At the beginning of 2018, I made a promise to myself to be more positive. I wanted to make a change in my own life, the life of others and the world around me. Positivity is not about being happy because things are always going my way or wanting to seem like I am better than anyone else. It is about greeting EVERY situation – the good, the bad, the ugly with optimism and grit. It is about looking for the silver lining and the good in all people.
I am not perfect by any means (no where close), but this is a mindset shift that I am dedicated to making a permanent part of my life. I hope to inspire others to do the same.
Some of the small steps I have taken:
*When I am frustrated or angry, I breath and/or make up a silly song in my head to make me feel better. (Sometimes I sing them out loud – not always a great idea with a class full of students present…especially when you have a microphone…don’t worry, it was all nice words, they just all tried to sing along with me…we had a good laugh…)
*I walk into each new place looking for 1 thing I can do to help – whether someone knows it or not. (I am a big fan of rounding up stray shopping carts. That’s 30 seconds less that the poor workers have to spend in the elements rounding those things up…)
*I smile at people and compliment them – whatever is on my mind to say that is nice. I have complimented people’s voices, kindness, demeanor, confidence, eyes, eye make-up, children, clothing, skill at something…I once complimented a guy’s forehead. That was an interesting encounter, but he left smiling, so it was worth it. 🙂
*I reach out and try to make connections with people and start positive conversations. This is not a strength of mine, but it feels good to leave after having a smiling/laughing conversation with someone. It is worth the effort (and guts) it takes.
*I look for what I can change to improve circumstances. (Things don’t always go as planned.)
*When bad situations happen or things are not going my way, I make an effort to hold my head high and smile anyway. It’s amazing how powerful choosing to smile when you are in pain can be.
This journey has already taught me a few things:
*I can much more calmly handle adversity, including classroom management challenges in my classroom.
*I am open to broader possibilities with a willingness to try just about anything. (anything within some semblance of reason…well, sometimes it’s fun to try to absolutely off the wall ideas, too…there is often genius hiding somewhere in those ideas…)
*I am able to express my own feelings more clearly.
*I have an improved ability to handle my own struggles with anxiety and depression.
*I feel empowered and excited to reach out and help others.
*I feel less stressed even when things are hectic. (This is a big one!)
*I feel a greater resolve to better myself, my teaching, my parenting, and more.
I have to give a shout out to Jon Gordon and the Power of Positive Summit. Listening to these speakers really lit a fire for me. It was already sparking, I just needed that fuel to get me burning bright. The talk from Becca Stevens resonated with me especially. When she said that some people don’t even realize there is a sky above the clouds, I was moved to tears. I have been in a place like that, and I want to help others see that no matter how dark the clouds, how great the storms, there is still sunlight above them. Whether it is in parenting, teaching, or life in general, I am focusing on living with positivity, seeing the bright sky, and even being that bright sky for others.