It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful for my very cool, very chill, big brother. His example of cheerfulness and optimism blows me away. I wish you could all meet him. My siblings and I have a running online discussion going. It started out as a handy way to keep tabs on Dad and Mom since Mom’s last hospitalization. It’s evolved into a kind of self-help group as well a way for keeping in touch with each other.
I know we’ve never communicated as well as we have this past year or so. We even include spouses in the discussions, so we get multiple points of view on things. It’s always supportive, educational and often funny. Yeah, we even disagree from time to time. And that’s okay, too. It’s real.
Not long ago, in answer to one of the sibs concerns, my oldest brother responded in a surprising rapid-fire response of images.
These very images, in fact, every image on this page today:
That’s only a few of them. Here’s some more:
Those showed up on the messenger feed bam, bam, bam, like he already had them right there ready to shoot out at any threatening negatives. Pretty impressive.
His wife, the most cheerful, energetic person I’ve ever met, chimed in on the discussion with this, “Just so you all know we have these gems and more posted ALL over our house!!!” I’d love to see the rest of them. I suppose I’m overdue for a visit.
This one had the biggest impact on me.
“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” ~ Rita Schiano
Isn’t that mostly what you encounter when you watch, read or listen to the news? All these problems to be faced, figured out and fixed. It’s part of why I had to step away from so much input from the news media.
As part of this same conversation my brother also said, “I watch some news but counter it with at least 4X Disney or Pixar or Stupid People doing funny stuff.” He quotes animated movies all the time. “Put your hands up Maurice, it’s more fun that way!” I think that might count as his favorite, but I could be wrong.
My other favorite picture he posted looks like this:
I like the twist on the classic optimist versus pessimist question.
I personally tend to lean heavily toward a nearly-empty glass most of the time, which seems weird. If you knew me you’d be surprised to hear that. But Depression can do that to you. So can hard times that follow seemingly one after another with little break in between.
I think it’s time to change that perspective.
Will a bunch of happy posters and memes, affirmations and positive thoughts cure depression. No, not likely. But, they could help. They’ve helped him through some really tough stuff. I suppose knowing how far he’s come to get where he is today makes me believe his take on things. Makes me want to try his angle out for a while and see where I end up.
After all, I’ve been working the gratitude thing for a while, (twenty years) but still find myself bogged down in some muck, unable to move forward or see light ahead some days. The negative gets the better of me from time to time and I have to work myself out of it.
Maybe I need to add to my arsenal. Maybe I simply need some direct, in my face, smile and wave reminders. Like small inanimate cheerleaders on the sidelines of my life. Go team!
I suppose this last one sums up what I’m thinking most accurately. I wonder if we, me specifically, expect life sometimes to present itself as happy. “Oh, look, happiness!” we’d say surprisingly as it skips towards us. I’m really sure that does NOT happen. There’s some decision making that goes on in the process of being happy.
Thanks, big brother, for your leadership, friendship and example. You rock!
So here goes. I’m making a conscious choice. I’m choosing happiness today. Call me Pollyanna. Call me Crazy. Call me Happy.