I’m a positive kind of a girl.
My dad use to call me Pollyanna when I was little😊. I recalled this recently while reading or listening to others declaring their own fondness for this much maligned, happy-go-lucky character.
In case you’re not familiar, Pollyanna was an orphan who went to live with her cold, spinster aunt. Pollyanna’s dad had taught her ‘The Glad Game’: find the good in everything. By the end of the movie, Pollyanna has transformed the lives of many in the local town, including her aunt’s who marries her former lover. I’ll leave the rest in case you find yourself broswing Amazon Prime later!😉
Now I have my own life pests – comparisonitis and perfectionism, oh yeah! – but overall I’m the one who sees the glass half full. My husband has tendencies to the half empty….I’m always saying life’s about balance!🤣
There was a time, decades in fact, when being Little Miss Positive felt like an affliction. As life unfolded and loved ones faced challenges, I’d find myself saying automatic responses along the lines of, ‘it’ll get better, it always does.’ Not helpful when you’re husband’s just left you or your cat has just died🤦🏻♀️.
There were a number of years when I swung the other way: either withholding saying anything for fear of sounding surface, or else being blunt. That wasn’t very satisfying (or compassionate) either😩.
So how to recover?
Step one: offer your presence to another. When someone is suffering, the biggest difference you can make it to listen. Just listen. Truly listen.
This means separating yourself from your own feelings and opinions about the situation – especially if it directly affects you. It also means leaving aside any tendency to ‘listen just so you can take your turn and get your point in afterwards.’
Think of this listening practice as an opportunity to wear your big girl pants!
Simply saying something along the lines of, ‘I am here for you’ or ‘I’m all ears’ is a great way to start. You’re letting the other person know you’re there for them and you’re reminding yourself of your own intention at the same time.
Of course, once you’ve fully understood how they’re feeling then you can move on to step two and offer some positive words…or not. You may find you don’t even need to.
So there you have it: the makings of a Pollyanna sequel.
Hope this adds something to your day.
Let’s flourish together!👭