I made an interesting discovery that positive needs just as much attention.
Yes, life is a mixture of ups and downs, of valleys and high tops, of good time and hard times. Every day, we experience the undulation of these moments, but hardly do we pay attention to the patterns that form as we go through them.
Why do we hurry through the highs? Why are we less deliberate in the good times? Why do we slow down and take more time in the lows? Why are we more conscious of the hard times than we are of moments of high spirits? Why are there more books written on how to navigate times of adversity than there are on how to make the most of good times? Why does the happily-ever-after scenes take lesser proportion of the duration of a movie? Why are there no support groups for people experiencing positive moments?
You get the idea, right?
More time, effort and resources have been committed to helping people through difficult times. And rightly so. After all, we need the support when things get tough. We all need tips on how to get through and over the lows. We all need the recipe for making lemonade from the lemons life throws at us. However, what these translates to is that we give more attention to the lows and the more attention we give to it, the more involved and aware we are of those moments. We become so familiar with the lows that we expect and anticipate them, even during moments of happiness! Rather than bask in the positivity, we are quickly reminded to set a mechanism in place to help us cope with anticipated negativity. It is a survival instinct and it makes us incapable of actually living.
I have become aware of this tendency and I am deliberate about breaking that pattern.
When something good happens, I slow down to take it all in, refusing to allow any bit of that moment pass without my deliberate experience of it. I take in the scent in the air, the sounds, every word, and every feeling. I remember to smile broadly, I let myself laugh heartily. I share the moment with anyone who wouldn’t mind. I hold on for as long as I can and squeeze out every single drop of positivity in it. And when the moment is passed, I tuck it safely in memory taking the positivity with me. This positivity becomes my perfume, to keep sweetness all around me.
And when something disappointing happens, I do not allow myself to wallow in it. I think about a solution, a somewhat positive response to counter the disappointment. If I find one, I celebrate the solution so much so, it soaks up the negative feeling. If I find none, I move on, reminding myself of that Alcohol Anonymous prayer about accepting the things I cannot change. I take in deep breaths, and with the following exhalations, I let the negative feeling go. Then I reach for a good memory, and with it the good feeling that came with it. I celebrate that positivity and then I keep going, excited about the next encounter.
This hasn’t been an easy habit for form. I have had to fight both internal and external distractions and swimming against the tide has been tedious. But I am learning, and the experience has been rewarding so far. I am happier and more ‘present’ in my relationships. The air is cleaner. I feel more in control of my life than I have felt in a very long time.