Think about that for a moment: An organism can turn suffering into a thing of beauty.
My grandmother's name was Pearl. And she was beautiful. But in her lifetime, she suffered some heartbreaking losses -- not the least of which were the deaths of three babies, as well as an adult son and the death of her husband after 65 years of marriage.
Still, Grandma Pearl was a gem. She loved to laugh, and she loved to make people laugh. And when she died at the ripe age of 97, there wasn't a dry eye in the church.
Another person I know -- her name is Sarah -- embodies many of the positive traits my Grandma Pearl had (which is really kind of odd because Sarah is a few years younger than I am).
It's like a golden aura that deflects negativity surrounds Sarah. She is kind, upbeat, patient, helpful, and quick to offer encouragement. Even when she should be knocking heads or planning a blanket party, she's cheerful. Whenever I walk away from a conversation with Sarah, I always feel better -- maybe not about my situation, but I always feel more confident about my ability to handle my situation with grace.
Both Grandma Pearl and Sarah have been true blessings to me.
When I realized I needed to make a change in my life, I decided that was the kind of person I wanted to be for others.
I wanted to be a blessing for others. Unfortunately, that golden aura of positive energy doesn't appear overnight.
It takes awhile to build, and it takes a conscious effort to be a more positive person to keep it glowing.
The easiest way to start living the life of a more positive person is by looking for ways to build others up.
Imagine what people feel when you leave a conversation. Do they feel built up, put down or indifferent?
You said built up, right? It's not an option to leave someone feeling negative or indifferent about your presence.
Making someone feel put down is a double whammy; it leaves them with feelings of doubt (about you and about themselves), and whether you want to admit it or not, it unsettles your spirit.
And leaving an indifferent impression offers no reward for you. That might seem a tad selfish, but your need for fulfillment is just as important as those whose needs you're trying to fulfill.
- Start approaching tasks and relationships with poise, confidence (even if it feels feigned) and a deep breath.
- Don't expect miracles. In fact, don't expect any immediate reaction from anyone. Your shift into a positive frame of mind should be subtle (lest people think you're developing a disorder).
- Make eye contact.
- Tune in to the mood of your surroundings.
- Give compliments when compliments are due.
- Offer encouragement.
- Be quick to forgive. There is great power in absolution.
- Perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis. (If you have a little extra cash and you really want a rush, walk into a restaurant or coffee bar and anonymously pay a portion or the whole tab for a stranger.)
- Visit a friend's Facebook page and leave them a positive message.
Pick an item from the list, do it, and then let me know what kind of an impact it made on your day. Either tweet at me, send me an email or leave a comment below.
On Thursday: Maintaining a positive attitude when dealing with Negative Nelly.