Daily Affirmations

I saw on Facebook the other day that someone posted a “daily affirmation,” which stated (more or less) that if you let go of negativity and think positively, everything will work out.

I started thinking about this and wondered, is it really that everything works out, or is that being positive forces you to look at an event or the results of an event in a positive way and, therefore, it looks like it worked out, regardless of what actually happened? I suppose that either way, you end up in a good place.

This is one of those “woo woo” questions that there’s really no answer for. But just for shits and giggles, let’s set up a scenario. 

Let’s say you wrote a novel and it got trashed in a review, which prevented you from getting it mentioned in an article that you knew (based on certain facts and statistics) would have led to lots of sales and you were really bummed about it because you were planning on using your profits to help you transition into full-time writing. But your fans rallied around you and talked all over the internet about what a wonderful writer you are and that led to some sales, but nothing like you would have gotten from the publicity from the article. Still, it boosted your morale and prompted you to write more stuff, which led to more sales, but you have to keep your full-time job.

So, in that scenario, did things work out? I mean really work out? Or is it that a “positive person” would see the good things that came out of the situation and would choose to recognize only those? After all, the writer’s plans to quit her job and write full time got dashed, so it didn’t really work out, did it?

In case you haven’t figured it out, this whole positive thinking thing is fairly new to me, introduced to me only a few short years ago. I grew up in a negative environment, borne of hard-lived lives and post-WWII survival attitudes. Where my family was concerned, positive thinking was okay in your spare time, but in everyday life, you had to face realities. And that’s how I shaped up—as a realist. The term itself doesn’t seem inherently anti-positive, but if you think about what it means to be a realist, how you need to look at life as a realist, positivity is the opposite.

Then again, a positive person might argue that point with me and say that you can be “real” and make realistic decision, while still believing that the best results will occur.

My point is that my newfound quest for positivity is truly being tested. I’m not sure I’m going to pass the test, but the important thing is the journey, not the destination.

There, wasn’t that a positive thought?

But if the destination is positivity and it is not reached, then was the journey a success anyway?

Ah, all things to think about. If it doesn’t hurt your brain too much.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving and I won’t be posting. I hope you all have a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving, a day for positive affirmations.

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14 thoughts on “Daily Affirmations

  1. I try to stay positive and usually manage to convince myself over the longer term that everything works out for the best… Otherwise I would wallow in miserableness… If that is a place or even a word!! I once worked with a woman who was very negative and it did get everyone down… So one Christmas I gave her a book on positive thinking. She opened it, smiled at me and said “that’s all very well Anne but it’s a waste of money if it doesn’t work”…. I rest my case…. Keep smiling!

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  2. Great post! I’m similar to you in the way I view things, but definitely know through experience that focusing on the good is much better. THe situation is still the same, but I’ve learned that changing how I look at it makes a huge difference. Not always able to put it into practice though….!

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  3. There’s a scene in “Dead Poets Society” where Robin Williams (RIP) gets up on the desk in front of the class and asks why he’s standing on his desk. One student says, “To feel taller” and Williams says “No,” and dings the bell on his desk with his foot and says, “Thank you for playing, Mr. Dalton.” Class laughs. Then Williams says, “I stand on my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. See, the world looks very different from up here. You don’t believe me? Come see for yourselves. Come on.” And he brings the class one by one to come and stand on his desk and look around.

    Point being? Yes. We must indeed constantly look at things in different ways. Will it make things happy happy joy joy all the time? Probably not. But it will open you to possibility and help you find silver linings and new directions, inspire your curiosity and help you find some seeds of fun and good times in most days. It takes work to develop new perspectives. But it’s worth it. 😀

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  4. I think that the “daily affirmation” that everything will “work out okay” or, as it is sometimes stated, that “you will get what you want,” are misstated or over-promised. It might be better to say, and think, if I look at this situation positively, that is, if I look for the good, the benefit, the ”bright side” of this, then I help myself “where I am,” I help myself deal with the situation in constructive ways. That, it seems to me, is how it “works out okay.” It certainly isn’t that you got what, in the beginning, you wanted.

