I’ve asked some friends and they said they would consider me to be a positive person. In fact, as I walk this unimaginable path of the loss of our first unborn child, so many have told me they admire my positivity.
Even my husband often says that I’m a positive person.
But really, I’m not. I’m not a positive person.
…But I’m not a negative person either.
I’m a lover of truth. I’m a lover of what is.
And I am in love with this short burst of life I have. And I am here for all of it.
But this whole industry of “positive thinking” is wasted on me.
I don’t believe in contrived positivity. I don’t believe in saying things are wonderful when things are awful. It just makes me feel stupid and ignorant.
When do I feel “positive”?
This is what I have noticed about life. Basically, we are happy when things go our way and we are upset when things do not. Because of this, we set conditions for feeling and expressing our joy. “I’ll be happy/ calm/ at peace/ comfortable when things go my way. I’ll be optimistic about life when things at the very least start going my way.”
Let’s be honest – thinking positively only comes naturally when things go our way.
But does life always go my way? Not so much. Sometimes it does. Often it doesn’t. Life just goes life’s way and I’m here for it all. When I accept life as it comes to me, then I give myself the opportunity to truly be at peace.
I have realized something about myself – I cannot be at peace when I am clinging to my agenda and plans for myself and for my life. Not truly at peace.
Rather it becomes a temporary, inconsistent, flakey peace. It’s the kind of peace that I cannot be strong in because I live with the fear that it can be taken away from me at any moment.
And that’s not the kind of peace I’m interested in.
Trying to be positive
The more I try to be positive, the more negative I become. I learned that one many years ago, when I gave up my practices of positive self talk and affirmations.
Now a days, that feels far too contrived. I am a reflective person, but I don’t like to dissect life and inject each piece with an emotion that is not overflowing through me effortlessly. I don’t like how it makes me feel or who I am when I do that.
What works for me to is see each situation for what it is, and try to do the best I can for it. Each situation in my life requires it’s own unique response, and positivity certainly doesn’t work in every situation.
What works for me is awareness. Clarity. The ability to see things as they are. Flexibility. What works for me is to be responsive to life. For me, responsiveness is strength.
My unborn daughter died at 6 months of pregnancy. That was not the way I wanted my life to go. And yet, I am at peace. I am not happy about it. I’m heartbroken, but I am peaceful.
I don’t wish to create fantasies or philosophies to pacify myself. I want to live in truth, and I don’t want to get in my own way. And the truth is – she’s not here. Not in the physical form. And I can’t experience life with her the way I thought I would. And that’s that. And that’s enough. And I want to do my best with that.
One thing I know for sure is that it hurts to go through life with fixed ideas of how it should be, or how I should be. That’s proven to be exhausting in the past, and requires so much self-policing.
If I go through my life thinking “I must put a positive spin on everything, I must think positively and be a positive person” – in some situations that might work well, but in others it will be pointless or just plain silly and inappropriate.
Grace in pain
There is much pain and sadness in my life these days because of all that has happened.
And it hurts. Oh it really, really hurts sometimes. It hurts in ways I cannot even put into words.
But I know my pain and sadness is sacred.
I don’t want to ignore it. I don’t want to avoid it. It’s OK for me to be sad. It’s OK for everything to hurt. I wouldn’t want to rob myself of this experience, of this gift.
I honour pain and joy equally. So while I am not a “positive person”, I do tend to dwell in happiness and optimism more than I dwell in hurt and pain. And why is that?
Because happiness is easier on my system. Pain is harder. It’s a simple decision that almost just makes itself. Do I want to suffer? Or do I want to be at ease?
I know what I want 🙂
Thank you for reading!
How about you? How do you deal with difficult experiences in your life? What works for you?