being positive when times get tough

The Beginning is near #occupy #m1gs

The Beginning is near #occupy #m1gs (Photo credit: pieceoplastic)


With the Hollywood/Walking Dead version of the Mayan apocalypse giving way to being a complete bust, I found this Facebook/Pinterest meme that was rather appropriate for the occasion.

As a people, we are fond of catastrophic endings. Immersing ourselves in the wreckage of aftermaths. It’s the rare person who immediately upon the heels of an upending situation ponders the possibility of a future that doesn’t dwell on all the stereotypical gloom and self-defeatist propaganda.

And I am not thinking about the Oprah-esque self-help faux bootstrapy cheer, but of considering the very real fact that nothing starts anew, generally, unless something else is over.

It’s naive to believe that little has changed in the last five or six years and that a return to the status quo of a decade or some ago is just around the next corner. The world became a different place one bad decision and several startling events at a time since the century turned over nearly 12 years ago.

Although it’s unfortunate that many of us are still stranded in outmoded ways of thinking about the basics of daily living, it doesn’t mean that time is patiently waiting for clues to be caught.

A new beginning is nigh. I have felt it coming for a long while now. Whether it is a good or a bad thing will be in the eye of the particular beholder, whose choice will be – as it always – to reach for the future with empty hands or to make half-assed attempts to hold onto past crap while scrambling to grab onto what is ahead.

I ran across a blog post of a woman questioning the feasibility of a positive outlook while going through hard or tragic times.

We are often sold a load of newborn diaper doo when it comes to attitude and reality and how one affects the other. The whole Oprah induced “secret” frenzy set the lucky ducks to head nodding like bobble heads in the rear window of a Pinto and made everyone else feel like a colossal failure at best and cursed by the gods at worst.

There is no reason NOT to attempt a positive outlook in the face of disasters, but reality is reality. Sometimes it will bite your head off if you let your vision cloud over in rosy hues.

A positive attitude can concede points to a dismal reality and still be a useful, worthwhile exercise that will certainly take a person farther than pessimism, anger, blame, defeatism and any other favorite shoulder shrugging, curling into a fetal position posture a person might favor in bleak times.

I went with positive in my own situation with the whole dying husband thing. He’d lost his job due to his illness right before we moved into a larger home with its bigger matching mortgage. I made up my mind early that coming out on the other side and being happy (that being relative) was where I had to focus, or I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed every morning.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t complain or despair or stomp my feet. I would sometimes no sooner solve a dilemma – like needing a daycare for my blind, demented 29-year-old husband – when I was confronted with another problem, but I took things as they came, played it where it laid and tried to focus on the long-term whenever I could. It’s not a perfect plan and I employed it imperfectly just as often as I hit the ball out of the park.

What I think is meant by maintaining a positive outlook during hard times is to just try to balance one’s outlook to mostly err on the side of “everything’s eventually going to be okay”. It does not mean ignoring issues or denying that sometimes it’s hard to be upbeat when the world is raining steadily on your parade while everyone around you seems to be walking on sunshine while draped in rainbows. Being sad, upset, and angry happens. It’s better to admit to and feel these things than stuff them away because they won’t stay where they are stuffed no matter how clever a packer you are. But it does no good to wallow in the negative and allow setbacks and tragedy to define your life or person.

Can you be positive in hard times?

Yes, you can within moderation but isn’t that true of all things?