This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but with nothing but 100+ degree days on the forecast as far as the eye can see, we all just need something cool to look at.
Confession. I am a pessimist. I can spot the negative potential in any situation faster than you can blink. No matter what happens, my brain immediately starts processing the worst case scenario and it’s completely involuntary. I have to work, and work hard, to have a positive attitude about a lot of things. But I am working at it, and that’s a step in the right direction.
This blog has been a great exercise in positive thinking for me. If I wrote all the negative things going through my head at any given moment, this wouldn’t be a place where people like to read. I knew from the beginning that I had to look for the positive side of things if I wanted to write and keep my readers coming back. So far, just forcing myself to do that has had a tremendous impact on my attitude as a whole. Proof positive that you, and only you, have control over whether you choose to be happy or crappy, for lack of a better word.
I have been fairly successful, up to this point, at keeping things positive here at shenanyagans. But it’s summer break. My kids are sleeping in every day, waking up happy, and getting banished to the back yard when they start trying to kill each other. We eat when we want, spend our evenings however we choose, and if we want to go shopping at 11am on a Tuesday morning we are free to do so. For the time being, my surroundings make it easy for me to be happy and stay positive.
My worry is how I will be able to keep it up after the boys go back to school. Last year was miserable. I don’t need to go into details, but I have never been so excited to see a school year end. Things happened, I grew more and more frustrated with people who had the authority to make it better but were too indifferent, or lazy, or whatever, to do anything about it. The biases in a small town are infuriating, and it doesn’t take you long to figure out that if the kids who bully your child are from the “right” families, they’ll get away with it every.single.time.
But I digress.
My point is, the longer I had to deal with the whole situation, the worse my attitude got. By the end of the year, I was so angry that I couldn’t dig deep enough to find a positive thought anywhere in my head and it consumed me. Now, with school just a month away, I am literally starting to have nightmares about it. Just looking at a list of school supplies causes anxiety for me, and I can’t even let myself think about the first day of school. I don’t want it to consume me this time. It’s a dark and miserable way to spend 9 months out of the year.
I know I’m not alone. While yours probably isn’t frustration with a school, it may be a stressful job, a group of condescending people at church, your so-called friends that constantly leave you out of their plans, or that family member that insists on calling to remind you how much better they are than you. It could be just about anything, but we all have our triggers that send us straight into negative thoughts and an overall bad attitude.
The key is how we choose to handle it. And it really is as simple as that. A choice. In my case, this year, with new administration at the school, I am choosing to be optimistic that things will be handled differently, and in the event that they are not, I have done my research and am confident that homeschooling is a viable option for us in the years to come. I won’t allow my children to be treated poorly, and I won’t allow myself to feel trapped in a situation that is no longer healthy for me or my kids. But first, I’m going into this new year with open eyes, looking for positive change, and it’s already improving my attitude.
So take control of those triggers that send you spinning into anxiety and darkness. Choose to look for the positive in every situation, even when it isn’t obvious, and decide when the negatives are worth fighting through and when it’s time to form your plan of escape. You’re attitude will get an instant facelift, and everyone around you will thank you for it.
I grew up negative. I know because my mother was constantly nagging me to quit being so negative. Then I married an optimist. It worked for a while and then some things happened and his dream job (farming) got ripped away and he turned into a pessimist. At that point, I found myself forced into the role of optimist and it stuck. I still have my pessimistic moments, but overall I am still pretty optimistic. I still have my triggers. Your comment about friends really hit home. My husband and I have discussed many times why we don’t have many friends. I’m just happy we have each other. But I think you are right. Happiness and optimism are a choice you make everyday. You can choose to let bad things and mean people make you unhappy or you can step up and make the choice to change the circumstances and be happy. I think you are making the right choices!
My husband and I have that “friends” conversation pretty regularly! Glad we’re not alone. 😉