Make The Best . . . Forget The Rest!

I’ve always been really irritated by platitudes. Perky pep talks can just annoy the hell out of me when I’m already aggravated about something or fixated on some prickly frustration the way we can’t seem to leave a scab alone or stop running our tongues over a sensitive tooth.

So of course, The Shower Team just loves to chime in sometimes with the kind of message that they know I tend to resist sharing. It’s this great game we have going on.

Nevertheless, I recently found myself yet again pondering the merits of what we often refer to as positive thinking . . . and more specifically, the idea that we can and should forget about telling it like it is and focus on telling it like we want it to be, if only to ourselves.

Even as we begin to offer this to you, we can feel the tide of resistance in you swelling. We can hear the groans and moans and see the eyes rolling about yet another mouthful of sickly sweet Pollyanna Bismo. We can see and feel how hard it is for you take this advice . . . and once again your resistance is mostly about your belief—your frequently practiced thoughts—about being realistic and facing facts and not burying your head in the sand or not sticking your head in the clouds or not keeping your head up your ass.

And with regard to all those alternatives, we say . . . thumb your nose at them all you want . . . scorn or ridicule the notion of focusing on the positive aspects until you are (literally) blue in the face, and you will still ultimately prove us right. You can hold yourself in bad humor. You can focus on the ugly facts (and no one is disputing that they are sometimes ugly). You can face the unpleasantness you often call “reality” and you can dig in your heels and refuse to budge from your surly vantage point and in spite of all that determined and self-defeating effort you will still end up kicking the bucket and passing back into the bliss, the pure positive energy and the well being that was there and available to you all along. And then no one will be laughing harder than you at the fuss you made over the “facts” (we’re already getting quite a kick out of it).

Why postpone the inevitable joy? Why hold on to your view of what you don’t like and wish were different when you could begin to enjoy the satisfaction available to you here and now by simply choosing to focus on the best aspects of where you are, the best aspects of what you are doing, the best aspects of who you are with?

Often you will say, “But I don’t want to keep this thing going. I don’t want to stay here where I am or stay with this loser I’m with . . .” and you worry that by making the best of where you are, you will somehow perpetuate that undesired situation—all the while missing the point that what you really want is to feel good. You want a different job because you think it will make you feel good. You want more bucks in the bank because you think it will make you feel good. You want a cuter, sweeter, kinder, smarter, sexier, etc. partner because you think it will make you feel good. Seeing a pattern here?

And yet you continue to insist that things change so you can feel good while we continue to tell you to feel good so that things can change. And we’re right back where we always start with you in this process. So at the risk of repeating ourselves again and again, we would really REALLY like to see you just try our approach. Make it an experiment.

Start your day by taking a few minutes to decide—maybe even write down—how you are going to make the best of that day, or how you are going to make the best of some particular situation. And then do what you decided to do. Follow through and then throughout the day, continuously remind yourself to make the best of wherever you are or whatever you are doing in whatever way that you can. At the end of the day, notice (again perhaps in writing) what you liked or enjoyed or appreciated most about that day. Try it for a week or better yet, for a month or two or three. Make it your “Feeling Better Lab” and at the end of the experience, take note of what changed for you.

You’ve explored the potential for making the worst of things. You’ve given that a royal go and made yourself pretty proficient at it. Apparently you are less than thrilled with the results. So why not try it from the other point of view? Why not just see how it goes for you when you make up your mind that you are genuinely, diligently going to make the best and forget the rest . . .

Our promise to you is that if you make this your sincere approach even for a relatively short period of time, you will be awed by the results. You won’t believe how your life will begin to improve. You will be shocked at how good you start to feel—assuming you’re into that sort of thing . . .


I have to admit this brings out the mad scientist in me. Leave it to the Team to step skillfully past my objections to platitudes and to basically dare me to feel better. Maybe it’s my Mercury in Aries but I could never resist a good mental challenge. I’ll show Them/Me.

I’m already plotting about which crappy conditions to make the best of (Note to Self: Rephrase “crappy conditions”). That leaves me feeling both a little twisted—and for the moment, determinedly complete.

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on July 8, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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