I have a feeling. The baby buds of a feeling, if you want me to share the specifics. It’s an itty-bitty hint. A twinkling inkling.
Know what it is? I feel like a corner has been turned.
I feel like things are getting better.
Maybe it’s spring that’s doing it. There’s that moment in winter — some bitter Tuesday in February — when all the trees are bare and look dead, but you know within each dormant tree are all the hopeful buds of spring. All those potential leaves and blooms and fruits are inside that tree, just waiting for the right moment to unfurl.
And that’s what today feels like to me. The world is unfurling.
I am going to hold on to that feeling and let it take me past the anxiety, past the worry and past the relentless drumbeat of bad news.
Last Friday’s free class on dealing with anxiety around the roller coaster economy, vanishing jobs and the uncertain world touched on this subject. If you’d like to listen to the recording of the session, go to www.lifeframeworks.com and click the play button just below my photo.
In the call, I cover 10 Things You Can Do Right Now To Stop Freaking Out. Catchy, huh? Number 8 “Be with positive people” prompted a couple of questions — how do you deal with negative or toxic people?
First, you have to identify the negative people in your life. They may be so close to you that you’re not even aware of their negativity — because they’re your husband, your wife, your mom, your best friend. Who’s negative? If you walk away from an interchange with them and you feel depleted, discouraged and generally down — they’re likely negative. If you mention something positive and they immediately turn it toward the dark side — they’re likely negative. If they use a lot of words like “can’t”, “won’t” and “shouldn’t” — negative.
Once you know who the negative people are, you can do the second thing. Which is: limit your exposure to them. “My husband? Limit my exposure to him? Exactly how?” you ask. I like the technique I learned when my kids were in the Terrible Twos — simply say, “Gosh, sounds like you’re really upset and need some time to get a handle on things. I’m going to go into the next room, and when you’re ready to talk calmly, come get me.” Then you smile and give a virtual pat on the head and go fold laundry.
Negativity usually stems from fears. And some of those fears are real, and some are imagined. For instance, were I to stand face to face with a bear my heart rate would climb, my mind would race, I’d sweat buckets, I would panic, I might even whimper a teeny-tiny bit. Those would all be normal reactions to facing a bear. However, I can have pretty much the same physical reactions by simply imagining that I’m standing in front of a bear. Ain’t no bear in the neighborhood, but I’m behaving as if there is one. Why do that?
Some people imagine a charging bear because they like the adrenaline rush. Some people imagine something terrible because it reinforces the negative view they have of the world. And some people imagine the worst because it gives them something to focus on.
I’ll tell you one thing: when you focus on the negative, you generally find it. And if you’re surrounded on every side by negativity, all you’ll see is the bad. You’ll never see the happy buds of spring, you’ll just see dead, lifeless trees.
Dadgummit, I am going to see the buds. I’m going to be happy. Because I feel happy. Not wishful, magical-thinking happy, but what I call “centered enthusiasm” — I know what’s going on in my world, and I’m still eager, enthusiastic and positive. Feels really right.
Why don’t you try centered enthusiasm this week, and see if it doesn’t shift your mood from negative to positive, from dark to light, from dormant to joyful blossoming blooms?
Go ahead — allow the unfurling to begin.