Week 5, Being Positive (One Clip-on Earring at a Time)
Hello Week 5! I am excited to dive into a new topic, which will bring the focus back around to ME. This week I am checking in to see how positive I am with myself. I think some of the action for this will have already been covered by practicing patience in the first week, but I also know there is a whole other layer of ‘stuff’ that is lurking under my smiling exterior, that disguises itself as positivity. I am going to find out what that ‘stuff’ is. But before I begin, here are some ideas of how other peoples and cultures perceive living positive, happy lives.
*Studies that have compared definitions of happiness in dictionaries from 30 nations, found that Western and East Asian cultures define happiness differently. Western culture defines happiness as inner feelings of pleasure, while East Asian cultures define happiness more in line with social harmony, or an association with good luck and fortune.
*In Milan, Italy, citizens are required by an old law to wear a smile on their faces. Exceptions are made for people working at hospitals and attending funerals.
(I am sure this cyclist is smiling, looking at that beeeeauuuutiful architecture)
*Denmark has the happiest people in the world! Why? Apparently, it is due to their stable population, social cohesion(no competing for an upper class), a great educational system, energy independence, fine health care including free family planning, jobs and a retirement system for everyone, comfortable housing, lovely countryside and plenty of leisure time to enjoy it.
(I thought it would be because of those fresh chocolate filled pastries…love me a good danish) 🙂
This is happiness in parts of our world, but, in my estimation, being positive and being happy, are 2 different things, so I do not want to get confused when looking for how to be Be Positive with ME. Too many times in my life, I have been tricked by this ‘happiness’ word. It has either made me into something I am not, like hearing from friends, that people wonder how I can always look so happy and be smiling all the time….clearly, those people do not really know me and have only seen a small range of my expression. OR, ‘happiness’ has tricked me into thinking I am inferior, wanting, sad, and inadequate for not being/having everything that friends and neighbours are/have.
I recognized several years ago, that happiness needed more substance. All on its own, chasing only after happiness, I was easily influenced by what felt good, what people around me were doing and saying, and what was temporary in nature. It is easy to understand this kind of desire. My teens are going through it right now….in SPADES! I was in my late 30’s though, during my happiness craze, perhaps not the most attractive time in life to be wanton in this search for pleasure, but again, understandable, as I was coming from a tragically flawed past. Fortunately, it only took a year or so of throwing myself into the phantom arms of happiness, before I grew too tired, too hung-over, too chaotic, too sexed-up, too used-up, to continue. I knew I was not on a road to wellness. There was no healing in sight, no glow of distant lights promising the dawn of a revolutionized inner-self, just darker and darker moments needing more hiding, more chasing, more frantic searching for a disappointedly allusive happy place. This is where a desire for something else, began.
My chosen icon this week, is one of mum’s clip-on earrings that she used during her Chemotherapy. Instead of losing her thick, straight, naturally auburn hair, in segments and clumps, she chose to lop it off, all at once, so it would have a chance to grow back evenly. She sometimes wore a scarf or a wig, or nothing at all when her scalp got too itchy, but always had big chunky earrings, that were easy to fasten with her one strong hand. I thought they were hideous 24 years ago, I think they are hideous now, but I kept them to remind me of something that her attitude toward her illness taught me….there is always a bright, shiny thing dangling within our view, during our dim and desperate moments. We may not be able to recognize where we are, who we are, or where we might be heading, but there is an arrow of light that points us into a positive direction, if we look for it. I am going to wait to reveal the earring at the end of the week and will instead use a quote to describe how I will practice this week….