Recognize/Focus on "progress" or what's going right each day
Don't let negative setbacks drown or mask progress even if powerful
Celebrate progress of small wins, no matter how trivial to keep momentum
Growth Mindset instead of Fixed Mindset
Example: Instead of "Plan A didn't work" think "At least the alphabet has 26 letters")
POSITIVE ATTITUDE ATTRIBUTES
- Optimistic about the future
- Helping attitude
- Proud of accomplishments
- Positive body language
- Can DO mentality
- Reflecting Self confidence
- Calm and positive reaction to criticisms
- Converting challenges to opportunities
To the outward eye, those who are not around me daily may think that I choose to avoid certain activities because I am depressed. I honestly do not feel like that is the case, at least not all of the time. There may be moments or days that are depressing, but I do not believe that I am experiencing severe or continuous depression. Yes, I am exhausted mentally and physically. Yes, I am sleeping more, not functioning as well as I'd like, and not participating in activities or going out of the house as much as I'd like. Yes I am frustrated and at times overwhelmed. Yes I admit that there are times that I get "down". The fact of the matter is - I WANT to do things, I DESIRE to do things, I FIND PLEASURE spending time with my family, and I ENJOY life. I like watching movies, though at home is my preference now, and find myself smiling and laughing. None of that has changed. I just DESPISE how my body feels afterwards (and sometimes during). The energy and strength is just not present the way that I need it to be, even for simple everyday task. It's not that I'm sad. It's not that I want to stay home. My body just completely shuts down on me, and yes, I hate that. Contrary to what some may think, I do not sit around during the day crying over what I can't do. My focus is not on my limitations. Instead, I usually take things in stride - go with the flow - and try to listen to what my body tells me. There are times that I actually rebel against my body and do things that I want to do, regardless of how my body will react or what consequences may follow. Yes, I often regret those decisions, at least partially. Yet, I also see the value and pleasure - even if short-lived- in the choices I make.
My family and those closest to me recognize the "real" me most of the time. (Even if I do try to hide my symptoms.) They see my heart, my drive, my Faith, and my positivity. My health may be compromised, but my love for others shines through effortlessly. Sometimes I have to strive harder to demonstrate what I think positivity should "look" like. Deep down, I want to appear positive and happy, I want to appear like I have everything under control. I want to appear as though I have no worries or concerns. I believe that this is my way of protecting the ones I love from seeing the reality of uncertainty and pain of continued sickness. I call this being "fake" at times, though in all honesty it's not completely the truth. My intentions are not fake, they come from a place of love, trust, and yes - even inner positivity. So while I may put on a mask to hide how I feel physically or mentally at the moment, the mask is not completely a lie all of the time. Many times it is a reflection of my inner heart and soul that's being hidden or held hostage by the fatigue, nausea, pain, or concerns. For example, smiling when I feel my absolute worst or when I feel like I can no longer go on. The smile may be "forced" or may even occur naturally, yet it's still created by the love, comfort, or peace that I feel for being around whoever it is - whether it's a family member or even a doctor. A smile doesn't necessarily have to mean that I am completely happy or feeling great. A smile from me can also represent that I'm still human, that I enjoy your company, or even that I trust in the care being provided. A smile can mean that I treasure someone so much that I don't want them to worry or even though frustrated and feeling awful, that a part of me is still alive and wants my medical team to see me as a person and actually like me enough to give their all to help me feel better. It's easier to help a kind person with a smile. In addition, smiles are contagious, so smiling (even if it is a pretend one or a front) helps others around me smile, which is undoubtedly a nice "pick-me-up" when I'm not feeling well.
I'm beginning to understand and recognize that being positive doesn't mean that I am never sad, upset, mad, doubting, scared, or unsure. I can experience all of these emotions and more and still be authentically positive. Positivity can be witnessed by smiling when in despair, hopeful in the future, or a hug when falling apart. Also positivity can simply be portraying gratitude to loved ones that are near and expressing appreciation for those that help me along the way. It's having Faith that God will pull me through, the strength to just hold on for just one more day (or even hour if needed) until things calm, and acknowledging all of the miracles and beauty surrounding me every single day. Positivity is never giving up even when everything else in my body tells me otherwise and believing that everything will fall into place one day - just as God intends it to. There may be numerous things going wrong, but there are always just as many things going right. I just have to remind myself to take a moment to breathe and guide my mind to focus on the things that are great in my life.
Positivity is internalizing that even when the battles are rough and the war within my body seems relentless and never-ending, that I am still blessed beyond measure - surrounded by an almighty God, loving family, compassionate friends, and a caring medical team.