I am reading the book Positivity by Barbara L. Fredrickson, it was given to me by my Nutrition Coach Eileen Vollmer. Eileen and I were discussing how some people seem to be hard-wired to be optimists or pessimists, and to waiver from that hard wiring really takes an effort.
In the book Dr. Fredrickson is not advocating that we all go around being foolishly or blindly optimistic. As a matter of fact she states in her book ……”we all have universal disdain for the name Pollyanna. She’s the one with a plastered smile on her face who conveys nonstop joy. You want to shake her and say “Get real!”….I thought yes I think a positive point of view is marvelous but we have to stay connected to reality too. Which is why I appreciate the message of this book, that life is the real deal, and that means we will experience gut wrenching disappointment and negative emotions. However, the key, according to Dr. Fredrickson, is for every negative emotion we experience try to experience at least three positive encounters. She also stressed that these positive encounters must be authentic and heartfelt positive emotions. She said by design we humans are “exquisite insincerity detectors,” that’s a polite way of say bullshit detectors, so if your positive words are not sincere this approach will not work.
I tried her approach recently, it just so happened while I was reading her book, I had a pretty negative experience, I was very upset and it started to taint everything I was doing that day. I stopped for a moment and had a talk with myself, which I do more and more these days, I am not sure if that is a sign of enlightenment or insanity, but nonetheless it’s what I do. I told myself ok you need at least 3 heartfelt positive experiences. As I went through my day I was very aware of three opportunities to give three people sincere expressions of love and support. As I progressed through each one the negativity melted away like stepping into a shower and watching the water wash the grime off my skin and down the drain. It was a pretty profound experience to see her theory in action.
During this same time I received a call from a very dear friend, she was struggling with a relationship. We talked for a while and then she said something that seared into my brain. She said she is very aware of who is in her inner circle in this life and how she has over time manifested this inner circle that has fostered a symbiotic flow of enlightenment, connection to spirit and a belief that there is a greater purpose. I am paraphrasing her words that day and when she reads this, and she will, I will know if I did a good job or not. Which is one of the reasons I have a deep love for her and she is in my inner circle, she is real and she expects no less from me, we have a great sense of balance in our relationship.
I tend to give up my power easily in relationships and it is something I have been present to, so I have been aware of the need to keep balance in check. After my friend shared her description of her inner circle I reflected that without really setting out and planning to do so, I have been surrounding myself with a more balanced inner circle. One thing I also noticed as I have slowly transitioned into this new way of being is that I have surrounded myself by people who tend to follow Dr. Fredrickson’s prescription for a positive life. Real people sharing their struggles and open to giving more heartfelt positive experiences in response to negative experiences.
I have really been aware of how people respond to difficulty I just went through a bit of a boot camp on dealing with difficulty over the last two years and was very present to how I was being with all of it. Some I handled well, some I handled not so well. My compassion runs very high for people who are struggling, however, I have also come to realize as I came through my journey and faced my demons, so do they have that right to face their demons. I also know that sometimes the best support is to love them but let them go, because the very thing we are doing to help is actually preventing them from the experience they are intended to go through. These kinds of experiences and decisions are great challenges but they are the calisthenics for our higher self. The more I understand and respect others paths the more I am able to put Dr. Fredrickson’s theory into practice for a more positive experience and deeper connection to spirit in this life.
I believe the more comfortable you can be with the concept that the imperfections in life are perfect, the happier you will be. I think this all goes back to my connection with the concept of yin yang which literally means dark and light. We are all made up of dark forces and light forces and I really connect with people who are comfortable with their whole selves, you have heard the expression they are comfortable in their own skin, I am drawn to those people like a magnet to steel. When I meet people, I am interested in them, and their experience. My experience is people who wear their imperfections on their sleeve and yet feel perfect are open to deep connection and expansion, and that’s where the law of attraction kicks in for me. I am strongly attracted to people where I can have these meaningful bonds. I feel it creates expansion not only in the relationship but in the universe.
If we are able to see ourselves as whole people and love the perfection of our imperfections we can love others people’s imperfections, which in turns amps up our ability to give authentic, heartfelt and sincere positive feedback. The beautiful part of this whole concept is that it benefits everyone, this truly will make the world a better place it is at the heart of creation. You send out this positive energy it transforms another and they send out positive energy and it transforms another, and so on and so on, you are a creator of something beautiful and amazing, it is that powerful.
A wise Sioux elder once told me, you realize sound waves never end, so the voices of our ancestors still surround us that is why if you quiet your mind and listen you can hear them and learn from their wisdom. I am not going to debate the science behind this and I am sure there are scientists out there who will cry foul. But I believe it to be true and I discovered two messages from my wise teacher, first to listen to the knowledge that is already out there by quieting my mind and second to carefully think about what I say and how I express myself, the sound that I create from my vocal cords, it has a very long life. Is it something that would benefit my grandchildren and future generations as they quiet their minds to listen? If we practice; presence, patience, understanding and intention before we create sound we will experience joy and create joy for eternity.
Think positively and masterfully, with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in experience and achievement. – Edward Rickenbacker