How I Found Joy in Negativity

 

globe-sig

 

In the midst of some recent turmoil, there was one blessed day of balance.

The Autumnal Equinox.

I thought there was no way I would be able to share in the wonder of this day.

During an equinox, when the sun passes directly over the equator, day and night are of equal length—we have the same amount of light and dark. It is a time of balance.

That elusive balance.

I don’t actively seek it because, as I’ve said before, I believe it’s unattainable—a recipe for frustration and resentment. But I do look for it in small quantities, for certain situations.

And every autumn, I have welcomed balance when it arrives on my doorstep, asking politely, with the light of the harvest moon, to be let inside.

September 22nd was smack in the middle of a mess, and I knew that day would go just as badly as the rest of the week had gone. I knew. No matter what I planned or how hard I tried, it was going to be bad. Horrible.

I also knew I was being extremely negative but I couldn’t muster any optimism.

At the time, my attitude seemed reasonable and the terrible outcome more than a little likely.

But the world keeps spinning, seasons change, time moves on. No matter what’s happening in your life, there is always something larger than you.

Taking a simple walk or standing under a tree often gives me this much-needed shift in my thinking.

The equinox provides me perspective. The Earth turns, continuing its cycle whether I’m prepared for it or not.

I tend to get highly disappointed when my grand plans go awry but am delightfully surprised when I anticipate trouble and don’t find it. Negativity in general? Not something I’d recommend. But, once in a while, it’s helpful.

There are two things I need to keep in mind.

The first is that forcing a good day rarely, if ever, works. Often, it backfires. The second is that acknowledging my day will not be as wonderful as I want it to be allows me to let go of all expectations.

And that, gentle readers, is how I stumbled over the roots of a genuinely good day, finding balance and joy in the midst of chaos.

 

Happy Autumn!

Yes, you’re now officially allowed to break out the pumpkin spiced beer, muffins, coffee, scones, etc. (And, as always, Happy Spring to my friends in the southern hemisphere.)

 

Can you force yourself to have a good day with positive thinking? Do your positive thoughts keep you going even if things aren’t perfect? Or do you find that your expectations are impossible to meet? If you expect the worst, are you pleasantly surprised or do you dwell in that negativity?

 

* Apologies for all the post questions. I’m having a yin/yang, light/dark, positivity/negativity bit of a time here and wondering how others deal.

 

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48 thoughts on “How I Found Joy in Negativity

  1. GREAT questions, though, Sarah. I notice that if I allow my ‘funk’ to simmer, negativity grows and the day’s events just go downhill from there. I TRY to breathe in positivity, and in fact, my middle name is Pollyanna (not officially, but still…). So even bad things don’t keep me down long. If they do, if I just can’t de-funk the funk, I curl into a comfy chair, lay a soft blanket around my legs, and READ. Works like a charm.
    Thanks for your beautiful post about the world spinning, and the seasons changing, and keeping our balance with the changes and the spinning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I try not to let it simmer but definitely can’t pull off the Pollyanna outlook. (Haha! This tried to autocorrect “outlook” to “outfit” and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pull off the Pollyanna outfit, either.) But, like you, I definitely work with the funk. I sort of give in to it but I don’t feel that it’s necessarily a bad thing. I often curl up with a soft blanket and a good book. It really does work. Thanks! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was an interesting post. Yes, I agree with you.

    My mind works the same way. Distraction is a wonderful tool when you’re having a truly horrible day. So is acknowledging that this isn’t going to be a happy day for whatever reason.

    There’s always tomorrow, after all. Like you said, it could turn out to be totally different than what happened today. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes. Distraction. A wonderful tool for a horrible day. I like to read a REALLY good book that takes me into its world or do something mindless like watching a silly movie or playing a puzzle game on my computer.

      Acknowledging is great, if you can manage it but I love your Scarlett O’Hara attitude. “After all, tomorrow is another day!” ❤️

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  3. I think you know I don’t believe in forcing a good mood, but it sometimes helps to remind myself of the good things, whatever they might be. I think, however, the good bits that surprise us are the most powerful, and sometimes that means getting out and about into the situations that might deliver them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I assumed you’d agree with not forcing a good mood/day. But, yes, I do try to be grateful no matter what is happening. Sometimes it’s easier than others. You’re right – sometimes we need to put ourselves in situations that can give us that pleasant surprise.

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  4. If I know I’m going to have a challenging day, I try to plan something to look forward to, like a tasty treat, or a fun movie, or a great book, or time in the park reading. Like you, I find that going out in nature helps to broaden my perspective. Talking to friends helps, too. And writing, to clear out the gunk. Also, meditation balances me out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t like to plan anything if I know a challenging day is headed my way. I’ll “plan” something nice (like going for a walk, reading, writing…) but I don’t want to count on it. In case it doesn’t happen. (That just makes it worse for me.) But, if all I get in is a bowl of ice cream, so be it. As Lydia (and Scarlett) said, tomorrow is another day! 🙂

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  5. I have to really reign in my negativity, otherwise it has a trickle effect throughout my family. Like this past weekend. I hadn’t slept well on Saturday, but I kept it under wraps even though I was ready to bite someone’s head off. Everything was great. Sunday morning, things hadn’t improved so my husband got my vibes of stress. Boom goes the dynamite. I believe the comment my husband made was, “I should’ve taken my blood pressure medication…”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Negativity does tend to trickle down, doesn’t it? *sigh* Everything does. As moms, I sometimes feel like we’re not allowed to feel, if that makes sense. Keeping it “under wraps” is nice and all but not sure is fair to you. Parents are still human, contrary to popular belief. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well sometimes my positivity feels like I’ve been rolled flat by life’s great rolling pin; a pastry day I guess. But I don’t force it anymore than I look for the cloud or the silver lining. I just pull back the curtains and see what it looks like and dress accordingly. Just as long as, somewhere in my hemisphere there’s cake.

