On Positive Attitudes

Every time I say something I think is a positive breakthrough to a therapist or other mental health professional, I get shot down with a “Why are you so negative all the time? We need to change this negative attitude that you have.”

I’m currently in an intensive outpatient program, and let me tell you, I just didn’t want to take this for the millionth time. My response was lengthy, rambled, and something like a disjointed rant.

I pretty much said I was inherently negative, and no amount of therapy or medication could change that. I was a Negative Nancy. Every morning I wake up on the wrong side of the bed in the negatives, and work my way up to zero with three cups of coffee and three cups of matcha, along with meditation, prayer, and scripture reading.

Maybe it’s because I hide my emotions so well, even my positive ones, that even if I’m happy, I don’t necessarily show it the way other people do. I don’t really smile that often. It actually hurts my face to smile because it takes so much effort. I remember my grandmother telling me not to frown so much because it would make me ugly when I’m old. But I didn’t really care.

I do smile quite often, but it’s not really noticeable. Since we’ve gone into the zoom age, my smiling looks like a neutral, even lip, when I feel my cheeks working full force to turn upwards.

My husband, Positive Polly that he is, is the same way. He has a big ol’ frown quite often, then a huge, exuberant smile. I call him my golden retriever. He’s the optimist of the two of us.

So, I have to say, if God made you a Nancy, it’s okay to own it. You don’t owe anybody yourself but God. It’s good to have gratitude. I make gratitude lists and I have people tell me I don’t seem the type to make them. But alas, I do.

Be you. Go rock it, even if people throw well-meaning, self-improvement shade.