The quote above is from the Monty Python song ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’ A very cheerful tune in itself…I hope you can sing along whilst you are reading…
Hello there, this week, I’m contributing to Nikki of FlyingThrough Water and her creative prompt ‘The Bright Side’.
There is so much goodness that comes from being positive, looking on the bright side, not dwelling on the negative. This has been promoted heavily in the self-help movement as Positive thinking.
Keeping Gratitude journals are excellent ways to maintain our focus on the good things in life. Even if at times it feels as if life really isn’t going in our favour.
But is it necessary and even healthy, to ignore a huge part of life when things go wrong?
To attempt to deny the feelings that accompany the less desirable parts of life?
It’s easy to fall into the pattern of blame and negative thinking with phrases such as ‘this always happens to me’, ‘I never win anything,’ and ‘everyone else seems to be having a better life than me…’ These defeating self talk patterns can swim around and around in our head for days, weeks or even months. Believe me, I know. I’ve been called a catastrophizer in the past…
We are unaware of how much it’s become an ingrained, almost reflex attitude to life. We are in great danger of attracting more of what we don’t want through these negative reactions.
This isn’t acceptance of the challenges that arise. It’s more about living in fear.
But there is another way of accepting the curve balls that life throws at us. It’s called Positive Psychology and is described beautifully in a short interview here by a researcher called Barbara Fredrickson. She believes resilience and strategies for managing the hard times is the more proactive way to respond. I hope you find it helpful.
Dr. Andrea Dinardo writes about these important topics in her inspiring blog,
Thriving under Pressure.
Can we still find happiness when we are facing hard times that can rock us to our core?
Can we really just look on the bright side of life that readily?
I believe it comes down the that beautiful expression…
We can ‘make lemonade out of lemons’…
Now, I can see a huge pile of sour, bitter lemons presenting themselves before me. Yes, they are here, they are not going away anytime soon.
What to do with them now they are mine? Somehow I took ownership of them without even asking…
Well, I can try to ignore them, long enough, and the rotting sphere of once brilliant yellow will call us to attention even harder. Glossing over things and ignoring them can only be of value for a period of time.
I can sit with them for a while, say ‘hello lemons’, ponder ‘what am I going to do with you?’
Leaving them in the back of the fridge in the dark will not make them go away.
Ok… attitude shift.
I’ll take those lemons, slice them open to allow the light of day to penetrate, squeeze them until the juice inside runs out, after all, the only way to remove the juice is through squeezing them… and when I have taken what I can from them, it’s now time to find a way to make it work for me. To restore the sweetness to life, even in the midst of discovering that things aren’t proceeding as planned or as I wished them to be.
I add sugar…
So perhaps it’s not about desperately thrashing around in a stressful state aiming to remove or find a quick fix for something…
It’s not about turning a blind eye to the challenges, less than desirable experiences and negative parts of life, as if they didn’t exist, attempting to sweep them under the carpet.
Perhaps looking on the bright side of life is truly about acceptance of what is, sitting with negativity, sadness, disappointment, just long enough for our emotions to feel seen and heard. Once we name the beast, we tame the beast, and could we even find a way to love it?
Like a recipe I need to modify, it’s not possible to remove the ingredients already mixed…
But what I may choose to do is add a sprinkle of this, a dash of that, a pinch of something extra, until before us lies a totally new recipe, while still incorporating the initial ingredients.
I re-write the recipe.
Adding Love to the situation through…
Loving what’s presenting itself to us just now manifests as…
Adopting a fresh attitude,
Discovering how this issue is contributing to my growth, through choosing to believe it’s here as my teacher,
Creating a purpose for its existence even when it seems near impossible at the time. Cradling my thoughts into surrendering to ‘what is’, if I cannot change the situation.
I can also choose to see it as something that is part of a bigger picture, one I am not necessarily privy to just now, so I can add trust along with the surrender.
Perhaps with time, I am able to reflect, to see the experience as a superpower; one that affords me the opportunity to serve others going through their own tough times.
As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet,
‘There is nothing either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.’
I’ll leave you with this beautiful piece, called
‘Amazing advice on Happiness at 92 years old.’
It’s relating a story about a 92 year old lady with vision impairment who knew the time had come to enter a nursing home. Her story, I’m sure, will melt your heart. I hope you have time to read it when suits you… there are many gems of life lessons contained within…
As always, I am very grateful to you for being here.
Thank you again Nikki for an awesome prompt…