“Be glad. Be good. Be brave!”
It can feel so much more familiar for many of us to be sad, be mad and be afraid. I just love this quote from Eleanor H. Porter, simple but not always easy to be glad, be good and be brave!
As I write this piece, I recall spending a day front row listening to Marianne Williamson share her perspectives on love, relationships and life. I have been reading, studying and applying some of her spiritual teachings (the ones that resonate with my heart) for the past 20 years of my recovery. When she mentioned that she often is accused of being a “POLLYANNA” and it is said to her as an insult, she flips it and says to whomever is passively criticising her …
“Why thank you, I work hard on trying to mastering POLLYANNA’S loving perspective every day”
It is easy for us to be loving, patient and kind when others are being respectful, however, it requires real emotional muscle for us to remain glad, good and brave when the shit hits the fan and people act like arseholes. Lowering our behavior to hit them where it hurts can be so very seductive. To hit below the belt and defend, attack and go to war is so often unnecessary. Sometimes our survival mechanisms of fight or flight are warranted, but as responsible adults we do need to choose our battles wisely. So many of us react with the grief of a wounded child when others are unkind or insensitive, rather than respond with the grace of an adult.
POLLYANNA, for such a young female, responds to unkindness with a shitload of emotional muscle and the grace of a woman, a young queen in fact, not a wounded princess.
For those unfamiliar with the book and movie about a generous-hearted girl called POLLYANNA, in a nutshell this emotionally fit young woman creates “The Glad Game”. The challenge POLLYANNA sets for herself (which is a challenge considering the mean and unkind characters that surround her in childhood) the task of searching for the good in every situation she encounters.
POLLYANNA’S optimistic approach at life has been both acclaimed and criticised, but both the book and the film illustrate that her positive outlook had not only the power to transform her world, but also the power to transform the people around her and the entire town in which she lived.
Throughout the film, POLLYANNA did her best to see not only the good in herself, but the good in others as well. To quote her …
“Instead of always harping on a man’s faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his real self that can dare and do and win out!”
Most people reading her quote will either be nodding in agreement or trying to avoid being sick from the excess of positivity, labelling it as enabling. Interestingly, most people have a very positive or very negative reaction to the concept of optimism that is filtered through everything POLLYANNA does or says, so much so that there’s even been a term created for the idea that is POLLYANNA, known as the “POLLYANNA Principle”.
I too have been misunderstood often in my recovery by some for wearing rose coloured glasses (and I do have some that I adore wearing by the way). When I use the term POLLYANNA AND PROUD, I am not suggesting we live in denial of our wounds and the horrors on our planet, nor do I suggest we enable unkind behavior. It has been imperative for me in my recovery from sexual abuse and domestic violence to set some firm boundaries and become more discerning on whom I allow close to my heart. I have like many also found it vital to retrieve some good memories among the rubble of my past, and to forgive them and myself so I can live in peace.
So I would like to share some words of wisdom from another glad, good, brave and kind female who could also be labelled as a POLLYANNA. Mother Teresa sets a high bar for us all, as an elite, emotionally fit, spiritual athlete. So to all those who aspire to master being POLLYANNA AND PROUD, I leave you with Mother T.’s top POLLANAESQUE tips …
1. People are often unreasonable and self-centred. Forgive them anyway.
2. If you are kind people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
3. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
4. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
5. The good you do today maybe forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
6. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
7. For you see in the end it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
For those who do not believe in a God, but do believe in love, in my experience God and love are words that are interchangeable. It is always between us and what blocks us on our journey home to love. So the POLLYANNA “Glad Game” is a convenient, rigorous, Emotional Fitness workout for anyone looking to make themselves more at home with love and their world a gentler, happier place. The Glad Games rules require we spend the next 24 hours only looking for the good in ourselves and others monitoring every thought, feeling and action, ensuring we are kind, respectful and grateful.
POLLYANNA has real emotional muscle for she does not just master this for a day or a week; it is a lifestyle choice and something I am working on one day at a time.
The “Glad Game” sure ain’t for the faint-hearted.
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift just click on the SHOP tab and place your order.