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?