On Being Positive

I believe there are naturally positive people and naturally negative people. I have been told by others that I am a positive person. I have no formal education regarding ‘how to be positive’ – merely my personal observations in life. My first real teacher on how to be more positive was my friend Katherine. Many years ago when her son was a toddler, she observed how he would get easily frustrated when something he was trying to figure out didn’t work. I’m sure you’ve all witnessed small children throw some inanimate toy and say, “Stupid _______”. She would instantly pick up the toy and say, “Darling, the toy isn’t stupid. Here, let’s try this again.”  It was through observing Katherine with her son that I started to frame my awareness of how we all have negative and positive thoughts about daily activities; and it’s how we approach those activities that will shape our attitude, our beliefs and our ultimate success.

Many of us, by nature, think of the negative first. That’s okay, if we’re aware of it. In fact, negative thinking can keep us out of trouble.  In a stressful situation, it’s very likely the first thoughts will be either negative or emotional. Those are ‘self protection’ thoughts and they are not bad thoughts. If, however, one is stuck in those thoughts; the results are unlikely to be positive.  If we’re aware of it, then we can consciously turn it off and think about the situation positively. We’ve all lain in bed at night reliving some mishap of the day. The secret is to recognize that you’ve got this never-ending Ferris wheel happening in your thoughts and to mentally tell yourself to stop.

If you cannot think positively about that particular situation then try thinking of something else….and keep doing it. For some people saying prayers helps – saying thanks for the positive things that happened in your day and perhaps asking for some guidance with unresolved issues. My friend Elizabeth, a staunch atheist, would say that if you fall asleep thinking about all of the aspects (both positive and negative) of a problem, you will wake up in the morning with potential solutions. She believed that your brain worked through the problem as you slept.

In my years working as a consultant, our focus was on positive and negative language that affects the reaction of the listener. This is relevant with everyone. If you think negatively, you will likely speak negatively. If you speak negatively, you will likely get a negative reaction. Let me give you a simple example. As consultants, we listened to hundreds of telephone calls. We found that many company reps were saying, “You have to mail us the form.” Often, the reaction was negative. “Why should I have to do that?”, or “How long will it take?” or “Why can’t you just issue the cheque?” We suggested to this particular company that they’d have less resistance if they said, “If you mail us the form, we can issue the cheque right away.” Bingo. The resistance was minimal. People didn’t “have to” do anything and they understood the benefit immediately.

We may or may not have control over what happens to us. We do, however, have control over how we react.  Only you have the power create happiness. Maybe that happiness will come from changing your own situation. Maybe it will come from helping others change theirs. Likely you won’t be able to master your personal challenge on your own. Over the last five years, I have had the good fortune of many positive friends and professionals who made my journey easier. I have surrounded myself with positive people. I continue to surround myself with positive people. Build your own support network of positive people.  Whatever your journey is, know that you can be strong and that there are others out there who will help you.

Father’s Day

I was lucky enough to have a wonderful father. As a child I remember sitting on his lap and feeling happy and safe. As a teen I remember him challenging me to be the best I could be. As an adult I remember his praise of my accomplishments. He believed in me. He was the first man I knew that truly respected women, particularly those with whom he worked.

I wish he was still alive. If he was, I would be in close contact with him and most certainly would call him or be with him on Father’s Day to let him know that I loved him unconditionally.

I have known many fathers in my life – some where great, others not so good. They all, however, did the best they could. I do know that there are many fathers out there who will be sitting by the phone tomorrow hoping their son or daughter will be calling.

Do the right thing. Call him!

Hindsight/Guidelight

Welcome. What does the title mean? Hindsight because at my age one begins to reflect upon the events and experiences of one’s life, celebrate the successes and wonder what one could have done differently. Guidelight represents the concept that perhaps someone else might find hope, direction, or mere solace in my sharing some of those experiences.

I support many causes: animal rights, woman’s rights, saving our oceans and forests, preventing senior abuse, and more. I might write about those here, but mostly what I will be writing about is relationships – those we have with our parents, children, friends and ourselves.

I am a domestic abuse and violence survivor. I have written an unpublished manuscript that started as a journal 6 years ago. In my upcoming blog, there will be posts about those events and the journey I took to get away from my abuser. Some of the detail might be a little dark, but I will endeavour to keep it focused on the positive with insight and encouragement. If I can help one woman recognize that she’s in an abusive relationship, set her on a new path, or provide her guidance in making good decisions, then my mission will be accomplished.

However, being a survivor neither defines who I am nor limits the ideas I have to share with others. I plan on writing about many topics that will likely interest women of all backgrounds and ages.

Professionally I have been a salesperson, manager, life skills coach, teacher, curriculum writer and realtor. I have also served on the Board of Directors of the London Abused Women’s Centre. Personally I have a wife, step-mother, and full-time caregiver. I’ve had many opportunities, some successes, and a few failures. Eventually, I will write about most of them.

I welcome your positive input. Be safe.