I’m attracted to a positivity bias. In fact, I just read a book with that title! Often though, I find I don’t necessarily default with going to the best outlook on my first thought out of the gate. But then I hopefully remember I can choose differently and try to do so for thoughts that follow that first one…and actions that follow and flow from those thoughts.
I will never get “more good” in life if I focus only on the struggle. I will never feel good if I surround myself with highly kvetchy people or if I myself am overly kvetchy. And associating with people at work or the rest of my life who are negative is like hanging out at what my friend, Jean, would say, “the toxic table.” It doesn’t feel good in your gut. She used to say try to eat your lunch at a different table and you’ll enjoy the day more.
Today I had to send out an invitation for an event that needed advance planning, would be attended by a large number of people, needed rsvp’s, etc. And I, despite having proofreaders, accidentally sent the older version with a typo on the date. So, when I saw that that had gone out with a big, glaring typo, I had that sinking feeling many of us have had after accidentally realizing you might have sent a “reply all” on something that shouldn’t have been “reply all,” via email, or some such other “oh my goodness, I didn’t just do that,” moment. My first thought was, “aaah, I can’t believe I just did that,” and then I sent a message to everyone who had been on the recipient list informing them of the typo and the actual date/time information, etc. And I told myself that that was really dumb and laughed about what an idiot and doofus (still not nice,) I was. But that correction email went out and I got back to work.
And I realized later in the day what huge positive progress that was because ten years ago I would have chastised myself up and down and left and right about how dumb I was and I would have gotten all caught up in being perfectionistic and it would not have helped me (or anyone around me,) in terms of happiness or overall quality of life! Yay!
The tools in my toolbox that got me to that new conversation in my mind were apparently hard won and I can’t even pinpoint when I acquired them, so to speak. But in the end, I had a much better day not being uptight and cranky towards myself.
Positive progress is when we see that we’ve been somewhere before and we don’t fall into the same broken record behavior we used to. A positivity bias is something to cultivate and nurture. A friend overseas writes me to focus on the smell of the flowers more instead of the ouch of prickly thorns. The Baal Shem Tov said that, “wherever your thoughts are, that’s where you are.”
This was part of why I started Celebrate Life Soiree’s. It was a way to acknowledge what was going WELL in life in the midst of everything else…or in spite of what was not good or didn’t feel good. When I started them, I was out of a job, single and stressed, but my memory of that time is that we sat in a small group and talked about all that was good and great in life and we made everything in our collective lives so much better just for the gathering and getting together to celebrate whatever little or big good there was.
Gratitude, divine providence, acceptance, friendship, things that sat well in my heart, compassion, small or large kindnesses…these were all elements that originally led me to think about having these parties and helping others make their own. It was less of a focus on “oh now look, everything’s going great,” because that wasn’t necessarily realistic or true, but rather, a refocus on, “look at all that IS GOING RIGHT, THAT IS GOOD RIGHT NOW, even if there were/are hard, uncertain or seemingly nonsensical things going on.” In that sense, when I started making Celebrate Life Soiree’s and showing other people how to make them, it was part of my own shift towards a positivity bias.
Wherever I am when I feel stuck or stressed, that is where I am mentally. If I leap beyond that place mentally, I am somewhere else and it’s hopefully a better, safer emotionally, kinder and happier place. I hope we can all find our own positivity bias mind place or space and go there often!
Reach out to me at [email protected] with ideas of how you reshift your focus to a positive one and what works for you! Be well!