While visiting friends during Christmas, I was shown a letter written to them. It had been sent by a family who had been living next door to them, but had moved away several years ago. They have the habit of writing a letter to their friends once a year around Christmastime, telling all the things that had happened to them during the year.
The events themselves weren’t the thing that caught my attention. It was the tone of the letter. All the things that had happened, even the challenging ones were written with a positive angle. Take for example unemployment of the father – the family found a positive take on it in the fact that he knows his way around the kitchen and now they have delicious meals waiting for them when they come home.
I know people who find this kind of attitude extremely irritating. They don’t find it “realistic” – surely you’d need to face the fact that life sucks and a Pollyannaish attitude is plain stupid.
But is it? The fact that someone is actively trying to find positive things in life tells me that is a person who is not giving up. Who falls and rises up again. And who can spread a little positivity around them as well (well, the irritable people won’t accept the positivity, but that’s their problem).
What if you tried this? Sit down and write a list of the main events in your life this year. Then write a few sentences what was good about the events. From your perspective alone, no need to please anyone else. What made you stronger? What made you happy? Remember that if you met with a circumstance you did not like, even that had a good aspect up its sleeve – it made it clearer to you what you DO like. After that it is your job to steer your life towards the wanted thing.
Obviously you cannot bring back a job you lost. Or a person who died. But you may decide to build up a self esteem that doesn’t depend on your title. You can concentrate on taking care of your remaining personal relationships, and building new ones.
So write that New Year’s letter. If you don’t want to send it to anyone, put it away in an envelope and read it a year from now when you are writing your next letter. See how things developed in a year’s time. Think about how you have been changed in the process.
Happy New Year, everyone!