Focusing on the Positive

I often hear it spoken out loud, online or during visiting times. “I am focusing on the positive.” or “Keeping my focus on what is good right now.”

Other times I hear “I don’t want to speak of the bad.” “I would rather not bring you down. Let’s talk about puppies!”

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We praise people when they post topics on FB that are things they are happy about. We all quirt our eyebrows when someone posts something that is TMI.

My question would be, when is it right to not be positive? Is there a time when focusing only on the positive can actually be wrong?

I believe so.

We all have issues in our lives. Every single one of us can have major issues in our lives, and if you do not, it is likely coming one of these days.

Our lives are spun on the wheel of humans. Human beings, since they are flawed cause a lot of issues by just being themselves. However, there are times when we are exposed to more than our fair share of trials. In these cases, often I have seen some people keep silent. The silent sufferers are generally the ones that have the mental breakdowns, fall into severe depression or end up with health issues. I am not a medical doctor, but I believe that is because when we internalize our pain, it manifests often physically.

This does not mean shouting out our issues on FB, blogs, or other public media sources. It can mean talking to a trust friend, relative or even a trained professional. There is not a shame in this. There is often more shame when something comes out later. Friends, relatives or co-workers that say “But she always seemed like she had it all together. I never knew she was so down or she needed help. I wish she would have just asked.”

Our lives can be convoluted. We all have past struggles, present struggles and sometimes they can be so layered and complicated, it seems easier to forget them. However, the thing to remember is that we are not alone. We should walk through life with a support by our side. Women need friends. For some of us, that can be an online support system. I would encourage you to look in your local areas for a support system you can build around you. It can be tough to do this.

I was the picture of an introvert. I didn’t mind being at home, alone at a park, eating alone… I had it down.

But, suddenly realizing that you were parenting four sons, alone, a husband with severe health issues that may never be able to come home again, was enough to send me into a depressive state. I realized I needed to change my personality. I did need others, even if I believed I could live without them.

I tried to be positive with my support system. I didn’t want them to know anything that was going on in my life. I remember while volunteering at a MOPS meeting, one of my boys dropped the info that my husband was in the hospital. I was so embarrassed. You see, my husband was in a mental hospital and no one knows what to do with that. Their kindness surprised me. They didn’t know what to say, but they tried. It spoke to me.

Sometimes being positive can be pretending. It can be protecting yourself from criticism, but also keeping yourself from a lot of blessings. I have learned to be more open about some of the hard things. I don’t share because it is a lot of fun to share. But I share because I have found often the last person I assumed often needed to hear it. They were someone I needed to let them know I could relate.

Be discreet. Don’t over-share. But give yourself over to watching and listening to others. Remember before you judge someone that shares on FB or other places for being “negative”, think of the pain that must have caused that post. It is likely worse than they shared. Instead of writing private messages letting them know how they could fix the problem, give them a cyber hug. If you know them in person, let them know in person. Drop some chocolate in the mail to them.

Let them know that despite their struggles, there is someone who cares, even if you don’t understand completely.

Remember sometimes positive can be negative.

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