How I Found Joy in Negativity

 

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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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The Green-Eyed Fish (Okay! I Admit It…I’m Jealous)

 

When my writer friends get published, I’m happy.

 

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Seriously.

I send them cyber hugs and virtual cake and buy their books.

Lucy, over at Blonde Write More, wrote a post about becoming jealous of your friends when they have success in the writing world and how to stay positive about yourself.

I enjoyed this post, but it made me realize how not jealous I am.

I’m genuinely happy for my fellow writers.

Although, one of her points was developing “writing confidence issues”. Ah. Yes. Those.

That’s when I realized I am jealous.

I’m a big, jealous, green-eyed Lemon Shark.

But it’s not other writers’ successes.

I’m envious of their freedom to fuck up. Of their risk-taking. Their ability to knock the internal critic off their shoulder and just go for it.

Just write.

I’m forever holding myself back. Hesitant of hitting ‘publish’ on my blog. Self-editing as I work on my novels. Riddled with self-doubt as I type.

So, yes, gentle readers, I’m envious of you.

For not caring what others think. For giving yourself a break. For swearing on your blog. For writing whatever the hell you want to write.

I’m getting there. Slowly. *deep breath* Just write.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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Do you get jealous of other writers’ successes? If not, is there anything other writers do that you’re envious of? Can you be supportive and jealous at the same time? 

 

* Yes, a shark is a fish. That’s not a typo.

 

Just Say ‘No’

 

I am overwhelmed.

 

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(All I can think of is The Princess Bride: “Is this a kissing book?“)

“Is this a complaining post?”

No.

Sort of.

Not really.

When I wrote Envy and Honesty six months ago, I had no idea how many writers were struggling.

This is huge, people.

Listen.

I’m not going to whine but I will say that you are not alone in feeling stressed.

Falling behind on blogging? Haven’t written for a day (or a week)? Give yourself a pass.

I know. There are endless articles telling us what we SHOULD do and COULD do if we REALLY want to and if we TRY HARDER and MAKE the time.

This is awesome if you’re asking for a kick in the ass. Sometimes you need a nudge, you know?

Personally, I’m sick and bloody tired of seeing this “advice” directed toward all writers. Because we are all different.

Excuses aside, this type of boot camp approach does not work for everyone. It might be motivating to some but is detrimental to others.

If you’re overwhelmed, stop reading that stuff. I know this is blasphemy, but…it’s just a blog. It’s just a word count.

Please. Give yourself a break.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

If you’re overwhelmed, do you feel pressured to keep up or do you take a break from blogging/commenting/social media? 

 

 

No, Thanks – I Don’t Need a New Car

 

I dropped a bomb on Monday.

 

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I’ve had super supportive, somewhat supportive, thought provoking, and downright disapproving comments on that post. The only thing they have in common is that they’re amazing.

I love every single one of them.

They made me think of a conversation I had with a friend of mine about validation.

Most people need it. Not many like to talk about it.

There are two types: External and Internal.

People are primarily motivated by one type of validation or the other. There are positive and negative aspects of each (which I won’t get into here).

External needs approval from the outside world.

Internal needs approval from within.

When your inside says “I look horrible”, it doesn’t matter how many people say “You look great!” Because. Internal.

Well, that’s me.

I could be at a party with 50 people all saying they love my hair and, if I don’t like it, I’d leave at the end of the night still hating my hair.

But just because I’m an Internal Val kind of gal doesn’t mean I don’t want to get compliments on my hair. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to get lovely comments from my readers.

Although my validation comes from within, I still value others’ opinions.

It’s not where I live—I don’t need it in order to feel good enough. However, I appreciate it because it causes me to reflect, to look at myself or a situation in a different light. (Also, it’s nice to hear.)

I always love the comments from my readers; they are interesting, thought-provoking, funny, and helpful. But I am truly touched by the comments from my friends on that post. A heartfelt thanks to you all for taking the time to share, support, and commiserate.

So I dropped a blog bomb and it blew up in my comment section. (In a good way.)

Also, behind the scenes, I received quite a few unexpected phone calls, emails, tweets, and DMs.

There was a lot of serendipity.

I’m in the eye of the storm, I believe. Because things have calmed a bit, giving me a chance to think more clearly. But there are dark clouds headed my way.

See you on the other side.

 

My Sunday thoughts in (a bit over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you think about validation? Are you an Internal or External? Do you get your validation from yourself or others?

 

 

Update: I was just today reminded of this post by Gulara Vincent: When Quitting is Healthy. Her post is more goal-oriented than giving up on a dream but it’s similar in that quitting can sometimes be a positive thing. It’s definitely worth a read.