choices in outlook – Wellness Week

by Kristina Sloggett

in real life wisdom,wellness

To me, wellness encompasses much more than nutrition, fitness and self-care. If I have learned one important thing in this life, it is that attitude is everything. Well, it’s a lot.

When my dear Uncle Dudley was diagnosed with cancer years ago, his immediate and awesome reaction was “well, we’re gonna beat this $#!*. and he did, for quite a long time. Watching my own dad joke and smile his way through horrifically intense chemo and radiation has both melted and strengthened my heart and resolve.

Having to endure and care for a negative person while simultaneously caring for Dad? Almost did me in.

Staggering stress – dropping this person off at the hospital entrance (where we were visiting my dad), then driving up to the top of the parking garage and hysterically crying, just from the stress this person caused me (screaming, slamming the door in my face, ugliness to the highest degree).

I cried for… two, three minutes? It was therapeutic. Then I was done. A light bulb switched on – I was here for one thing, to take care of Dad. This cannot interfere, I will not let it get to me. So I chose the path of Kill Them With Kindness (um, not literally) and suddenly none of that mattered. This person no longer had an effect on me.

goodevil

Before you eye roll and think I am smiley happy positive all the time, please let me tell you I am not – that is incredibly unrealistic and vanilla. Feelings are meant to be felt, selfish drivers are there to shake your fist at, the roller coaster of emotions are what make us appreciate the good stuff.

…but I do try to choose the positive thoughts, the optimistic view. I also realize these kind of broad statements are very general, and I am not referring to those who suffer from some very real depression. We should hold everyone in compassion and empathy – that old saying of You Don’t Know What Someone Else Is Dealing With? So very true.

I have a wise friend who gave me permission to share our recent conversation, inspired by the image above about the Cherokee:

Friend: I’m not immune from all of those first things all the time, but I’d much rather feel the latter each day. I always visualize the folks who thrive on the anger, negativity, etc. having epiphanies at some point in their lives, like Scrooge (all the movie Scrooges flash through my head–Alistair Sims, George C. Scott, Bill Murray, etc.). I play it out in my head and then let it go for a while. It doesn’t solve the problem, but I like having hope that they will see the joy of living with kindness, empathy, etc.

me: …and those are the people I mean… it is human to feel those first feelings, it’s how long you let them simmer, right? I have experienced Real Life Scrooges, who very much DO thrive on negativity and being a victim. I feel sorry for those kind of people, and when I can distance myself, I do – that kind of energy is like a cancer. It is unrealistic to say you are always going to be positive and happy, but you can certainly choose it!

Friend: I know what you are saying, too. Sometimes those folks really get me down and I try to remove myself from them as much as possible, but sometimes we have to interact with them. I find that I get so frustrated with some of them that I want to rant and rave about them, but I try not to because it doesn’t help. It only seems to bring me down and attract more of the same negativity. And I want to note that I am not talking about folks who have serious health concerns, depression, etc. and I’m sure you aren’t either. While some do have serious issues and still can manage to be upbeat and happy; others can’t necessarily do that. Not everything can be dressed up and, again, I’m pretty sure you agree with that and weren’t gearing this discussion towards them. But I want to say that because I know some of my friends/readers get aggravated (to say the least) with all the positivity quotes and guidance to choose happiness, choose joy, etc. and I understand where they are coming from, too.

me: oh, absolutely ( you DO know me!)  It’s funny, with those “choose happiness” quotes, I too am irritated by them at times – only when it comes from a place of true understanding is when I am able to appreciate them. Having a good attitude goes a long way, and is REALLY beneficial when there is illness involved – and then there is depression like you address, and I cannot even begin to understand it and respect that it is a completely different thing entirely – and mean no disrespect when I say “you can choose to be positive”. That is a broad, vague statement referring to general outlook. In addition to being positive as much as possible, we also need to be nurturing to those who are hurting and suffering.

Friend: So very true on all that you have said! So often I share such quotes on FB and elsewhere because ***I*** need inspiration and encouragement. Honestly–and hopefully–I think that most (many?) who share positive quotes and have issues with Real Life Scrooges are very nurturing to those in their lives who are hurting and suffering. I think we just have issues with the folks who whine, bitch, and moan unnecessarily (that covers a lot of the Scrooges) or step on others or do the other sad things stated in that parable. I believe that karma and Law of Attraction come into play for all those folks, just as it does for those who try to stay positive, count their blessings, etc. xo

Like I said, this friend of mine is wise.

