Sharing the Positive

IMG_8227This has been on my mind to write for awhile.

I’m a member of several Facebook groups, like Humans of New York and the Kindness Challenge. But I also click any link that promises a happy story, one that highlights the positive things my fellow man does.

While most of the comments on these positive posts are encouraging and loving, I do sometimes see people ask why the person filmed and shared what they did instead of just quietly and altruistically doing it.

While I understand the sentiment, I also know that we’re in a world where, if it’s not captured by a cameraphone or on social media, it didn’t happen.

The news inundates us with all the worst stuff that people do to one another. I don’t care if the people who share these videos are looking for attention. I don’t care if they wouldn’t do this nice stuff if no one was watching.

I care that they did something nice for another human being, and I get to see that good stuff happens in the world. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Good deeds are good deeds, no matter the motivation. Spreading positivity is always better than the alternative.

We’re in an increasingly connected, visible world. I can’t imagine what it must be like, as a teenager and young adult, to have all the stupid things you said and did preserved in a public forum. So when someone shares a video of some kindness they did, don’t look at it as vanity (though it might be). Look at it as a product of the times, and be glad you got to see someone doing something nice for one another.

The world can always use more kindness.

Q is for Quotes

I have always loved quotes.  I found an old notebook where I wrote quotes as a kid, a practice that I’ve recently started back up.  I have a board on Pinterest especially for quotes.

Quotes combine two of the things I love the most: words and positivity.  The right quote can express a mood, set a tone, or sometimes just put hard to express feelings into words.  Sometimes a quote can help motivate me, or help me to motivate others.  They cheer me up when I’m having a tough day.  Here are a handful of ones I’ve enjoyed recently.


“There’s nothing interesting about looking perfect — you lose the point. You want what you’re wearing to say something about you, about who you are.”

-Emma Watson


“Look on every exit as an entrance somewhere else.”

-Tom Stoppard

IMG_0269 - Version 2

Cheerfulness is what greases the axles of the world. Don’t go through life creaking.

~ H.W. Byles

Do you have any favorite quotes, or any you like lately?

It Really Is a Wonderful Life

IMG_2964It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is one of my all time favorite movies, not just for Christmas, but in general.  Since I was a kid, I’ve watched this almost every year.

I recently got to see this movie in the theater, something I never thought I’d be able to do.  Alamo Drafthouse plays old movies, and we bought tickets as soon as we spotted it on the schedule.  I’ve seen the movie many, many times, and I cry every time.  I cry in the beginning, and then again in the end.  Oh, and I also cry with Mr. Gower is hitting George.  Okay, I pretty much cry during the whole movie.  Your heart must be made of stone if you don’t.  The end of the movie played along with background noises of sniffling and blowing noses.  To use a cliche, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

What I love about this movie is that George Bailey is an ordinary guy forced to be extraordinary because of his situation.  Sure, he could have made different choices.  He could have chosen to do what Mr. Gower told him to and deliver the pills.  He could have chosen to go off to college and say “To Hell with the building and loan!”  He could have taken Mr. Potter up on his job offer.  But he didn’t do any of these things.  To him, he lived an ordinary life.  He lived in a drafty old house with lots of kids, an older car, and struggled to make ends meet.  He didn’t get to travel, the way he wanted to.

What he couldn’t see, what none of us can see, is how many lives we’ve touched.  Sometimes it seems like we’re in this life alone, doesn’t it?  In some ways, I think social media reinforces this concept because we can all see other people’s lives, but we’re not directly involved in them.

But the fact is, each and every one of us affect others in ways that we can’t possibly understand.  We’re not likely to have a Clarence who can show us what the world would have been like if we weren’t in it.  Here’s a real life example: when I was doing therapy, I would say some wonderful, profound things.  But later, when clients told me what I said that most affected them or what they most remembered, it was things that I didn’t even remember saying, or things that I thought meant nothing.  My point is that sometimes, when we don’t know that we’re affecting others, when we’re just being ourselves, that’s when we’re doing the most for other people.

That’s why I try to spread positivity.  I try to smile at the cashier and leave an extra dollar for a tip when I can.  I try to let in that person who wants to merge in traffic.  I try to listen to the crazy cat lady at PetSmart, even when I really don’t need to hear about the protein content of wet cat food.  I try to like or comment on other people’s Facebook posts because I know how lonely it can be when it seems like no one’s listening.  I try to comment on other writer’s blogs and support them.  I try to say “please” and “thank you.”  I try to be the best version of myself I can, because I just don’t know how something I say or do might affect someone.

Maybe I’ve never saved anyone’s life, or anything that dramatic.  But what if helped someone have a better day, and they went out and saved someone’s life?  It’s the Butterfly Effect, and there’s no way of knowing what happens when you flutter your wings, or how far those air currents go.

Be the best version of yourself that you can be today, and every day.  Let go of competition and jealousy.  You’re wonderful and you’re you for a reason.

It really is a wonderful life.  🙂

If you’re curious, here’s my list of the Top 10 Christmas movies.

Feel Good Friday

Here’s your dose of good news for the day.  I’d just like to mention that one thing I noticed when doing my homework to post good news, is that a lot of good news stories are much shorter than their negative counterparts.  Click these links, look for good news, and show the news outlets that you’d like to see more of these stories.  That’s how change happens.

Vet with PTSD feels better with the help DD from Pets for Vets.

Finally, a mirror that tells the truth!

Cops rescue ring and save marriage proposal.

Man donates kidney to stranger.

Firefighters clean up yard for an elderly woman.

“Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond.”
-Hunter S. Thompson


Feel Good Fridays

Ready for your dose of feel good?  Here’s this Friday’s feel good.  Anybody else participating?

