Sunday, August 16, 2009

The power of positivity

I've been having some interesting dreams lately. I won't go into great detail, but many of them involve feeling myself be pulled (literally) over to "the dark side"--- while fighting that "pull" every step of the way. Perhaps I've been watching too much George Lucas lately...?

More likely, I think it's because I've been paying more attention to the news lately... and while there are
some good things happening out there, there seems to be a heavier focus on the negative.

I'm not blaming the people who do the news. At least, not most of them. I
know people who do the news and I know 90% of them would rather not be focusing on negative stories.

I'll focus on the media another time (not surprisingly, it's a delicate subject). But I want to get back to the main point of this post.

Don't allow others write your story for you.

It's easy to let yourself become consumed by negativity when you see it all around you. The problems being reported in the news seem monstrously large--- perhaps even insurmountable. And that negativity can be contagious. How many stories have we all seen lately concerning people who are bitter and filled with anger?

An extreme example--- the case of George Sodini, the man who killed three innocent victims in a gym in Pennsylvania before turning the gun on himself. If you read through the excerpts from his blog you can see just how much he allowed rage over his life to consume him.

One of the things that struck me as I was reading that blog was this excerpt, written one day before the incident:

Unfortunately I talked to my neighbor today, who is very positive and upbeat. I need to remain focused and absorbed COMPLETELY. Last time I tried this, in January, I chickened out. Lets see how this new approach works.
It makes me wonder what would have happened if he had run into more "positive and upbeat" people that day. So many people fail to realize how a simple smile or kind word can make a huge difference to someone who is in pain. Just like they fail to realize how flipping someone off in traffic or swearing at someone can ruin a person's day... or week... or month.

Don't let negativity consume you.

So many people out there try to tell you how you
should be feeling. Or tell you there's no way you will ever be able to change things... so you might as well just give up.

But there ARE things you can do. Simple things.

It's amazing how something as simple as taking a split-second to smile at a stranger... or asking someone behind a counter "how's it going?".... can make a difference. I'm serious. I'm still amazed at how many strangers seem surprised when I ask them how their day is going.

If you have just a little bit more time... find a cause to support. Volunteer for 1-2 hours a week with an organization that helps people. It not only helps put you in a better mood, it also gives a fresh perspective on what REAL problems are.

If enough of us do just a little to promote some positivity... who knows what the cumulative result will be? Heaven knows it couldn't hurt. ;)

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