Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Is it Realistic to Always Be Positive?

I was asked this week about Project Positivity:
Is it realistic to always be positive?
Wouldn't that be totally fake?

Yes, it would be. I spent a lot of my life feeling like I had to put on my happy face and pretend like I was great and fine and peachy. I grew up under the roof of "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Project Positivity is not about pretending everything is peachy and wonderful when it isn't. It is about acknowledging BOTH the good and the bad. It is about increasing your capacity to FEEL. Check it out:

At this point in my life, I do usually find myself in a "glass half full" kind of mindset, and I've been admired for my positive, upbeat attitude most of my life. But when that's not a genuine expression of how I was actually feeling inside, it was completely draining. My inner cynic just LOVED to feed on that. "Yeah, sure, everything's just GRAND. If they only knew what it's like when you're home alone at night stuffing yourself with almond butter." The happy mask would bring me further down.

Notice, though, that when we allow ourselves to get present and put our "gratitude goggles", we can see different aspects of our life. We can genuinely tune into and experience good feelings, even as we acknowledge that no, everything is not perfect or ideal or going how I want it to.

Here's how I allow myself to FEEL more. I ask myself:
1. How am I feeling right now?
2. How do I want to feel?

These are simple questions, but powerful. The first helps you to get present to how you are feeling right here right now. If we don't allow ourselves to feel the emotions and feelings inside of us, they give us tension headaches and stiff necks. The second question is about taking responsibilty for how you feel - responding to where you are in a proactive way.

This is one of the most powerful tools I've come across for getting me focused in the direction I want to go. I want to acknowledge when I'm feeling funky and uninspired. But do I want to wallow in it? No, I want to feel free and unburdened and exicted! Then I go and find something that creates or ignites that feeling within me.

If you liked this post and found it intriguing, THIS is what you'll be getting more of in Project Positivity! It is essentially a guided photography gratitude practice.

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