To me, wellness encompasses much more than nutrition, fitness and self-care. If I have learned one important thing in this life, it is that attitude is everything. Well, it’s a lot.
When my dear Uncle Dudley was diagnosed with cancer years ago, his immediate and awesome reaction was “well, we’re gonna beat this $#!*. and he did, for quite a long time. Watching my own dad joke and smile his way through horrifically intense chemo and radiation has both melted and strengthened my heart and resolve.
Having to endure and care for a negative person while simultaneously caring for Dad? Almost did me in.
Staggering stress – dropping this person off at the hospital entrance (where we were visiting my dad), then driving up to the top of the parking garage and hysterically crying, just from the stress this person caused me (screaming, slamming the door in my face, ugliness to the highest degree).
I cried for… two, three minutes? It was therapeutic. Then I was done. A light bulb switched on – I was here for one thing, to take care of Dad. This cannot interfere, I will not let it get to me. So I chose the path of Kill Them With Kindness (um, not literally) and suddenly none of that mattered. This person no longer had an effect on me.
Before you eye roll and think I am smiley happy positive all the time, please let me tell you I am not – that is incredibly unrealistic and vanilla. Feelings are meant to be felt, selfish drivers are there to shake your fist at, the roller coaster of emotions are what make us appreciate the good stuff.
…but I do try to choose the positive thoughts, the optimistic view. I also realize these kind of broad statements are very general, and I am not referring to those who suffer from some very real depression. We should hold everyone in compassion and empathy – that old saying of You Don’t Know What Someone Else Is Dealing With? So very true.
I have a wise friend who gave me permission to share our recent conversation, inspired by the image above about the Cherokee:
Friend: I’m not immune from all of those first things all the time, but I’d much rather feel the latter each day. I always visualize the folks who thrive on the anger, negativity, etc. having epiphanies at some point in their lives, like Scrooge (all the movie Scrooges flash through my head–Alistair Sims, George C. Scott, Bill Murray, etc.). I play it out in my head and then let it go for a while. It doesn’t solve the problem, but I like having hope that they will see the joy of living with kindness, empathy, etc.
me: …and those are the people I mean… it is human to feel those first feelings, it’s how long you let them simmer, right? I have experienced Real Life Scrooges, who very much DO thrive on negativity and being a victim. I feel sorry for those kind of people, and when I can distance myself, I do – that kind of energy is like a cancer. It is unrealistic to say you are always going to be positive and happy, but you can certainly choose it!
Friend: I know what you are saying, too. Sometimes those folks really get me down and I try to remove myself from them as much as possible, but sometimes we have to interact with them. I find that I get so frustrated with some of them that I want to rant and rave about them, but I try not to because it doesn’t help. It only seems to bring me down and attract more of the same negativity. And I want to note that I am not talking about folks who have serious health concerns, depression, etc. and I’m sure you aren’t either. While some do have serious issues and still can manage to be upbeat and happy; others can’t necessarily do that. Not everything can be dressed up and, again, I’m pretty sure you agree with that and weren’t gearing this discussion towards them. But I want to say that because I know some of my friends/readers get aggravated (to say the least) with all the positivity quotes and guidance to choose happiness, choose joy, etc. and I understand where they are coming from, too.
me: oh, absolutely ( you DO know me!) It’s funny, with those “choose happiness” quotes, I too am irritated by them at times – only when it comes from a place of true understanding is when I am able to appreciate them. Having a good attitude goes a long way, and is REALLY beneficial when there is illness involved – and then there is depression like you address, and I cannot even begin to understand it and respect that it is a completely different thing entirely – and mean no disrespect when I say “you can choose to be positive”. That is a broad, vague statement referring to general outlook. In addition to being positive as much as possible, we also need to be nurturing to those who are hurting and suffering.
Friend: So very true on all that you have said! So often I share such quotes on FB and elsewhere because ***I*** need inspiration and encouragement. Honestly–and hopefully–I think that most (many?) who share positive quotes and have issues with Real Life Scrooges are very nurturing to those in their lives who are hurting and suffering. I think we just have issues with the folks who whine, bitch, and moan unnecessarily (that covers a lot of the Scrooges) or step on others or do the other sad things stated in that parable. I believe that karma and Law of Attraction come into play for all those folks, just as it does for those who try to stay positive, count their blessings, etc. xo
Like I said, this friend of mine is wise.
I found this little lovely at Christina’s:
This I hope I can always do.