Posts Tagged With: positive encouragement

inspiration or toxic positivity

This picture is hanging in every single one of the faculty restrooms at my school.

I don’t know who put them up.
Was it the PTO?
Was it the admins?
Was it the school counselors?
I understand what whoever put them up was trying to do.
Trying to encourage all the adults in the building to embrace what’s good. Look on the bright side.
(my brain has literally become the end of Life of Brian with Eric Idle singing and whistling. “Cheer up you old bugger.” forgive me, I digress…)

As I was saying…
In concept I understand the good intention.
In reality this photo pisses me off.
I mean truly makes me seethe every single time I see it.
This is the most disrespectful bunch of toxic positivity crammed in the faces of women and men who are doing the absolute best under some pretty complex circumstances.

First and foremost how dare you?
Secondly, nobody wants to be a teacher unless they’re a teacher. And to be perfectly fucking honest, sometimes not even then! Such a thankless day to day existence. We are doing the best we can in an absolute crap situation. Every single one of us is here for the kids. And the fact that someone has the audacity to suggest our underappreciated-crap-pay-micromanaged-by-non-educators-government-mandated-in-such-a-way-as-to-take-the-joy-out-of-it-at-every-turn employment is somehow being dreamed about?
And don’t even get me started on the one about a smile and depression.
Fuck you, dude.

“Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity. Find something to be grateful for”
Imma say it again for good measure.
Fuck you, dude.
This toxic positivity disgusts me!

Here’s a simple definition if you’re unfamiliar with the term.

This assumption that no matter what’s going on in one’s life, ‘other people have it worse’.
If that’s not toxic I don’t know what is.
One assumes that ‘others have it worse’ because they only see one aspect of someone’s life.
One says ‘distance from negativity’ makes everything better because one assumes expression of self is comparison or complaint…?

I’m over here like, beautiful things happen every day. No matter your proximity to negativity. Or positivity for that matter.
How about: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
(even though it’s attributed to Roosevelt, I couldn’t find supporting evidence he actually coined the term)
And being told to ‘find something to be grateful for’?
Y’all know I’m all about gratitude. Celebrating when I find it in unlikely places. Noticing it in the every day.
But to be ordered to find it?
After being told beautiful things are away from all things negative?
Once more for the cheap seats in the back.
Fuck you, dude.

I’m all for inspiration, but this doesn’t land for me. It lacks true compassion.
Am I looking at it askew?
What do y’all think?
Is this inspiring or does it encourage self gaslighting?
Is this positivity helpful or toxic?
Please oh please discuss!

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all it takes is a willingness

I got an email from my friend Jack yesterday. And while it said many things, this was the sentence that struck a chord in me.

Sometimes all it takes is a willingness to make a beginning.

I love the idea of this!
One must be willing before there can be a beginning.
It seems so obvious. But how many of us really have a willingness before we think to tackle a new…anything?

Some of us are resistant to change, that means a new beginning is something that causes concern. Some of us are quick to decide in favor of a new beginning, that means occasionally going off half-cocked. But, it seems to me the trick to truly beginning a new beginning is to have a real willingness to actually begin.
That willingness is what aids the concerned.
That willingness saves the eager from a misstep.
That willingness is what might even change your world.

All it takes is a willingness to make a new beginning.
This moved me so, and I’m going to ponder this for a while.
I encourage you to do the same.

My friend Jack is using his willingness to make new beginnings for his life.
How exciting!
To him I say, “Bon chance mon ami!”
To everyone else, I say, “Let’s consider this willingness, and what it can do.”

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teeny little significant things

It’s the little things. The teeny little seemingly insignificant things.
These little things make the biggest impact.
I got a teeny little thing with huge impact this morning in the form of a text message from YBW.
I’m not going to tell you what it said, because, well…I don’t want to. And that’s not really what’s important. What’s important is the act of writing and sending the text.

Each of us gets caught up in our own “stuff”. Makes it tricky to remain aware of what’s going outside our own heads. I had a long talk with my friend and mentor the other day. It was lovely. But it took so much of my energy. I’ve been trying to have an important conversation with Thing 1 for well over a week now. I honestly haven’t had the emotional energy. Haven’t seen Sundance or even talked to her for a while. Haven’t even been doing simple hashtag communications with my sister in law.
I’ve been to much in my head. I’m working on slowly shifting my focus outward. It’s hard and I feel lazy…but I’m working at it.
That sweet message from my husband this morning furthered my effort and helped me see he’s working at the same thing.

