You know the saying “when life hands you lemons?” It’s one of those positive thinking quotes we use to remind us that out of bad events we can make something good/positive–Lemonade. But what happens when you are sick of lemonade?
I understand when people have problems that they can’t fix, like being deaf or blind, that there is frustration. Problems like these offer no real ‘solutions.’ This is when your only choices are to get angry or smile like you mean it. Getting angry doesn’t help the situation, complaining often makes it seem worse than it actually is and trying to Pollyanna through it is very difficult.
I’m do not have the same caliber of Pollyanna I used to when I was younger. Experience has made me much more practical and much more able to work on fixing problems instead of just smiling and positive thinking my way through them precisely because I understand some problems can’t be fixed and sometimes smiling isn’t enough. But sometimes smiling through it and looking at the ‘bright’ side of things is all you can do.
There are very good reasons to try to be a Pollyanna and most of them are not for your own sake. Dennis Prager, author of Happiness, A Serious Problem, considers it a moral obligation:
Transcript (for my deaf friends) click here.
There are some things I do when I am down to try and lift myself up and I’ll list them here:
1. Smile and say thank you for each tiny act of kindness
2. Listen to uplifting music (MoTab or Lord of the Rings Soundtrack, etc)
3. Read something uplifting–I usually start with Tolkiens Ordinary Virtues (this is available on audio and is great to listen to at work or in the car) and then work myself through some of CS Lewis’ essays.
4. Hug my husband
5. Try not to complain
The last is the hardest, I admit, which is why I usually go through this list in that order. It is easier not to complain when you are focusing on making someone else happy. Like Jimmy Durante sang:
It’s so important to make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy.
Make just one heart the heart you sing to.
One smile that cheers you,
One face that lights when it nears you.
One gal you’re everything to.
My husband has a ‘list’ too and maybe writing down the things to do that make you happy is the most important step in trying to establish a routine when you are unhappy.
What’s on your list?