I've been doing this blog now for about 5 months, and it seems about time for a check-in of sorts. The whole idea of this blog was a social experiment. It was to see if the old adage of "looking on the bright side" actually made things brighter. When I started this blog, I was in the middle of my first year of grief after my mother's passing. I had moments of normalcy in the midst of acute anxiety and depression that caused a gamut of health issues. I was sick physically and emotionally. I was also tired of feeling that way. I know that grief will run its course and we have to have patience, but I knew my grief was becoming something unhealthy. So, I decided that the best way to combat this cycle of darkness, was to focus on the bright side. It was hard to keep the focus on the positives unless I shared it with everyone, which is why this blog came to be. I figured, why not share good things with others? The worst that could happen is we both feel the same as before, or, instead, we both feel awesome.
1. It immediately focuses your mind on what you have instead of what you lack.
Suddenly, I stopped thinking about all the ways life was going wrong, what I was missing out on by being sad, and what I needed before I could begin to feel better. Instead, I was just looking for the good, and in turn, I found it. I realized that while I was feeling pretty crappy on a regular basis, I'd been able to find understanding bosses who allowed me to work remotely on the bad days. I had a patient husband who rarely got upset about my problems. I had friends and family who loved me. I had a nice house that provided me with the comfort and peace I needed to cope, and I had two cuddly cats always available when I needed a warm hug without judgment. I began to want to buy less things. I began to shop for clothes less. I began to go through what I already owned and see the value in it - "Wanting what you have instead of having what you want."
Focusing on the bright side showed me that what I had was enough to be whole.
2. The hard stuff didn't go away, but I got better at handling it.
Because of all this, nothing really seemed as bad as it had been -- even the grief. It allowed me to go through the worst of it as her one year death anniversary came and went, and I suffered my first panic attack while driving in heavy traffic. I felt terrible and low and scared. But...somehow, it gave me the courage to get up and keep going everyday because despite the pain, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel getting closer and closer. When I was on the other side of the anniversary, the fog gradually lifted and the warm weather months came, and began to show me I could feel whole. I still have my moments of grief, where I'll hear a song that reminds me exactly of my mother that I miss dreadfully, or see a photo of her and feel shock that she actually died, and we actually buried her. I'll tear up for a bit, but then I feel reassurance, "You're going to be ok, you are already ok. It's ok to miss her, you always will, but you're going to live your life like you always wanted. I am proud of you. Thank you for proving to yourself you are strong." At first that reassuring message sounded like my mother's voice in my head, now it has changed to my own.
It gave me the courage and faith in myself that I needed to keep pressing on. I know that because I am thinking positively, I can trust myself in the future to handle pain. Life is cyclical, we have good and bad moments, there will be more loss. Now, I trust myself to endure it.
3. The black clouds left.
This seems like a "well, duh" moment. But... it's true. In general, I feel more optimistic about everything. I also think I look prettier when I look in the mirror. Focusing on the positives has actually changed my self-esteem. I feel renewed and feel like sunshine is everywhere even on the dark rainy days. It's a beautiful thing.
A challenge to everyone:
Now, I want to challenge everyone to do the same thing. Every single day, share something with a loved one, or with your Facebook followers, or on Instagram or Twitter, or even just in your own gratitude journal. Share something that is good. Something that uplifts. Something funny, something beautiful, something real. Share something great that happened in your day, even if it was just that the sky looked pretty tonight or that you got your favorite cup of coffee before work. Every day think of at least one thing (more if you want) that went right, or that is uplifting. The more you put out there, the more you will want to share. The more you focus on the good, the more good you can see.
You should try it. I know it can help all of us.
Feel free to also share these things with me. You can send them to me via my contact page, or post a message on my Twitter or Facebook pages through the social links on the sidebar. I would love to hear from you. If I get enough shared with me, I may start featuring some on my blog, wouldn't that be fun!?
What have you gained from focusing on the bright side? If you haven't done it yet, will you try it? Please get back to me, if you do, and let me know what it has done for you.