Debbie Downer Much?


I need to apologize for being a bit of a Debbie-Downer lately. I just re-read my last two blog posts. That’s how I know that it’s true. Well, that, and I feel so much more like my positive, rose-colored world Sally-self these days, that it’s painfully obvious that I was not that Sally-self for some time. Probably since last July when we moved away from some of our best friends in the world and away from one of the most beautiful, eclectic, sensory, savory cities in the world.

I love you, Seattle.

When I was in high school, I had a friend give me the compliment (insult?) that I was like Prozac for depressed people. He was most likely referring to my overly upbeat personality and my unusual knack for being happy regardless of the situation. Mostly, that ability is still intact, but sometimes it isn’t. I hate it when it isn’t. I would so much rather be happy about no flowers than be moaning about the wrong kind of flowers if you know what I mean.

So, I’ve been pondering this dilemma for several weeks, maybe even months. First, I was down because I missed my friends and the familiarity my life had in Seattle. Then, I was down that I hated our rental house. Then we bought our in-progress dream house, and I find out I was pregnant that weekend, which meant that I started throwing up right away. After ten weeks of this, I was pretty cranky. Then we traveled, the kids got sick, we got sick, we got the flu . . .

See? See what I mean? Rose-colored Sally-self would see some silver lining in every single thing. Debbie-downer Sally couldn’t see past the end of her nose. (Does anyone else love Mary Poppins as much as I do? Past the end of his nose?)

In Relief Society a couple of weeks ago, we had a lesson on joy versus happiness. It was fabulous. One woman made a last-minute comment about feeding thoughts. She had found that whether she had a happy feeling/thought or a negative feeling/thought, she would feed it with more of the same. She had discovered that she was always feeding one or the other, so when a negative thought would creep in, she would do everything in her power to feed a positive thought instead.

For example, pretend your husband arrives home from work having stopped by the grocery store. He picked up milk and bread. Three cheers for an awesome husband, right? Until you get mad that he didn’t call and ask you if you needed anything. Because you did. You needed something. You needed eggs and cheese, too, right?

This woman is saying that now you have a choice. You can either replay in your mind that husband should have called you and, if he did, then you would have the eggs and cheese you needed. As it is, now you have to go out shopping during the dinner rush just so you can make dinner for you own family. Either that, or you’re eating cereal for dinner again. Everything is husband’s fault. He’s the reason you don’t cook healthy meals for your family. In fact, he’s the reason you still haven’t lost that extra 10 pounds from baby number x. Because he doesn’t call you enough!

OR: My gosh! My husband went to the grocery store! I hate going to the grocery store! Especially I hate buying milk because it’s so heavy and awkward and cold. Now when I go to the store later, I won’t have to buy milk! Awesome! Husband rules! So glad I have husband and milk and bread.

Since I heard that comment in relief society, I’ve tried starving negative thoughts while feeding a positive one. Once. I realized a negative thought was creeping in, and let me tell you, a negative thought can sometimes last for days. How is that even possible? Well, it’s true. Anyway, the negative thought was creeping in, and I thought of this wise woman’s words, and instead of ‘feeding’ the negative thought, I gave my thoughts a very weak tea. Then a little piece of a cracker. Then a chocolate chip cookie.

Then I felt better. It worked.

Do you think this would work for you? Any other tips to overcome a negative attitude? What works for you?


  1. Have you read the Drops of Awesome blogpost that's been going around on facebook? You should. :) I've been trying to fill my bucket with drops of awesome everyday. The past doesn't matter. You didn't walk your kid to the bus yesterday? So what? You did it today. Drop of awesome. Really, you should read it. So much better than I'm making it sound. I love the idea of starving/feeding thoughts. Good post. :)

    1. So, I read the Drops of Awesome blog post and loved it. Thanks for sharing. I recently had the same epiphany that I should just start over fresh everyday instead of trying to keep a running tally. Otherwise, I am too guilt-ridden. Nobody warned me about all the guilt that comes with being a mom. Seriously.

  2. My aunt is a therapist and says you should never trust a negative thought.

    Don't feel too sad about moving from Seattle. It's been gray and cold for what seems like a very long time. Oh dear, is that negative? I'm not sure how to be happy about the never ending gray. Hmmm, at least it's only misty and not rainy???? FAIL.

    1. Never trust a negative thought. I'm totally going to quote that one.

      About the gray? The silver lining I've come up with now that I'm in 300 days of BRIGHT sun is that you get way better photos in the overcast atmosphere in Seattle than you do in the harsh bright sun of Colorado. I guess now it's time to really figure out how to take pictures instead of just relying on the soft light of a Seattle day. ;)

  3. Oh Sally, you know, we've had the flu here as well and I totally hear you regarding this entire post! I'm so sorry to hear about your recent travails. I'm still getting over the remnants of the flu myself after 3 weeks! Let's just say I have a lack of an immune system currently...I'm expecting as well and due about the same time as you, I believe...May 19 is my due date. With all the hormones and busy-ness around me I find the positive difficult to cultivate as well. You know what has worked for me recently is praying to find the 'joy' in my day. And you know what, when I do that, Heavenly Father will ding the bell in my head when some thing, small as it may be, happens in my day. He lights up my life so that the joy shines through. I smile to myself and think, "Ah! This must be it!" Today it was seeing my boys playing in the sun outside without me for about 10 minutes. JOY! And I am so thankful for Heavenly Father for helping me recognize that. Also, the "Drops of Awesome" post that was mentioned is really uplifting and attitude changing...I agree with whomever posted that. I love you, Sally; your days will get better and better. I'm so grateful for all you share and for your example. You brighten my day! You are on the road to all good things...Colorado springs and summers are delightful! New baby smell is delicious! It will all be worth it....

    1. http://www.daringyoungmom.com/2012/12/19/drops-of-awesome/
      I forgot to include this link to the post; here it is.

    2. I didn't know you were pregnant! That's great news! Also, we need to find a way to see each at this point. Aren't you in my parents' stake? It would be fun to meet up some time in Denver. Let me know.

  4. Welcome back!! :)

    Every year for Christmas I get an unusual present from my mother-in-law. Two years ago it was a personal progress manual. This year I got a hand clicker, with the sticker billionclicks.org. It was a long these same lines. Go to this link to learn more about it http://www.billionclicks.org/page/videos.

    Anyways, it seems like there are a lot of these ideas or websites. I did feel like it was an inspiring concept, but Clicking was kind of hard for me, mainly because I'm stubborn. I felt silly for trying to think of positive thoughts JUST SO I could click. Although I do think it helped.

    Thanks for the reminder. I have had a lot of negative thoughts swirling around in my head lately, and I really just need to focus on being more positive, and remembering others.

    Can't wait to see that cute baby boy!!

    1. Okay. Your mother-in-law's gifts made such an impression on me that I've been sharing it randomly with others. Hope you don't mind. It's just so . . . 'unusual' I think is the word you used. :)

  5. Sally, everyone has down days. I like the thought of focusing on good thoughts! We are excited for you baby boy ... and we love you guys!! ☺