Day 2: One Small Change at a Time

How did it go?

It was already easier to get up this morning, though that may have had to do with the fact that today was my short day at work. (I’m sure we all get excited when we have those, right?)

I finished the TED Radio Hour podcast episode this morning on “Success,” and I began (and finished) “Disruptive Leadership.” Both helped me to maintain a positive outlook on my commute and even through my short work day. Mike Rowe’s piece in “Success” helped me to be grateful not only for the job I currently hold, but also to those who have jobs that make our civilized life easier. “Disruptive Leadership” taught me that we can lead in small ways, ways that may seem insignificant at first but can create a ripple, which I translated to mean that even a small change is good. (I also thought my husband would like General Stanley McChrystal’s story on what leadership means to him.)

And if small change can be good, then that means that even if today was just a little better—not perfect by any means, just a little better—then that’s okay.

In my desire to stay in positivity today, I took a look at the printout of the 10 Ways to Practice Mindfulness that I put on a wall in my office, and a few things struck me. First: “mindfulness isn’t about chasing positivity.” I know what you’re thinking—“but you’re doing a 30 day positivity challenge! Aren’t you chasing positivity?” Yes…and no. I am simply trying to retrain my mind to be more positive, to not focus on the negative so much. The second was “there’s beauty in realizing you don’t like something.” There is a sense of freedom in finally seeing “hey, I don’t like this.” Because then you have the power to change it.

And it’s great those hit me today because I struggled with a few questions last night as I was trying to quiet my mind. Does saying “no” count as being negative? Does finding what you value (or don’t value even) count as negativity? Is saying “I don’t want to” or “I don’t want that” negativity? Would you count “I don’t like that” as being negative? Is deciding what you don’t want in life, a career, etc. being negative? Then, most importantly: what is negativity?

What did I learn?

What these questions, and taking another look at the print out, showed me is that I was trying to go about this in a “law-like” way—this is positive, that is negative—instead of following my heart or what God is telling me.

I learned positivity can actually help guide me to finding what I love to do, what I want to be doing. In the days since I had this idea and started writing, I have never been more excited for an endeavor. It feels purposeful, fulfilling, and meaningful. I am finally using the journal my husband got me for Christmas in the way I truly intended to use it, and that makes me so happy. I finally have a reason to bring it with me everywhere.

I’ve also learned there’s a freedom that comes with seeing what you value (or don’t value), in accepting things for the way they are, and in not needing to immediately apply a meaning to every interaction or situation. This freedom has already let me experience my day in a more positive way.

I’ve already noticed that, while she helps my depressive symptoms and anxiety, I’m more patient (and, yes, positive) with Belle. I see even her differently.

I’ve also learned positivity can be found through a variety of sources when I need a distraction to help with the depressive symptoms. Walking or playing with Belle, writing it out, podcasts, reading…they all help me to maintain a positive outlook because I can get out of my head for just a little while, enough at least to go “I’m okay for now.”

And sometimes that seemingly small change, that “I’m okay for now,” will make the biggest impact.

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