Mr Positive (And Becoming Little Miss Okay-With-That)

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“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” 

~Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan, 1893

Do you remember the 1970’s series of Mr Men?  I always liked Mr Funny best, followed shortly after by Mr Pernickty, because I like the word ‘pernickty’ (also known as Mr Fussy).  There were 49 Mr Men characters (followed by 42 Little Miss characters) but some years back I named a 50th Mr Men.  That was my Dad, and I named him Mr Positive.

I need to start by saying that I mean no disrespect to my father, who has since died, and he was aware and amused by my naming of him, so I am sure he would have no problem with what I write.

Dad was the ultimate positive person.  He wasn’t just a ‘glass half full’ man but rather a ‘glass overflowing with your favourite drink, even when all you can see is a few drops in the bottom’ man.  This had to be a good thing, especially when in his job he spent a lot of time helping other people in some very dire circumstances.  The thing is though that when you’re the ‘glass half empty with a hole in the bottom of the glass’ daughter, with a tendency toward severe depression, all this positive stuff could be a little grating at times, to say the least.

Some people, including my Dad, took the view that to pull me out of my depression I needed the good things in life pointed out, and Dad had a knack of being able to see good in absolutely everything.  For me though, love him as I did, I hated it and would want to crawl into oblivion because I happened to know that there simply wasn’t good in everything.  Actually sometimes there is bad.  Sometimes we get hurt and unexplainable tragedies occur, and that it is very difficult to see how there could possibly be any good in them.

Dad would say “life is good!” and his pessimistic, depressed daughter, if given half the chance, would say “bollocks!”  And there we would come to a friendly but frustrated impasse, me unable to see his view and him unable to see mine.

What I’m realising now that if it had been possible to put our two views together then we might have got somewhere, instead of me simply putting my hands over my ears and saying “Mr Positive, Mr Positive, Mr Positive” while pretending it all didn’t exist.

Yesterday I wrote My ‘Anti-Social Media’ Day expressing my frustration with the level of negativity to be often found on Facebook.  What concerned me was that when we fill our minds with negative things, then we run the risk of becoming that negativity.  I think Dad would be smiling at that, because while I still don’t like a blind ‘everything is great’ attitude, there is some definite advantages to some positive thinking. (Yes, Dad I really did just write that).

Several people commented to me after that post that achieving a balance is what is necessary, and I totally agree.  If all I see is negative then that is all I know, but to take out some of that negative and replace it with positive means that I get to know something good.  And so I took some steps to limit the negative posts arriving on my news feed.  I ‘unliked’ a few things and restricted what I see from some other sources.  I also walked away from my computer for a good while, and spent some time with people who have a positive effect on me.  Already I feel better.  Already I don’t have that ‘sinking to the bottom of my boots’ feeling when I have to see some of that stuff on my screen.

I will never become Little Miss Positive, because I recognise and acknowledge that there is bad in this world, there is hurt and not everything is good.  But I am starting to realise the importance of what I let into my mind.  not only by what I see on my screen but even in the people I spend my time with, and how I let them influence me.

I am realising that I have the control over what influences me.  It’s my choice.  I’m not denying that negative happens, and I’m not turning my back on people who are trapped for now in a sea of negativity, but I am finding ways to ensure that doesn’t turn me into a negative person.

I suspect I will always have a natural tendency to ‘glass half empty’.  I always have, regardless of the state of my mental health, but I can work with that and I can simply enjoy that I have a glass and it has something in it.  And that is enough for me.

“The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity
to know why this
is so; but we ask the reason of all evil,
of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes 
and silly people.” 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

11 thoughts on “Mr Positive (And Becoming Little Miss Okay-With-That)

  1. John Richardson

    Whether your glass is hafl empty or half full depends in large part on whether you’re pouring or drinking. So, are you pouring or drinking? There are some things in life that seem to require us to suffer. It’s how we learn. It’s how we gain wisdom. The ancients Greeks talk about it and so does the Bible. Much of that suffering seems to center on the consequences of the decisions we ourselves make, since none of us can turn back the hand of time. I think it must even be OK for us to feel a little sorry for ourselves once in a while. As long as we can get to the point we can look ourselves in the mirror and laugh at ourselves for being silly. I think many times that’s what we are, the “Silly People.” I kind of like it. None of us are perfect so it’s pretty normal to be silly. I’d better stop now because I think I’m starting to get silly.

    1. I love silly. It’s one of the things I excel at. And you have a very good point about pouring or drinking. Perhaps that’s why Dad and I could never agree on that one. Perhaps he was doing one while I was doing that other, which actually makes a lot of sense to me. Thanks John. 😀

  2. Loved the post!

    Personally, with my kids, I tend neither to be a glass half empty nor a glass half full kind of guy, I am more a “Ok which one of u little perishers drank half my drink?” LOL
    But of course I too am being a little silly there. I think whether you are a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person is less important than recognizing which one you are and the how that affects your perspective on life and situations.

    So I loved the post 🙂
    Hope you are well,
    Kind Regards and God bless you

  3. Love the Mr. Men series! I have two sweaters, one that says Little Miss Bossy and the other is Little Miss Chatterbox 😛

    It’s great when you realize you have more control over what happens to you 🙂 I’m more of a I don’t care if the glass is half full or half empty, especially since there is sort of no such thing. I’m going to see things how I see them depending on many factors.

  4. as always loving reading your posts cate, they always make me consider my own attitudes and feelings, the only problem is on weeks like this when i’m a bit foggy brained i don’t have the energy to comment on each one but I do read them. here’s to our glasses and whatever we have in them, no matter how much! 🙂

    1. Absolutely. And know that I completely get that foggy brained feeling and there are often times I can just manage to read a post but that is it. Thanks for your comment and I hope you are doing ok.

  5. I’m learning to recognize we all have different realities, and mine isn’t the only one. It still bothers me, though, when someone uses the “Just Be Happy” mantra to avoid feelings. It’s just as destructive as feeling them and not dealing with them.

    1. Actually I totally agree with you. Nothing puts me off faster and I am convinced it is actually destructive and hurtful in the long run, regardless of what the intention might be.

  6. Pingback: My Journey Through Grief | Infinite Sadness… or hope?

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