Way back when, someone posted a cheesy myspace glitter graphic in a general discussion community I belong to. They did it as a joke; the image was all sparkly and stupid, and it said “Stay Posi!” How dumb. But somehow, slowly, it’s kind of become my life philosophy. Looking on the bright side of things, not letting life get me down, making happiness my goal and working towards it. Here are some my favorite tips for staying posi:
1. Don’t be mad.
Back in 2006, I’d just ended a seven-year relationship with my fiancé/babydaddy. He immediately started a new, serious relationship and I was hurt and mad. My anger ate me up inside and started to take over my life, and I couldn’t move on. One day I thought to myself “I’m never going to be happy if I’m so mad all the time. I have to let this go.” So I did. It sounds crazy but it was just that simple, I made the conscious decision to let go of my anger and as soon as I did I felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. Letting go of that anger allowed me to be friendly and courteous with my ex, but more importantly it allowed me to open myself up to the new relationship I was starting with the wonderful, wonderful man who would become my husband.
2. Don’t be sad.
2008 was the first year my daughter spent Christmas with her father instead of with me. I figured I had two options: sit at home in my empty apartment feeling sorry for myself, or get the heck out of there! I went with the latter, and my boyfriend and I booked ourselves a week in Maui. A few weeks later we came up with another idea: while we were there we’d secretly get married! We had it all planned out perfectly, but when we got up on the morning of December 22nd and checked our flight status online we found our flight had been canceled. There’d been a snowstorm for the past week and our airline had run out of de-icer for their planes. We tried to find an alternate way to meet up with our connecting flight in Seattle, we tried to get on a different flight altogether, we stood in endless lines at the airport and finally after hours it was over. There was nothing we could do, the whole trip was off and the wedding was not happening.
I sat myself down on the floor in the middle of the international departures food court and bawled my eyes out. Then I went home and bawled my eyes out some more. Then I slept, and when I woke up at 9:30 that night, I had a new plan: Maui in March. I booked new flights that very night, and a few days later I booked us into the cheapest hotel on the island for a whirlwind four-day elopement adventure. I could have wallowed for weeks about my ruined Christmas and my ruined wedding and done nothing, but instead I got over it and did something. We ended up having an amazing trip and a beautiful wedding, and the postponement gave me the opportunity to go to the gym six days a week for three months and get into the best shape of my life, get my dream dress and shoes in time, and secretly book us a suite at the gorgeous (and expensive!) Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea for our wedding night, none of which would have happened if we’d gone when we’d originally planned.
3. Don’t let other dictate what you can and can’t do.
For some reason, people seem to think that because I’m a woman, I can’t do certain things. A couple years ago I had the idea to put in a little brick mini-patio beside my stairs. I had to cut some of the bricks to make them fit, so I got a big chisel and a hammer and went at it. First though, I had to hear all about how you can’t cut bricks with a chisel and I’d have to rent a special saw, and then when I was actually out doing it, all my neighbors asked me “Why isn’t your boyfriend doing this for you?” Oh right, because he’s a man. Other things I’ve wanted to do that people have told me I couldn’t have been: mount a flat screen tv on the wall (done, with some tv-lifting assistance), mount two big, heavy bookshelves up on the wall (done by myself), stain a table (done mostly by myself), and change out light fixtures (done 4 times, 3 by myself). Now when people try and naysay at me I just brush them off because I know myself and I know I can do anything.
4. Don’t spread negativity.
Quick- check your facebook or twitter feed. How many posts can you see where people are complaining about their day? And how many of those people complain about their day every day? With the same complaints every day? Are you one of those people? I used to be- I would only update my twitter when I was really angry or upset, but then I thought to myself “Is this really the public face I want to present to the whole internet? ‘My life is terrible, everything in it is terrible and I just complain complain complain?'” Admittedly I do still post angry and whiny tweets, but I try not to do it so often. On facebook I recently decided to just post non-specific compliments for status updates (You’re so funny! You look great today! You have the best ideas!) and I think people are mostly confused but who knows, maybe someone on my friends list will read it and think “huh, I do look great today.”
Obviously it isn’t possible to be cheerful all the time, and “If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn’t be a human being. You’d be a game-show host.” (Heathers). Still, I keep trying to stay posi and it must be working, because I keep getting happier!