The Trick to Keeping Positive (even when it's positively grueling)
Positivity. Happiness. Joy.With so many different messages pushed our direction it's no wonder we end up confused and befuddled about why we still don't have lasting happiness. After all, it's so easy, right?
Here's the word from a person usually seen publicly as a healing, inspirational, energetic, happy individual - Positivity is positively HARD sometimes. Getting to happy and maintaining a light, bright mindset isn't always shiny. In fact, sometimes it's like nails on a chalkboard, it's slogging through the mud, it's facing every icky, awful voice inside yourself and baring it in ways you might like to otherwise avoid. It’s striving to give even when you feel like the whiny Kindergartener inside you would like to just throw a supernova style fit.
I still struggle with the idea of whether happiness should be a constant state of being. Sometimes I just feel sad – deeply, intensely sad, and a smile feels like an impossible feat. I can feel like I’ve fallen pretty far down my very own little mucky hole. The quiet of the weekends and holidays is a particularly trying time for me as it is when I am “supposed” to be happy and have fun. Instead it feels like a giant letdown mixed up soup of stress blowout that I’ve been trying to ride through all week. It tends to implode on me by Saturday morning. Blah.
Is this a personal weakness? Does this mean I’m not nearly as spiritually secure and accomplished as I’d like to be? Or is this acceptable and normal? Does the Dalai Lama have “off” days? I’m still wrestling with trying to divine answers to these things inside myself.
What I do know is that recovering from these funkety-funk lows often takes every trick I know and they often feel like hard, hard work to a bummed out, low energy me. Despite being a natural and holistic health advocate I often wish there were an easy way out too. (Where did I put my magic wand?) Recovery takes effort and often not a small bit. Mental discipline is also the toughest at the moments when you need it the most.
Even though I might feel like just wallowing in my lopsided mood I make myself meditate, do yoga, take a hot bath, employ some aromatherapy, repeat myself some positive mantras, fix some nourishing food that I know will boost my happy body chemistry, and what I honestly find to be most inspirational and tide-turning of all – look towards the other people in my life for a kick in the pants in the right direction.
Chances are that with 300+ online friends someone else might be happy even while I’m feeling down. Since I’ve surrounded myself with a large network of encouraging, intelligent, kind, growth-oriented and truth-seeking souls oftentimes my Facebook, Twitter, or blog feed has just what I’m needing that day offered by someone who was on the up-and-up with the happy vibes.
When you’re feeling weak and low it might be time to let the smile of another bolster you. If you have brought the right, reinforcing people into your life they’ll happily help keep you on the positive path. Many times I have felt like others have been my guiding lights back out of the darkness, a little lifeline cast into the murky depths and towing me back to the boat. Often all they need to do is just show they are gamely going through their days the best they can, and just by being another empathetic example I don’t feel so alone. Sometimes like in this blog post by Juliana of the Peaceful Peacock called How to Be Courageous the message is much more direct – get up, dammit, no excuses.
Over time the wisdom offered by friends has saved me from sadness more times than I can count. They fill my empty cup and quaff my thirst.
“Reach out your hand if your cup be empty. If your cup is full may it be again.” Robert Hunter, Ripple
Jasper Jones, a novel by Craig Silvey, features a key conversation between Charlie and his best friend about who is the better superhero, Superman or Batman. Charlie's friend argues that Superman is better because of all his powers. Charlie argues back that Batman is the greater hero because he’s just a regular guy who decides to do the right thing. Because he isn’t invulnerable it is the courage to still stand against all that is evil despite being only human that elevates Batman. I’ve kept this conversation close in my heart since reading it. While I’m no Batman I do attempt to keep Batman style courage fervently in mind as I’m standing each day against my challenges. I don’t have to be superhuman, I just have to keep striving.
In the end when the good side wins it’s because those who stand in hope and love never truly stand alone. You may be out there at the forefront of your life battling your worst fears and feeling awfully exposed, but if you look just next to you I think you’ll find there’s someone else engaged in the same struggle. They want to see you win, and the gift of continuing your own struggle is that they might see through to the victory in theirs as well. Don’t give up, for goodness sake. We all win when you keep at it.
I’m not perfect. I’m not even positive all the time. But dang it I’m out here trying. My deepest gratitude goes to those who have gone before me as my teachers and guides. Because of your light my way has been a little brighter and my progress more possible. I hope I can cast a line for a few others and pay the positive forward. Soul warriors, spirit seekers, troubadours, lovers, and those awakening to all the possibilities – you’ve got a friend, and I hope that brings you Happiness.