GUEST BLOG by Amanda S

 

Negativity – there’s a lot of it about – it’s a pandemic and horribly prevalent at the moment.  Those grey clouds loom above you, threatening to envelope you, smother you; so disorientating that they can be difficult to find your way out of.  Coming from a family who seemed to enjoy flagellating themselves with the cat’o’nine tails of negativity, I have always been fearful that there could be a predisposition.  And I don’t want to go there…

Oh, don’t worry – I’m not one of those people who seem relentlessly cheerful.  We all need a moment to wallow in self- pity, allow ourselves to be miserable or be able to think how rubbish life can be but once acknowledged and owned, how do we move on?   How do we avoid becoming trapped in that web of negativity?

I’ve had my time – when I’ve wondered why life is dealing me such an appalling hand, when I’ve asked ‘Why me?’  It’s as if I am being tested to breaking point – and I have broken – I have waded into the sea of depression and I still swim in the river of anxiety from time to time.  Don’t get me wrong: I have taken anti-depressants and they have their place; I have seen counsellors many of whom have been immensely useful in helping me sort through the mess of jigsaw pieces that is my life and me and given me tool-kits to ‘dip into’ when needed.  But I have found something that has always made me stop myself from being swept away to negativity.

A simple seed.

What I call the seed of positivity…well, it started out as a crumb, actually…you know that saying ‘crumb of comfort’?  Well that’s what I looked for – that crumb of comfort during times of utter craptitude – that tiniest morsel of hope deep in the heart of the cowpat you find yourself entrenched in.  But then I realised that a crumb never changes – it remains a crumb – in fact, crumbs can disintegrate breaking up into smaller and smaller crumbs until they eventually become dust.

So instead I focussed on finding the seed of positivity.  Rummage deep enough, sometimes it takes every last ounce of determination to keep looking for it, but I guarantee you that once found this tiny seed can have immense restorative and transformative powers.  For seeds you can plant, and from seeds grow new life, hope, knowledge, strength.  Seeds need nurturing, loving – watering with kindness and fed with self-love – not in some narcissistic way – but just accepting myself, loving myself – being able to look at myself in the mirror and know that I’m doing alright.

Let me give you a personal example – my father rejected me when I was born (Victorian values and his first born should have been a son – hardly my fault) but has remained in my life (with a 10 year absence, but that’s another story!).  I nearly tore myself apart trying to work out what I had done wrong – self analysing, self-criticising, self-blaming. I spent nigh on 30 years trying to prove my worth, trying to win him over, win his love and affirmation. It was a very bleak period in my life and I became a person lacking in self-worth and self-confidence.

But then I began to dig and sift through all the mess and mud and I found the seed – that tiny seed of positivity and I have clung onto that seed.  I realised that my father’s attitude and behaviour had actually made me into a really rather determined person – a person who refuses to give up, a person who makes mistakes and accepts them and uses them to learn and develop – but with compassion and kindness.

I could have allowed myself to be eaten up with anger and bitterness – I have those emotions and that’s ok, but I haven’t let them stay – those are emotions that will bleed you dry, they take so much energy to harbour and feed.   I have watched a family member become angry and bitter, but stay angry and bitter and they seem tired, jaded, emanating negative energy.  Their glass is always half empty; some moron will drive the wrong way up a one-way street; it’s always someone else’s fault…get my drift.

The seed of positivity, whilst needing nurture, is actually far easier to maintain: once found and focussed on, it seems to work it’s magic.  With the seed you can always go back to it – look at it – remind yourself of its qualities, its meaning.   And it will grow – and you will grow.

We grow as people; the seed has the power to reaffirm our goodness, our strength, our self-love, self-worth and self-belief.  It helps us with our continued development – as we evolve in response to life and the situations that get thrown at us.

I remember a time when my mother died after a sudden illness, we were in the throes of selling a house which was financially crippling us, I was self-employed, it was a recession and my husband’s small business was struggling…all I needed was for my husband to announce he was divorcing me and I would have had the holy trinity of most stressful life events. How did I react?  Hiding under the duvet for a fortnight was a consideration but instead I faced the whole melee down.

Have you ever seen the Peter Kay dunking biscuit sketch? Well, I am a hobnob – ‘Again, again – I’m going nowhere – is that all you’ve got – come on!’  This is now my attitude to when life gets tough – whatever mightier force there is, it can throw whatever it likes at me – I may cry, I may get angry, I may be anxious, miserable or depressed, I may stumble, I may fall – but I will always get back up, clinging tightly to that seed of positivity.

What the seed of positivity allows us to do is to turn a negative into a positive – to move forward – to find meaning, purpose, understanding, acceptance of a situation that would otherwise have the potential to drown us, suck us into those eddying grey waters.  And the great thing is there are no limits to the number of seeds you can have.

Any miserable situation you find yourself in, there is a positive seed in there somewhere – you just need to look. I have found seeds buried in the mire of bereavement, in making the wrong career choice, in financial difficulties.  Sometimes it’s incredibly challenging to find, but don’t give up – however small, it’s in there somewhere.

Bad stuff happens – that is life – its how we react that counts….

So please, find that seed of positivity – plant that seed and grow your own ‘positivi-tree!’

 

Author Biog

 

Amanda S is a wife, mother and in her late 40s has embarked on a portfolio career as a freelancer project officer for a charity, a private tutor, and a copywriter and proofreader for the business she runs with her husband.  She also runs a community dance group and is studying for her Reiki Level 2.  Amanda previously worked in business and education.

 

 

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