to her therapist, “I have to exercise today” the therapist suggested she turn around her thought process and look at it instead as, “I get to exercise today.”

Wow. Talk about an aha! moment for me. What a simple way to change your entire outlook. And it really made me think about all the whining I've been doing lately.

Here are some recent things I just didn’t want to do followed by how I am now approaching them:

“I just don’t feel like going to work today.”
Many people don’t have this option; the economy sucks and unemployment is rising steadily. I may not have the greatest job in the world, but it’s not the worst either – plus they give me a paycheck every single week. Yay! I get to go to work today!

“Ugh…not grocery shopping again!”
I am thankful I have the resources to buy food any time I darn well feel like it and that I live in a country where it is readily available – and my stomach has never been painfully empty. Many people are not that fortunate. Yay! I get to go grocery shopping!

“I so do not feel like exercising today.”
Look at me! I got out of bed on my own power and walked around, totally unassisted. I have full use of my arms and legs and everything else is in relatively good working order – and I intend to keep it that way for as long as possible. Yay! I get to exercise!

“Dammit...not another birthday party”
I am grateful we have friends who think enough of us to want to share their milestones with us. Yay! We get to go to a party!

“I don’t want to clean this stupid house.”
I am thrilled to have a home of my very own to clean. Many people do not. And, while I’m at it, I’m thankful that I have a dishwasher (so I don’t have to wash every stinkin’ dish by hand), and my own washer and dryer (so I don’t have to trudge off to the laundrymat every week). Yay! I get to clean my house!

“Crap. I have to call my mother for her birthday.”
I am thankful that my mother, at age 76, is still around and in good health – and I’m even more thankful that I can pick up the phone any time I want and hear her voice. How much longer will I be able to say that? Many people would gladly give everything they own in exchange for just one more conversation with a departed loved one. Yay! I get to call my mother for her birthday!

Those are the things I remember being negative about this week. I’m sure there were more. So how about you? Can you put a positive spin on some of the things you don’t really want to do?


MzB said...

love your post today! My SIL took care of her mother (my MIL) for 5 years. She passed this past February. My SIL's eulogy was the greatest - her thought process went from "Mom is such a burden" to "YAY we GET to take care of her! It was a privilege after all!" There wasn't a dry eye in the church after her speech.

BTW, I enjoy your blog every day!

Tanya said...

I love this post so much Jean! I feel that way a lot lately...thankful for what I have in times that are hard for many. Thanks for inspiring me further.

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

mzb - first of all, I am so sorry for your loss. The eulogy sounds like it was wonderful. AND you made my day with your nice comments.

Tanya - thank you, my dear. That means a lot to me.

midlife mommy said...

That is a much better way to look at things; thank you. And you have my permission to be annoyed with your mother, even as you appreciate that you are oh so lucky to still have one. That's just how it is with families. "We fight and argue, and argue and fight, but we love each other just the same." Can't remember where that came from, but it just popped into my head.

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

MLM - that sounds like something that may have come from Winnie the Pooh. Are you spending too much time with the cartoons, again?

midlife mommy said...

Nope, not from there. When given the choice of several shows to tape every day, she chose Handy Manny and Mickey's Clubhouse over Winnie and Dora.

Ringleader said...

Thank you. I needed to read this today.

Laretha said...

I totally love this post! I was just with some relatives and we were discussing being content in our homes. We didn't grow up with much and as adults we are blessed with nice homes. She said every morning I wake up and I say "I get to live here"!

thanks for the positive!

Dawn said...

Thanks for this post-so true-I do get to go grocery shopping today and I'm thankful I'm able to-thanks for giving me something to think about today.

Kelly said...

Came over from R Family Diaries...love your positive spin on things that could really get you down in the dumps! thanks for the reminder!

Joy said...

This is such a smart, wise way of thinking. I need to employ this technique more often. Thank you for posting it!

Diva Scrapper said...

What an amazing post...I just loved it. You have motivated me to re-think a could of my "have to's" to become "I get to"..thank you for great words!!

Fiona said...

Great post and thanks for the reminder. It does actually work when you think this way!

Tiffany said...

I just love this. So "real". You are a living example of optimism!!!


Cindy said...

Great post!
Gratitude is such a power thing. I try to sit for five minutes everyday and type without stopping, all the things that I am thankful for. It's a private blog that I have just for gratitude.
Have a great day!

Art Spectrum

Cindy said...

oops I meant to say powerful not power(two very different meanings):)