Teen from Mesa AZ makes her prom dress into a work of art.

Why Ghostbusters still matters.

A celebrity who isn’t obnoxious and entitled?

Good Samaritan saves dog.

How traveling can change lives.

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln

The Best Time of My Life

Mystery Castle, Phoenix AZ Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Mystery Castle, Phoenix AZ
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Facebook inspires me from time to time, but not in ways that I would predict.  For instance, I was recently reading something an old high school friend wrote, and I realized, “This person thinks the best times of their life has passed.”  How sad.

Too many people seem to think that thinking positively is a cheap trick, mired in avoiding reality.  Thinking positively doesn’t have to be about avoiding reality.  It doesn’t work to avoid it anyway; try to avoid reality, and it will come and smack you in the face.  Hard.

No, the thing is, that most of what we’re thinking positively vs. thinking “realistically” about hasn’t actually happened yet.  How is it more realistic to think negatively about something that hasn’t happened than positively?  I believe that our energies attract things.  The nice thing about my positive thinking is that if the bad stuff never comes to pass, then I didn’t waste time worrying about it.  And if it does come to pass, then I deal with it.

I believe that every day, life can be an adventure.  And it often is an adventure.  Whether it’s a fun adventure or a frightening adventure is often decided by the person living it.  I’ve gone through bad times in my life.  And they weren’t improved by me being miserable about them.

Everyday is a choice… but will you choose adventure or irritability?  Do you have something to learn today, or has it all been done?  Are the best years behind you, or is the best stuff happening right now?

It’s all about choices.

I Know How Lucky I Am

Phoenix Art Museum; Photo Credit: RJS Photography

Phoenix Art Museum; Photo Credit: RJS Photography

I was mostly born without the sadness gene.

Over the holidays, I saw some people posting about how they were sad or depressed , and it’s hard for me to grasp that.  I’m a therapist; it should make sense to me.  But it just doesn’t.

There’s so much cool stuff on this planet.  I have my dogs and cats.  I love looking at the stars, watching the sun rise, hiking in the desert.  When I lived in PA, I walked in the woods and discovered the spring that ran through the mountain.  I could spend an hour looking at the roots of a fallen tree.  My life is endlessly fascinating.  I’m seldom bored, and even less often depressed.

I don’t mean to say I never have a bad day or have never gone through a bad time; I have.  It’s just that I don’t tend to get bogged down.  I believe that in large part, we make our own luck.  So, if I’m going to make good luck, I have to send positive vibes out into the universe.  Which is usually why I try to see the positive in things and be happy where I am.

In 2006, my grandfather died.  He was one of my favorite people in the world, and losing him was huge.  My grandpa ran an antique shop, and was very close to his employees.  One of them, a woman I didn’t know well, was helping do all the stuff that needs to be done when someone dies.  No matter what I was assigned, my response was, “That’s okay.  We’ll get it done.”  At one point she exploded at me, “Don’t you ever say anything else?”  I hadn’t realized before then how annoying my attitude could be.

The thing is, that is my attitude in most situations.  I was sad that he’d died, and I still miss him, but being miserable wasn’t going to bring him back.  I’m just grateful that I have so many wonderful memories of him, and that I had such a great relationship with him.  In any situation, there are many choices.  I generally choose to accept.

I’m not saying that everyone can do this.  Like I said, I really believe that our ability to be happy is in part how we’re wired.  For me, being positive comes easily.  But I can’t read or follow directions (they get jumbled in my head).  I don’t like exercise and can get so involved in books that I don’t do anything else for days on end.  But, I think that differences are what make people interesting.  I have to work harder than other people so I don’t gain weight.  I also have to work harder to stay tuned in when I’m talking to people outside of work.  But I do work at these things.  Just like some people need to work harder than others to be happy.  But I believe that happy and positive can be habits, just like anything else.

I had a nice interaction at work the other day that reminded me that we don’t have any idea of our impact on others.  I was chatting with another woman and made a comment that was meaningless to me, but it touched her and made her feel that I cared.  Her face relaxed (she had looked tense before) and said, “Thank you for being you.”

What a nice thing to be thanked for.  My response should have been, “Thank you for noticing.”

My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013

Yeah, it's blurry.  But she's cute, so who cares?

Yeah, it’s blurry. But she’s cute, so who cares?

I think I wrote some cool blogs in 2013, so I thought I’d share my favorites.  Plus, it gave me chance to go back and re-read some of the stuff I wrote.

1.  So Many Wonderful Words– My thoughts about the importance of words, and why freedom of thought and freedom to use those words is so important.

2.  Oh the Irony!–  All about my first time tent camping, and why I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was.

3.  Grammar Police–  Just spell things right… please!  A letter to my Facebook friends.

4.  Leaving a Mark–  Why my words and my photos are important.  At least, to me.

5.  My 10 Favorite Books– It’s a list of my favorite movies.  Just kidding.

6.  Finding the Positive–  It’s easy to see the negative… but why give it energy.

7.  10 Ways to Practice Self-Care– How to be nice to yourself.

8.  Bullying and Me– What I’ve learned from being bullied.

9.  I’m Not Rusty– Why I’d rather wear out than rust.

10.  5 Things Not to Say To a Writer– Things hat have actually been said to me.  Please don’t say this to me.  Ever.

11.  O is for Openness– Things I’ve learned from the people I love most.

Yeah, there’s 11 on this list.  But Top 10 list sounds better, so I’m going with it.  In skimming my blog posts for the year, I realize that in early 2013, most of my blog posts were pretty bad.  They read like I was trying to find things to write, rather than actually having anything to say. I guess we all have times like that.

I also realized that I wrote some really cool stuff I forgot about.  Trust me, these are my best of 2013.  Read a few and see.