Since I announced jumping off the "Positivity" Train in a post a few months back, there have been a few people bewildered by my participation in the Gratitude Sunday project.
As I said in my aforementioned, extra ranty, post, a lot of what we refer to as the positivity movement feels like a high pressure sales pitch towards a fake, sugar coated life. It's a bunch of people editing photos, mailing out newsletters and running websites that make some readers - including this one - question the value of the lives they're living and doles out guilt for not making each and every moment of every single day on this Earth magical and special and memorable.
It makes you look around your house or apartment, at the streets, suburbs or familiar woods outside of your home and sigh, "Why can't this be tropical paradise?" It makes you long for a magically easy way to make a living, to globe trot, to throw common sense on the fire and follow whimsy. Seriously, who doesn't that sound good to? Unfortunately, it's not feasible for most people and really, why should we feel badly for having a good, if not exotic, life? What's the point in creating guilt or feelings of failure in your readers? Isn't that sort of, kind of, the opposite of being legitimately positive?
For those reasons, I've quit reading any and all blogs, newsletters, etc that fall in to that vein. I don't want your snake oil disguised as sunshine, thanks. What I do want though, is to be healthily positive and to find the up sides in the life I'm living. Not the shoulda, woulda, coulda life or the unrealistic fairy tale one; the real one I'm living. Right here, right now.
Thinking back on a day, or a week, and finding things which I can say with certainty that I am grateful for is a good way for me to do that. It's not a sugar coated way of putting a positive spin on a crap day, because let's face it, some days are just shit. That's the honest to goodness truth. But even in those shit days, there may be one little ray of sunshine that you would have overlooked if you didn't think back on it at the end of the day.
Nothing life changing, mind you, though it could be. I'm talking something simple, like a delicious piece of cake, no line at your favorite coffee spot, a silly photo message from a friend, a well timed hug from a loved one or a fucking great nap. Keeping a list of these awesome bright spots helps keep me from focusing on the fact that the other 23 hours of the day were total bull shit and helps me clear my mind and go to bed without a little black rain cloud over my head.
It shifts my perspective just enough to remind me that while everything isn't always sunshine and unicorn farts, it's also not always a deep dark cave of deep dark despair, either. And for me, that honest gratitude is a fuck ton more beneficial than any highly polished pitch about what I should be doing to improve my life. Or rather, how to edit your life to seem perfect.
Because, fuck all that.