This week my choice for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop is #5.) “Keep your face to the sunshine and you can not see the shadow” – Helen Keller In what ways are you able to stay positive about something that sometimes brings you down? (inspired by Lady Di from Daily Doses of Mama Drama)
I try to be a glass half full kind of person. I try not to dwell on the negative. That’s not to say I never get upset or have unpleasant things happen. Of course I do. Everyone does. I really feel though that it’s all in how you respond to those things.
I consider myself a collector of sayings for lack of a better title. I hear things that I consider positive or upbeat and I try to remember them. I can’t always remember them word for word but I usually remember the gist and sometimes paraphrase them with my own spin so I can remember. Like my telling people when they ask how I am that I never have a bad day. But more on that in a minute.
Years ago, someone sent me an email that really resonated with me. I can’t even remember who sent it to me. In fact, I believe I received it several times over the span of a couple of years and ended up deleting it or losing it but the story resonated with me. It’s been several years since I read it so I’m going off memory here and we all know how my memory is… feeble at best. Bottom line is, if you know the story you don’t need to correct me or tell me… I remember the parts I need to remember. As best as I can recollect, it was about a young man who always tried to be positive and upbeat all the time. I don’t remember if he worked on power lines or he was climbing or what but he fell…. A LONG WAY. It was a pretty hard fall and he came very close to dying and was paralyzed from the accident.
Years after the accident someone asked him how he could still be so positive and upbeat when he’d had this horrible accident that had left him paralyzed and he told the person the story of his accident and how he had decided he was going to live. He said that when he got to the hospital that he could tell from the look in the nurse’s eyes that it was not good and they did not expect him to make it. He said he could tell by the tone in their voices and the way they all looked at him that they knew he was a goner and that it was all very serious.
He said he caught the eye of one of the nurses that was closest to him and he told her “PLEASE… don’t treat me like I’m going to die. Work on me like I’m going to live. Whatever you have to do to save me and keep me alive, do it. I WANT to live, no matter what. Treat me like you already know I’m going to make it.” She assured him that they would but he said the mood was still very tense and somber and they were still treating him like he was a dead man. He said he knew he had to do something to lighten the atmosphere and turn the situation around so when the nurse asked him out loud if he was allergic to anything he said yes. When she asked him what he was allergic to he simply said “Gravity”. He said it took them a minute for it to sink in and then he started laughing and then he said they all started laughing and at that moment they started treating him like he was going to live and he did. His “friend” then said “Yes, I know you lived but you’re in a wheelchair and all.” He said ‘Yes, but I’m alive and I’m building character.”
For some reason that story really stuck with me and I’ve kind of adapted that as my mantra if you will. When people ask me how I am, I tell them that I never have a bad day and I usually get pretty much the same response of “You never have a bad day?” And I say that I have good days and I have character building days. Then I tell them that if I was having a bad day, they really wouldn’t want to hear about it anyway. They are usually just trying to be polite. And besides… on the days that aren’t so good, then I’m building character. Learning to adapt and be a better person so those are my “character building days”. Then I usually add, “That’s why I’m such a character! Because I have a lot of those days!” And that usually puts people in a better mood and I 9 times out of 10 get the same response. “I’m gonna have to remember that! Character building days!”
Then I usually tell them that I’m here, I’m breathing, I’m alive, I’m on the right side of the dirt and it beats the alternative to which they usually tend to agree. Occasionally I get the smart aleck that will say “How do you KNOW that? You ever experienced the alternative?” I then usually respond “I don’t KNOW…I can only assume… but I do know that I don’t want to find out right now either… do you?” That usually shuts ‘em up!
It’s really no secret. It’s a matter of attitude. I tell people that a lot too. You just need to skew your thinking. Instead of saying “I’m having a bad day!” think to yourself “I’ve got an opportunity to build character today. How can I do that? What can I do to turn this situation around?”
And there’s that other saying I really like too. Life is 75% what happens to you and 25% how you react to it. That, again, goes back to attitude. You can choose to have a positive attitude to just about anything or you can choose to react negatively. Reacting positively creates good energy and builds better character and creates a better living atmosphere. Reacting negatively creates a negative environment and fosters hostility. I choose to try to react positively. I choose to build better character. I choose to create a better, more positive environment. I don’t always succeed. But I keep trying. I don’t give up. I keep putting one foot in front of the other and I keep going. I choose to be happy rather than angry or hostile.
This is your life…. Choose wisely.