Can You Always Be Positive?

True happiness isn’t forever, it might not even be for a while. It is found in the moments we least expect it, and sometimes hidden in the times we need it most. Happiness is fleeting.

When I say that happiness doesn’t last forever, I don’t mean that in a such a cynical way. I say that happiness is fleeting because the truth is, life happens and we don’t ever get to choose when. Mistakes are made, things are lost, and bonds are broken. And with these losses, there goes our expectation of infinite happiness right down the gutter.

Many of us feel unsatisfied with our current state of life because our expectations of happiness don’t coincide with reality. Our ideas of what real success and happiness look like are corrupted by social media and the fabrications we’re exposed to every day. We are lead to believe that happiness is perfection, and we convince ourselves that once we are finally happy that it will last forever.

This faulty perception of happiness only gets worse when we begin browsing through social media. I consistently come across a sea of lifestyle posts and ‘hacks’ on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram that I can’t take seriously. These influencers tell us that if we drink more water and get some sunlight each day, then we’ll grow into the person we want to be as if we are mere plants rather than complex, unique human beings. If it were as easy as drinking water and getting sunlight, then we would achieve perfect physical and mental health. For someone who has dealt with anxiety that interferes with everyday life, I understand that there’s a lot more to overcoming the downs of life than that and I’m sure almost everyone can agree.

The thing is, of course platforms like Instagram are going to be filled with picture perfect profiles. We all want the world to see the best version of our lives- even when it isn’t truthful. I can relate with the desire to create a positive image, and I do believe that platforms such as Instagram can be beneficial in that sense. When people land on my profile I want them to see the best version of myself.

The issue I have with this is the negative effect it has on all of us to be mislead by these perfect profiles, particularly the younger generations who are so invested in social media. When we scroll through all of these images, we’re seeing people living in a dream like state. These perfectly crafted profiles make us feel as though we’re missing out on the joy that all of these people we follow are experiencing, or seem to be experiencing.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people comparing themselves to popular influencers that promote this image, or commenting along the lines of “I wish I was you!”

So there we go again, reaching for something out there, for that pure joy we see on social media.

But it’s not real.

We can convince ourselves that we can control our lives the way that we control our social media profiles, picking and choosing which moments we want to live out.  

But again, that’s not possible. If that was the case, then we’d all be manic.

In real life we live out the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the sunshine and the rain. We don’t get to slap a sunset filter over it and say that we had a perfect day. Sometimes things just don’t go the way we want it to, and that’s okay. That’s life. And the sooner we begin embracing the unexpected rather than running away from it, the closer we are to real happiness.

I came across this quote while watching Euphoria the other day that perfectly sums up my point.

“I had a therapist once who said that these states will wax and wane.

Which gave my mother relief, because it meant that in the bad times, there would be good times.

But it also gave her anxiety because it meant that in the good times, there would be bad times.”

Although simple, this episode does an excellent job of explaining how clinical depression works for most individuals. Not only does this episode accurately portray how it feels to live with depression and anxiety, but it holds true to the nature of life for all of us.

It can be somewhat frightening to realize that we don’t always know when the next low point will be for us. But if everything always went the way we want it too, we simply wouldn’t be alive. Think of it as the ups and downs on a heart monitor. If you see a straight line, there’s no pulse. If you see it consistently going up, well, that’s not exactly healthy either.

So at this point you might be asking yourself, what’s the point? 

Why am I writing this? As I began to write this post I didn’t know exactly what direction I was headed, I just wanted to remain honest above anything else. Even though I try to keep my writing on the positive side, it’s not always so easy. If I only covered the positive topics then I would be missing out on exploring so many other subjects surrounding mental health that other people can relate to.

So back to the question I set out to answer, it’s a little complicated. While I don’t believe there is a way to always be positive, I do feel that it’s important to always hold on to the hope that things will get better.

If I could give anyone advice on how to be a more positive person, it’s to accept that you don’t always know what tomorrow will bring, but hold on to the hope that the hard times will pass and you will find yourself living out those happy moments again. Don’t let that fill you with fear, let it fill you with excitement.

Instead of viewing happiness as perfection, instead of trying to keep it forever, view it as moments. It’s true that happiness is fleeting; like every other emotion it comes and goes. Happiness is found in moments that turn into memories we can cherish.

So stop chasing perfection and start chasing those moments. It’s that rush you feel when you catch the perfect wave, or that moment when you break through the surface of the water after taking a daring leap. It’s the sense of pride you have when you can finally feel your diploma in your hands and the warmth that radiates from those who supported you along the way. It’s in those moments when you find yourself laughing until your chest aches, or that joy you feel when you reconnect with a friend for the first time in what felt like forever.

Even on your absolute worst days, happiness is there, in that smile that illuminates someone’s face when you do something kind. Happiness is everywhere, even in the bad, if you would just open your mind to it. 

It’s like catching a firefly in your hands, even in the darkest nights. There will be times where the nights feel dark and you think the light has ran out, but it is still there, waiting to land in the palms of your hands again. And those moments, like fireflies, will come back to you when you least expect it.