Tomorrow is September 1. The start of ‘meteorological fall’.
Now, most people see fall as the dying time. I see it as a time of starting new. Perhaps that’s residual from all those years of new children in the classroom in the fall? I don’t know…
But I’m looking at fall as a time to start everything new. New attitude with old projects. New projects with excitement.
Perhaps the wretched hot and humid weather will decide to become new and bring cool crisp air for me to breath. And temperatures that don’t cause you to break out in a sweat the moment you walk outdoors.
But I’m not expecting that until October…Indian Summer is the way of early fall in the Metro area. I know this. I’m just feeling hopeful!
Hope springs new for this little red haired girl in the Autumn.
I’m ready to do the hard work.
This used to be my “catchphrase”…it’s been a long time since I felt like using it…but to life in general, I say a great big, “BRING IT!”
(Until I wake up tomorrow in a foul mood…then I’ll be back to my grouchy self and have to start all over again.)
oscar
Sometimes, Oscar is my spirit muppet.

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I am the strangest, weirdest, most complicated woman I’ve ever been.

Do any of us really know our self?
I’m talking about our true self. The one that inner speech, and socialization, and life choices..relationships, jobs, residency…work so hard to alter.

I’ve been reminded of my true self lately. Mostly though conversations with people I met because of this blog, and my precious sister in law, but also my obsessive journaling.
I find it curious how you sometimes can’t see yourself until you observe your reflection in another or written on a page.

I have so much negative inner speech in my brain. I don’t feel the need to place blame for how it got there, I just need to remember to ignore it more frequently than I do.
Allow me to quickly explain to you about inner speech:
Imagine adults going ‘round with great big highlighters and highlighting things a child might experience. Whatever gets highlighted, is reinforced. The problem with highlighting a child’s behavior, is that adults tend to judge a child’s behavior. This judgement (or highlighting) creates their inner speech. The thing is, adults are particularly good at highlighting “bad” behavior. However well meant these intentions to highlight are, if all that’s being pointed out is what’s wrong with the child’s behavior the child can only focus on what’s “wrong” or “bad” about who she is.
Consider this, brains are pattern seeking. So if all that’s ever been highlighted in a child’s brain is negative that’s where the focus is.
So, I am working every day to see through new eyes, to encourage my brain to pick up on new patterns. To highlight that which is helpful and kind and loving.

In my past if I’d been told: “Your mind jumps all over, like a jack-in-the-box on speed. You say some odd, perplexing, annoying, infuriating things.” I would have heard these as “bad” things, negative traits. My inner speech conditioned me to that. But I’m realizing these are actually compliments. I’m challenging the people with whom I communicate. Go me!
In my past if I’d been told: “You said deep things that resonated with me. I should have taken notes. You are doing a good job of taking care of yourself. It’s something many cannot do.” I would shrugged it off. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the sincerity of these words. I honestly don’t think I’m doing such an excellent job of taking care of myself…but I get better at it every day.

I’m seeing myself as the strangest, weirdest, most complicated woman I have ever been. In the best possible way! I am seeing myself as the most loving, caring, nurturing woman I have ever been. I see this because I’m paying attention to my reflection.
We all need help to see who we are. We can’t see it for ourselves.
It’s like trying on clothes alone. You’re in the fitting room and you’re wearing the most adorable (whatever) you’ve ever seen and the moment you put it on you’re looking at your flaws. Oh, my belly is pudgey there. This is too tight across the bust. My bottom looks too flat. Your body language reflects this, you’re not standing up straight, you’re not smiling. But what if you tried that same (whatever) on with a friend in the fitting room with you, their view of you helps guide you to what is lovely and wonderful about the (whatever) you’ve tried on. You’ll see that your posture is different, you’re smiling, you’re seeing what’s really in front of you instead of what you expect to see.

When you can see yourself the way you’re reflected through the eyes or words or point of view of someone who cares about you, you are seeing the truest you. Sure everyone has an agenda, but in that moment you don’t see your own inner speech reflected back at you, you don’t see that person’s agenda, you see the bright and shining you that they see.
One cannot be loved for absolutely no reason.
Nobody will honestly love the worst in someone else. You are loved because that person sees the best in you.

So the lesson here is to begin to see yourself as the ones who love and care about you see you. When you begin to see yourself in this light, you will begin to realize how much you are. How much you have to offer the world. If you begin to see yourself in this light, you will become an even better/healthier/more luminous version of you. Eventually you won’t need to see yourself through the eyes of others, you’ll become accustomed to seeing that you through your own eyes.

But keep those loved ones handy, sometimes we all need a little positive encouragement.
Just like Katharine Hepburn, we all need Jimmy Stewart to occasionally remind us that: “There’s a magnificence in you, Tracy. A magnificence that comes out of your eyes, in the way you talk, the way you stand there and the way you walk. You are lit from within, Tracy. You’ve got fires banked down in you, hearth fires and holocausts. You are the golden girl, Tracy. Full of life, warmth and delight.”

And if there is ever a moment when you can’t see yourself in this light, always always remember what Christopher Robin said to Pooh, “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

I am a Goddess. I am a warrior queen. I am a fairy princess. I am a plain old regular girl. Aren’t I the best!?!
Does this mean I know my true self?
Nope. But I’m learning every single day.
And really what more can I ask for?

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