Crawling Away from Negativity: The Positivity Challenge

This topic did not come from me; rather it came from a very enjoyable email newsletter I read every day, which you might also like. It’s called The Well-Tended Life, and it’s by Kerri Wilt, a motivational speaker-type person.

I don’t wanna!

Kerri talks about how much the current times have been weighing everyone down, herself included. I know my friends and family are weighed down.

For example, my Cameron Breakfast Club friends, who now meet on Zoom, spent a lot of time today trying to figure out some way to see each other in person without it making any of us uncomfortable. We all have slightly different levels of comfort with social distancing and staying safe, it became clear. After talking about what the library will do, what restaurants may do, and where germs lurk in public spaces, the best we could come up with is sitting around a fire circle on private land, with our chairs at least 10 feet apart. I guess some yelling might be involved?

I truly want this thing. And it can be social-distancing compatible, right?

Now, this came from a pretty darned positive bunch of intelligent women who are lucky enough to be able to shelter in place and stay safe that way. I can only imagine the frustrations of people who don’t have the options to isolate (large families, cramped houses, people who work in essential places like groceries and drug stores, health-care workers)…the negativity seems pretty justified.

These ARE hard times and we DO all have a variety of responses and a variety of feelings about the best way forward. It is simply a complicated issue from a an practically unimaginable number of totally legitimate perspectives.

Gratuitous cute dog picture to help you feel better.

Nonetheless, I firmly believe that it can help us deal with our own stress and frustration by some positive reframing. Rather than rephrase, I’d like to share what Kerri Wilt said in her email (here’s a link to the whole message).

Some Ideas To Combat the Negative Narrative Virus:

-Challenge yourself to begin ALL conversations with a positive statement. Chat first about the good things that are happening all around you. 

-Try to curb your use of words like: crazy, hate, sucks, and ridiculous. Having trouble breaking the habit? Then take it a step further and create a “corona curse” jar that collects a dollar from anyone who uses these negative words. 

-Consider even renaming this time we are in, by calling it a time of high adventure, excitement, exploration, reflection, or reinvention. Or begin referring to it instead as an awesome opportunity for community, for family, for fresh starts, and even for fun.

-And for goodness sakes…SMILE when you come in contact with people. Your face may be the only positive thing they see all day, so make it count! 

smiling suna in a mask
Hmm, maybe you can’t tell people are smiling while wearing masks, after all.

And on that last one, you CAN tell people are smiling when they are wearing masks, so don’t let that stop you!

My favorite idea is to call this a time for reinvention. It certainly IS that. Finding creative solutions to meet our needs, like the Breakfast Club friends did today, is one kind of reinvention. Our newfound drive to tell people we love how we feel NOW, as my friend Nancy did with me on the phone earlier today, that’s another “awesome opportunity” we can all engage in. My letters I’ve been writing to random friends and family (slowly but surely) are another way to build community that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

This stationery is just waiting for me to write a note on it. Dang work meetings keep slowing me down.

Take your mind off your worries, even for a little while, and think of things and people you love. Do something for someone or make your environment a little better. This way, we absolutely WILL have some fond memories of this time, along with the other stuff, which we can’t deny or make go away through forced perkiness. I’m not recommending forced perkiness, just noticing the opportunities as well as the challenges.

What the heck? It’s a green oak-slug moth! I would not have seen it if I hadn’t been sitting in the carport at work doing a phone call.
If it weren’t for the pandemic, Vlassic wouldn’t have met his new buddy, my brother-in-law, Jim, with the RV that’s safe from mean ole Penney.

One more thing, read inspiring content, not just doom, gloom, name-calling and arguing. Here’s where to sign up for Kerri’s newsletter, by the way. And don’t forget Nataly of Happier Now! Her emails have helped me, too.

Let me know what’s been uplifting for you, what’s helped you reframe this time to be something with both positive and negative aspects, or any other news you’d like to share. Staying in touch with our virtual friends counts as community building, doesn’t it?

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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