I didn’t blog yesterday because it was my birthday and I was in a great mood – which is not in itself a reason not to blog – but I wanted to address an email I received that took me to task for my “Pollyanna attitude to life.”
John, (my correspondent) is obviously having some difficult times and feels that my view on positive attitude and thinking is a load of rot. “If” he tells me “I really had to face difficult times” he bets that I would change my attitude.
And though I have answered him personally, I wanted to comment on the blog, because there may be others who also think that a ‘Pollyanna’ attitude does not go with some of the realities of this life.
So I am going to share with you somethings I would otherwise not have publicised. The husband, (he of the instructions fame) has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and we are in the middle of the tests to discover if it has spread before he goes for surgery. Now John, I consider this to be a difficult time, and I could wallow in the fear of an unhelpful outcome; I could, if I chose, spend my time worrying about what I would do if the worst came to the worst; and I could spend unprofitable time in negative thoughts and negative attitudes.
Well, I choose not to. I choose to believe that this is a disease that can be beaten; I choose to remember all the people I know that have won their fight with it, and I choose to consider that the most likely outcome will be positive.
That does not mean that we have not taken practical steps to plan ahead, and wills have been updated and plans are in place to ensure that, should the worst case scenario occur, I will not be left in limbo re bank accounts etc. But this is positive planning, not negative thinking, and is an outcome of both our military training. Having put our affairs in order, we are well placed to put all our energies into facing what needs to be faced and dealing with it in a positive way.
My life has not always been as serene and as successful as it now appears, and I have faced many challenges. I will admit that when I was younger I fought and raged against life and considered myself a victim of circumstance. Looking back I am furious with myself for my negativity. Because I was so consumed with anger at the circumstances I spent all my energy on that anger rather than on more positive ways to overcome the problem. Being a victim meant that someone or something else was the root cause of the problem therefore I didn’t have to do anything to help myself; someone else was the cause and they should fix it. “It’s not my fault” is a catch phrase I too have been guilty of.
Until one day – another day of not bothering to get up, because I considered there was nothing to get up for, I was once again consumed with anger – only this time at myself. If this was going to be my life from now on I didn’t want to know, and so for the first time in about three weeks I got out of bed purposefully, showered and dressed and began to seriously consider what the problems were that I was actually facing. Loss of a marriage, loss of an income and, if I didn’t start living back in the real world, loss of my children were large problems but not insurmountable – and surmount them I did.
I simply chose not to be a victim anymore – I chose to attack the actual problem not the circumstances. So I had no income? Then I would have to take positive steps to arrange some kind of finance until I could find a job – and I did. Marriage breakup? I could continue to blame the ex-husband for everything or choose to believe that I was well rid of someone who could not be faithful. And I had no intention of loosing my beautiful children so I had to face up to life, not to hide away from it.
So you see John, I have faced hard choices; I have sunk into depression and I have blamed everyone else for my problems except myself. And I know from personal experienced that in the end it is up to me
If you are facing problems, make yourself a cup of coffee and list them down on paper as they affect you. Don’t put down “I have lost my job” put down “I need an income”. I found that made my problems more impersonal and I was able to seriously consider options for change. I am not saying that their solutions will be easy; I faced real poverty for quite a long while, but I was grimly determined to succeed because failure was unthinkable. I had to settle for less than I had been used to because I did not have the resources to maintain our lives the way they had been, so I chose to put the house up for sale before the bankds did, and made it my choice. And I had to explain to young children why their lives had been so radically altered; but in the end I came through a stronger and more positive person.
So does positive thinking work? – you bet it does!! Does positive attitude attune you to possibilities rather than problems? – Absolutely!
Now whatever life throws at me – I still say how I handle it is still my choice.
So it’s off to the hospital – and if the husband doesn’t glow in the dark tonight I will be disappointed!
Michele @ Trischel