    As is perhaps evident simply by writing this response, I have struggled with this idea and with criticism that I was too negative about a situation or result. But this is all loaded with feelings, emotions, with wishes and dreams, with expectations and disappointments, and it is tremendously hard (impossible?) to find an “objective” reality. Each person colors the view with their veil of emotions and attitudes.

    In the scenario you give, the expected result – “that you knew (based on certain facts and statistics) would have led to lots of sales – isn’t really a “known.” At best, it is one’s estimate, one’s analysis of the future, which any number of unaccounted for events may have changed what unfolded IF that other reality had happened. It didn’t so it cannot be ‘known.”

    How does one bend external events to one’s own will? Or CAN one bend external events to one’s own will? Heavy stuff; no answers.

    As a practical matter, is it possible to unload some of the emotion and assess the “trashed” review? Is there even a kernel of “truth” in that criticism that one may use the next time? Or what has the reviewer misunderstood that could be clarified to prevent a recurrence? It is possible (she says from painful experience) to cling tightly to an emotion-laden view of a circumstance and miss seeing the key that might unlock a different ending in a similar situation in the future.

    I have envied people who have a positive attitude, and have thought that they were somehow lucky … but, in fact, their luckiness might be just a hard-won victory over their own emotions. I think few of us are raised in environments that give us the tools we need to build the future we want. I is a challenge of self-awareness and of self-analysis to shape those tools for ourselves.

    Any resonance with this?

    At any rate, all the best on your journey!
    Lynn

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    1. Oh, I totally hear you, Lynn. Emotions are notorious hijackers of our brains and it’s that struggle to separate our rational thoughts from our feelings. Those who are successful at doing that are lucky, indeed. The first step is to be aware of your feelings.

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      1. R.G.,

        Yes, to see, to understand, “separately,” and, yet, because we are one being, to allow ourselves to remain “whole,” embracing all of our disparities.

        Taken out of context, I have always liked this line from Toward the Solstice, 1977, by Adrienne [amazing woman!] Rich:

        “I am trying to hold in one steady glance all the parts of my life”

        On another note I have sought a “blog” or some such vehicle to “listen” and to take part in discussions just such as this … I had signed up for this blog expecting that there would be more discussion, more “engagement” than there seems to be. But, having been a follower here for some months, it seems as though you (the writers of Women and Words”) are incredibly busy (mostly young?) women and that may explain the “shorter than expected” discussions. And, then again, maybe I am looking for something that isn’t “out there!”

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  5. I do know that people who are always trying to be “realist” come off as negative, and negative people are people whom I don’t want to spend time around. Furthermore, their view of “real” doesn’t usually coincide with my view.

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    1. On the other side, I don’t want to spend my days around Debbie Sunshine, either. I like people who can grouse a bit, then look at a possibly bad situation and see what good they can pull from it, or what lessons they can learn. I think Lynn said this better. But then, she’s the writer. 🙂

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  6. Hi, Lynn–Andi Marquette here, co-admin of Women and Words.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “more engagement.” After all, this is a blog and readers are free to comment or not as they are so moved. Writers of blogs are also free to further comment or not. We here at Women and Words cannot predict what will move people to engage in discussion nor do we feel it is our place as blog administrators to attempt to force people to engage in discussion. We post content, and leave the content for readers and writers to discuss or not. Writers may engage in further discussion as they feel, just as readers can engage or not as they feel. Even if a writer were to post (as happens), “what do YOU think?” there’s simply no guarantee that anybody will respond to the question.

    There is also an array of lesfic writers. The general demographic for lesfic writers is in their 30s and up. Yes, there are younger writers, but age has nothing to do with how busy someone is. Everybody’s busy, after all, and again, we here at Women and Words can’t predict whether a topic makes people want to engage or not.

    What exactly are you looking for? Because if you’re wanting more immediate discussion venues, a forum platform may better suit your needs. To that end, perhaps the following links to lesfic forums will provide what you’re looking for:

    http://www.melswebs.com/storyboards/index.php
    http://lesbianfiction.org

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