After my last blog, I received the following email from someone who has become a cherished reader due to his frequent and rich feedback:
“A second take: positive, being part of a dichotomy, holds in its underbelly, negative; and thus 'positive' thinking always has a desperate quality about it, to being positive positive positive because of the elephant in the room, unacknowledged, negative; "positive people" to me seem naive and too cheery.
“Grounded in the full heart of knowing both sides, the yin and yang, that life brings death, there is a larger and stronger base of feeling/thought, a deep well to draw the water from.
“We may be saying the same thing, but there is my two cents worth.”
Here is my response to him:
We are saying the same thing except that yours is more eloquent. That will be my focus for next week. May I quote you in my blog post?
“You writing this reminds me that I don’t think like many or most people about positive. I think of it more as meaning constructive rather than destructive, optimistic rather than pessimistic, perceiving a challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow, and very definitely coming from a place of wholeness of all aspects of ourselves.”
So much tied to how we interpret, so strange this faculty of speech and words we toss back and forth, each thinking we are using the small ball.”
What if your approach to being positive includes the negative? What if you were to be facile at giving constructive feedback in a manner that engenders gratitude? What if you could hold the bar high, use rigor, and be positive—all at the same time? What if you felt confident that you could have a constructive conversation about the most difficult topics and stay positive?
This is what being positive means to me.
How do I encourage but not push? How do I support someone to move out of blame or shame and into self-reflection with curiosity? How do I support people in learning how to take a deep dive into themselves with the belief that they will find gems, some of which are crusty from being hidden underground for a long time? Some of which appear as monsters, only to find that with love, they become angels who want to take care of you.
Positive is taking lemons, knowing that they are lemons, and making the most delicious lemonade.
Positive is finding the strength from deep in yourself to have the courage to bring up the most sensitive, delicate, and important issues in life, both personal and at work.
Positive is believing in yourself, despite the critical voices you have heard in your head through your lifetime.
Positive is committing to developing self-compassion and hearing an inner voice that knows your worth and believes in you.
Positive is believing in someone when they, themselves, start to doubt.
Positive is standing up for yourself, even though you are scared, learning to say no, saying yes when and only when there is a real yes inside you.
I encourage you to continue this list. See the practice for this week to support you in that endeavor.