Staying positive...

posted on: Sunday, 14 September 2014

If there is one thing, a feature, that I notice in people, it is whether they are positive or negative. About all things. I used to be fully aware that I had a pessimistic ilk, but it was fine because it seemed synonymous with being an introvert. I used to consider myself to be a thinker, a realist, and with that came some worry and some glass-is-half-empty behaviour, but on the whole, I was balanced and generally OK. Then I really started to look at how others behaved and compared my thought processes. This was particularly evident being married to my husband. It's not enough simply to describe him as an optimist. He is an all-out positive thinker in every sense of the word.

I think back to when we got together, twenty two years ago (crazy amount of time, whaaaaat?!!) I see that he was always a happy guy, easy-going, not too serious. But then as years wore on and life developed more complexities we learned about each other. I think this is interesting; when people decide to get married young, as we were, they feel they already know each other inside out. There is so much possibility and hope in life and so many endless, uninterrupted hours to spend with each other, talking, talking, talking. Nothing much has really happened yet.

And so it was for us, when we started getting careers and buying houses and having babies, life threw different challenges and we reacted accordingly. Just when you think you know everything about your spouse, you see that the way in which they react to life's difficulties is actually the measure of them. As my husband and I married and had kids when we were so young (comparatively speaking) we had to get to know each others patterns along the way, morphing as we went. The fundamental contrast between his optimism and my pessimism; his positivity and my negativity came to the fore every time we faced something new.

I realised that for all my inward-thinking, I was the one suffering through these life challenges and he seemed to be sailing through them. It wasn't because they didn't matter to him or that he didn't have the depth or the intellect to look at them the way I did, it was because he chose to be positive. It came naturally to him. To me, at times positivity was like having to wear a really heavy winter coat in the summer. It was, and still is, so counter-intuitive to the way I think, I have to sweat under it and feel the weight of it.

This is so annoying! Understatement.

Wouldn't it be lovely to be like him? I have seen him weather some pretty treacherous storms; lost jobs, financial woes, family worries, health worries, and he does so with grace and determination, but in a light-hearted manner. He is not weighed down. I, on the other hand, get weighed down.

If there was one thing I could give my children, as life skills, it would be self-confidence and positivity, Those attributes are worth more than any other thing in my opinion. To lack them is to struggle where others, who possess them, don't.

Of course now, I am grown and I can build those attributes if I don't feel I have them. I can get positive and be positive. I can learn to ditch the pessimistic feelings. But can I just say (and this will strike a chord with fellow introverts): my God it's hard to do! Essential and beautiful, yes. But hard to do.

So I try to surround myself with good vibes and see failure as a lesson and face each day with a smile and so on and so forth! I am getting way better at it (this blog has been part of that. My friend Dawn said to me once when I started writing it, that it made me grateful to write about my life. I think she's right). Life is good and I am happy. But quick straw poll: am I the only one who works at this?!!


  1. Hi Lou. So much of what you have written here resonates. A real me too moment. I too am trying to be more positive. But it really is not a natural tendency. I see the negative. I hope I don't show the negative as I work on the gloss everyday. If only people could see and hear all my thoughts! I will keep reading your blog and see your progress with the positive. I love your blog by the way as it contains all the good and the real.

  2. You will know Lou that, like you, positivity is not my default setting. I too have to work at it, this is sometimes easier to achieve than at other times. On the days when I can actually feel the positive outweighing the negative thoughts, it is such an uplifting feeling. I so agree with your comment on wishing your children confidence and positivity, it definitely life's challenges easier to deal with. X

  3. I'm married to an eternal optimist too. He tells me we are the yin and yang, and that is why we work so well. Over the years he has talked me off the ledge a million times. I'd like to think that some of his optimism has rubbed off on me and in return I feel I have passed on a little of my cautiousness to him... Not that I see that as a bad thing, as there have been times that he has assumed that there has been good in people where there clearly wasn't...
    Overall, as much as I would like to be the eternal optimist, I know this is not my character, so I rely on my other half to allay my fears... It works... Although, if going grey is an indication of worry, I would say I worry far too much... Have a happy Sunday. Lx