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  7. I took a leaf out of what I learnt in my yoga /relaxation classes when carrying my first child: Recognise that the pain will end. Don’t fight the pain, breathe in with it. If you tense up, the pain is sharper but when you breathe through the pain, you feed yourself with energy and strength to carry on and deal with things. To me, this is balance, as it recognises light and shade, positive and negative. It helps me to deal with things more robustly. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you the best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is brilliant. I’ve used pain techniques for emotional experiences (especially the breathing) but never thought about it in terms of pregnancy. If you consider balance more of a mental exercise, just recognizing and breathing through the pain so you are able to relax a bit, then, yes, I’m all about that balance. It doesn’t make it go away, but does help you deal with it. Thank you. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Forcing yourself to have a good day never works. You can try and roll with the punches and focus on the good and give thanks, but force something good to happen goes against the nature of that. I do try and keep a positive mindset even when shit inevitably hit the fan and I use bad days as fuel for graphic scenes of violence or heart tearing scenes. I call this emotional alchemy where I take what’s poisoning me and at least use it to create something worthwhile. It also helps me let go of the shit and often times, that’s the best recommendation I can give. Let go of the shit. I try to steer clear of expectations and instead focus on goals. What can I do and can I do a bit more. As for negative thinking, for the longest time that was my MO but it got to the point where it affected my interpersonal relationships, earned me a shitty reputation, and did me no service. It’s been a hell of a journey, but I’ve gotten to a better place. Does that mean bad days don’t happen? Of course not, today I honestly don’t feel fantastic to say the least but I still work to focus on the good because being thankful helps me get to a better head and heartspace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really doesn’t. But, completely agree, we can be grateful and try to go with the flow. (I’m MUCH better at the gratitude part.) You know, I use this crap for writing, too. So it’s not a total waste of a day. I’ll keep that in mind next time. 🙂 Emotional alchemy. That’s gold right there. Har. Seriously, that’s awesome. I think writers often do that. At least I do. I transmute bad experiences into great writing. (Okay…mediocre writing but still.)

      Yeah, in general, I try to remain positive. Try. It’s easier for some than others, I think. Eh, I don’t know. Anything that gets you to a better head and heart space, I’m all for that. ❤️

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  9. Thank you for your springtime wishes. I do like the sound of your autumn fare though – pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones, pumpkin pie, and roasted pumpkin are all favourites. Yum!
    I’m sorry your autumnal equinox came in the middle of a terrible, no-good, very bad week for you. But I’m also pleased that you achieved a little peace by letting go of your expectations.
    It would be very easy for me to embrace negativity. It is a constant for me, but I work hard to choose the positives and an optimistic outlook. Sometimes I wonder why I bother and don’t just curl up in a ball and admit that it’s all too hard. Somehow I don’t think that would be a very nice place to be though. We have to make the best of what we’ve got. As long as it’s not too overwhelming or life changing, I try to accept or ignore, and carry on regardless.
    I hope things have improved for you since posting. Take care of yourself, Lovely. Enjoy your cooler days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love autumn. Cool, crisp weather. Leaves changing color. Pumpkins and apples. 🙂 So beautiful.

      I did manage to get a little peace. Actually…joy. I truly enjoyed it. And I believe it was only because I let go of the expectations to have a joyous day that I was able to have one. If that makes sense.

      I work hard to choose the positive as well. It helps to be grateful (which I am much better at than being positive.) It really is easy to give into the thought that it’s all too much, too difficult. And curling up into a ball, ignoring it all, is tempting sometimes. So…we fight that. Thank you for the lovely thoughts and wishes. Take good care of yourself, too. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your kind words, Sarah. I’m pleased you found joy – when you stopped looking for it. Isn’t that just the way! We’ll have to buoy each other to avoid curling up into those balls. It’s too difficult to straighten out again! Take care, Lovely.

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  10. I’ve found changing the way I think about things has helped me to have more positive days, if that makes sense. Taking ten minutes to meditate and clear a lot of crap each morning helps, too. But life often throws curve balls hard enough to shatter glass and lives, and all the positive thinking and meditating in the world won’t change that. So basically I count my blessings for now, and hold out hope that one of those suckers doesn’t come out of nowhere.

    Hope you’re feeling better this week x

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a great attitude. It probably helps a lot but, honestly, there are so many things (health, bad situations, other people’s behavior) that are out of my control and well beyond my mental reach. Mind control would be awesome right about now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Some days I let the crap wash over me and just wallow, because I know it will pass and there will always be something that will help me push it aside. Other days, I power through and actively look for the positive in ANYTHING. Current affairs across the globe will drag anyone’s mood down, so I am choosing to see the good, to search for the niceness and kindness and light. I’m smiling a lot more at people. It actually does help!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some days I do walk around searching for good. Anything at all. If you look hard enough, you can find it. But…there’s something to be said for wallowing. I completely agree. It gets me through sometimes because it will pass and I just want to be left alone with a glass of wine and a blanket and a good book. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

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