Don’t Be a Negative Nelly

My brain is always moving quickly–thinking, planning, reminiscing, dreaming, creating and is actively working. It doesn’t shut down much. It has always been like this and it always will. That is a part of who I am.

Sometimes my thoughts are happy and pleasant and other times they are negative, intrusive and alarming. When negative words and ideas start filling my mind, it is easy for me to become those words. I become angry, hateful and self-defeating or whatever the recording is playing inside my mind. Whatever it is I become it.

“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.”

For example, before going into work sometimes my brain repeatedly says, “I don’t want to work today. I don’t want to work. I hate working. I hate work. I hate this job. I want to stay home. This job sucks. I hate that I have to work. Hate. Hate. Hate.” I become my words and I begin to hate. Even after reading my comments, didn’t you start to hate my job too? 🙂

The more I flood my mind with angry words the more I become angry and unhappy. This is not how I want to feel and no way to begin my long eight and half hour work day. I will become an ugly reflection of my negative thoughts and will begin to feel the meaning behind those words. It will become more work to hide the negativity inside my mind.

After the negative words seemingly flow from my subconscious and echo inside my mind for a few minutes…

I slam on my thought breaks and screech my negative hateful words to a halt.

That’s it. No more. I must stop this negative thought process. My mom used to say, “Don’t be a negative Nelly.” Go from a negative Nelly to a positive Polly.

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Even though I don’t feel happy or positive at the moment, I start repeating positive comments to myself. It can’t hurt. It is better than feeling angry and negative. Plus, it can be a distraction technique. So, I say things like, “I love my job. I am happy to be going to work. I’m a good person. I will share my love with others. I will let Jesus’ love shine through me. I am happy to be alive. I will be a blessing to others. I need to let God’s love shine me and touch others. Please God, let your love shine brightly through me.”

As I walk into the building, I think, “I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my  job….” I continue to think happy thoughts until I encounter other people. Hopefully, my positiveness will stay inside me and reflect out of me and carry me strongly through my day.

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I am super sensitive to EVERYTHING–people’s verbal and non-verbal language shouts at me sometimes. I must learn to not listen to it and brush it off. I cannot let it consume me or become me.  This is difficult and is a continuous work in progress. It has helped me so much by getting rid of the negative things in my life and by that I mean people. If people brought me down and interfered with my recovery, I kept them out of my life. It was necessary and beneficial for my continued mental wellness.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~Mark Twain

I realize positive thoughts do not stop depression, but I have learned after years of living a mental illness life that I must keep a positive dialogue playing inside my mind as often as possible. This is a great coping technique that has worked tremendously for me.

Please give it a try. When negative thoughts fill your mind, say something positive over and over and see what happens. It doesn’t make things end like depression and of course it isn’t a cure for what is ailing you but it sure can help improve whatever state your mind is in. Just give it a try. It helps me stay afloat and combat the demons sometimes, and by demons I mean negativity, intrusive thoughts, past abuse, belittling, shame, hurtful labels and any negativity trying to move into your beautiful mind.

Don’t let negativity overstay its welcome. Negative words don’t pay rent and I guarantee there is nothing gained from the negative words or thoughts so kick out negativity before it becomes a tenant inside your mind. Stay free and clear from any unwanted negative guests inside your own mind and also in your life.

Positivity breeds more positiveness

and the birth of peaceful harmonious joy.

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© 2019 Susan Walz | myloudwhispersofhope.com | All Rights Reserved

Don’t Wait. Live Now.

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There is no question that life can throw some serious unexpected curve balls, sometimes at your face, that make you truly think about everything that deeply matters to you. Its times like these that have the potential to shatter your plan and make you take a good hard look at your life in a way you never imagined you would have to.

You know the moments, the ones that scare you, humble you and have you bracing for the next pitch. They take your breath away and have your mind racing at a speed that makes your head spin.

Ironically, its in these moments when we feel it’s time to profess our feelings, plan that trip, chase our dream or take that leap of faith we’ve been mulling over for longer than we can remember.

I’ve sat in those moments, one just recently, and I’ve had those thoughts and contemplated my life and all that it has been and all that it could be. My biggest take away from it, was why do we wait until these moments to choose to be the person we long to be?

We can overthink, overanalyze, over dramatize and pretend like we have forever and a day to do or say what’s in our heart, but the truth is, we have these moments, right now, Why wait?

Don’t wait to tell those you love what they mean to you, don’t wait to take that trip with your kids, or follow that dream you’ve carried with you since the first grade. Don’t wait to hit the road for your next adventure, or write that book or screenplay, or go back to school, open a business or learn to sail.

Don’t wait, do it now. We are not promised tomorrow and there is no room for regret. Say I love you, plan the vacation, step out of your bubble, and make that dream a reality. Now.

You have the choice to live this life while you live this life. Don’t wait for the curve ball, live it now and laugh til your stomach hurts, dance til the music stops, sing so the world can hear you and live every second you have – because you can.

Don’t wait to love the beautiful, exciting, incredible life you are meant to live. Live now, live every moment you have, and live it with love in your heart, grace in your step and fire in your soul.

Much Love,

Lisa J.