Being positive

A question was raised yesterday that linked in my head immediately with comment sent to me on Twitter, the question was does being positive all the time really help? I don’t know. I can say totally without question that being told to be positive doesn’t help anyone. I don’t believe that being positive makes anything better, if it is a false put on positive. All those crappy motivational talks and books that are out there are just one big con. For many years I was not just a sales person but also a sales manager, I was trained continuously by people making a living out of motivational claptrap. I also got a lot of bad reports sent to my manager say I was totally negative and refused to take on board what I was being taught. Well if asking questions and arguing a point is negative, then I put my hands up and I admit, and agree that I am a negative person.

There was a school of thought in the nineties that worked on the theory that standing up at your desk and singing silly songs, waving your arms and acting like a prat, meant you would sell more and sell better. I sat at my desk and refused to act like a brainless idiot and I was always in the top 100 sales people in the UK, top 20 in Scotland, oh, I worked for BT. I watch daily as several hundred people in the call center stood up and went along with the stupidity, I am sure most did it scared of getting on the wrong side of their manager and frightened of loosing there jobs, not because they enjoyed or believed in what they were doing. I moved company and was relieved to see that they treated everyone like an adult, but as a manager I was supposed to hold a motivational ten minutes each morning with my team, I did it my way. I praised them for anything I had noted that was done well the day before and not just high figures. There were no songs or waving, there were presentations by team members and question and answer session. I got some of the poorest sales performers to improve by working with them and giving small incentives, very small, sweets or any type of food worked well. Positivity can not be forced upon you, motivation isn’t learned, it is felt.

If you read a quote or a story about something, it isn’t the story that has inspired you, it is you that has inspired you. The reaction and feeling was always there, what changed it is you made the connection. Motivation and inspiration is always inside us what others do is just remind us.

If I was falsely making myself positive about my life, I would be incredibly unhappy and what I write would feel, to you the reader, like it was a lie, you would see through it. I am a positive person because that is the way I have always been, I have had many spells of depression that is normal, some deal with those stages better than others, I deal with depression incredibly badly. When depressed I go for it big style, the world is ending and there is no point to anything. When I come out of it I return to being me, a so called positive person. The reality is I am a glass half full not half empty person, it is just that the half which is full, can be half full of anything, including doom and gloom.

I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t at times feel that having MS and being housebound wasn’t the end, but I recognise that those are facts and how I deal with it is up to me. I have my days were I moan about the pain and so on but I don’t make the pain better. I had to make it better by distraction, I write, I play games, I do anything that keeps me busy. I used to clean the house or knit, do embroidery, anything that stopped me focusing on it and it has taken me years to learn how, to live as I do. I had to work at it, I didn’t just smile and happily accept, I fought and struggled and knocked myself out learning. There are no magic wands or books that will teach you and I can’t give you a plan on how to make your world better. I had to learn to accept, I had to learn and get to know about my MS, not the one on the medical sites, but the one that is living in me and I once I knew it and recognised it, I could then and only then, continue to live rather than exist. If there is one, the bit of advice I would give to anyone with a chronic illness is get to know your enemy and learn to work with it, rather and fight it. One thing I would never say to them is they need to be positive, because that is the most stupid thing you can say to anyone, they will be positive when they are ready to be and no bully can make them, until the spark finds what is inside them they can’t move on and live again.

So am I a positive person and does it help my MS? Well yes I am a positive person, I was born one. Does it help my MS, if my MS wanted it it would just take it as it does everything else.

2 thoughts on “Being positive

  1. I agree that telling someone who’s very depressed, or in a very bad state in any way to cheer up is extremely unhelpful.
    Also, repeatedly stating a ‘positive’ mantra that we know is not true is likely to make us feel worse.
    On the other hand it’s laudable, and generally helpful to try to look for, and when possible concentrate on the positive, and feel grateful for all the worthwhile facets of ourselves and our life.
    What we need to avoid, as you say through finding constructive ways of distracting ourselves, is wallowingly dwelling on our difficulties – But which is easier said than done if one is very depressed.
    I admire your honesty and your realistically as positive as possible approach to life.
    Take care, best wishes.

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  2. I like the sentence that you wrote saying that the glass half full may at times be half full of gloom and doom. This is an acknowledgement that we can’t be upbeat all the time even if that is our usual state. Accepting that is realistic.
    Another great post. I think you have a good approach to life in all its stages.
    Thanks for sharing xx

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