I found this little lovely at Christina’s:

LOVE

This I hope I can always do.

Happy Thursday.

 

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allie January 31, 2013 at 11:47 am

Lovely post Kristina! Life isn’t always all happiness, good vibes, and sunshine, but it’s all about how you approach the negative, experience it, and move past it. And how you and your attitude can help others to do the same. Your friend may be wise, but you’ve got some wisdom of your own here :)

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2 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm

it definitely is how you approach, how you react. oh, and getting past it, YES! the people that hold onto things are often the ones who are negative – they cannot let it go to make way for happy.

and thank you! I have been known to say some smart things here and there ;)

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3 christina January 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm

don’t’ you love that quote?! ahhhh

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4 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm

and I’ve seen it SO many times today! definitely making the rounds all over the net, bringing smiles. XO

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5 Abby January 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I’m so happy I can consider you my “friend.” I wish we didn’t live across the country from each other, but your spirit comes through in your words and your passion for life. Even when I don’t feel like being positive, I see a picture of your pooches or a recipe full of vibrant colors and you perk me up ;)

Thanks for that.

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6 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Abby! your friendship means a great deal to me! your words always bring smiles and cheer, good thoughts. it makes me SO happy that the pups and my creations can bring a smile – truly makes me happy! I wish you were my neighbor…

thank YOU. XXO

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7 Tommy January 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I love this. I love you.

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8 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm

XXO! big hugs (and dachshund wags!) to you two. have a great weekend, you’re totally watching football, RIGHT? ;)

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9 Caroline January 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm

It seems the wise birds flock together! You said a whole lot for a Thursday afternoon, and while I am very sorry you dealt with that negativity, I’m proud of you for the grace in which you always handle yourself. I am honored to know the inside story of this, and even now commend you in how gracious you continue to be – you could have said much more, I know.

Bless you and your Wellness. Bless Dad too xo CR

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10 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm

it is ME who is honored to have you there to listen! being able to vent to you while this was going on was more helpful than you know, and (again, Again!) I thank you… being called graceful means a great deal, because I definitely do not always feel that way! :)

big hugs to you, and my fingers are crossed for you receiving the call you want next week! XO Kris

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11 jobo January 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm

My gosh, this has got to be one of my most favorite posts from you!! So real, so honest, so transparent, and words so many of us – including me – are probably afraid to admit sometimes. that ‘choose happy’ quotes that can be irritating when they could be construed as not taking into account the situation, illness (mental or physical etc), it is a slippery slope and one that can be heavily debated. I couldn’t agree more with what Caroline said above, so I’ll stop there. you are gracious and kind and one of the biggest hearts I know! XOXO

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12 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

thank you SO much – I’m happy it resonated and was well received – I didn’t quite know what to expect when I published this one. ;) your kind words mean so much – they come from such an inspiring person! XO

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13 lindsay January 31, 2013 at 3:01 pm

This might be one of my favorite posts from you. Because it’s you. It’s real. It vanilla and DARK chocolate swirled. EMOTIONS, we have them, we need to release them yes, then we need to move on, think positive, and surround ourselves with wonderful people. Like YOU! We are ALL blessed to KNOW YOU!

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14 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

wonderful people like YOU. thank you, friend – I love you!

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15 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) January 31, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Truth, I wake up every morning happy and thankful to be where I am and with who I am. I really try to keep my positive foot forward. I do feel like we have some control over our happiness to some extent. We all know there are outside factors that really control the heart of how we feel. The best I can do is surround myself with those that care about me (as I do them) and always know that with them, I am never alone. I’ve also learned through so many years of struggle, that being negative doesn’t make things better. I have to hold my head high and know that being mad or frustrated really doesn’t improve the situation. Also, negativity breeds negativity. I used to be known as the girl that always had a smile on my face. I feel like I’ve lost a little bit of that. I want it back. From this point forward, the smile and happy heart comes first. No, it won’t solve all my problems, but it will maybe give me and the person receiving the smile a little hope that there is happiness out there. I love you lady!

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16 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I think you do this so well, my friend. you are sensitive to and aware of what is really important, and that is one of the things I love about you!

I used to smile more naturally than I do now, also, and that has been something I want back as well… I’m sending YOU a smile today, my friend! I appreciate you so much! XO

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17 Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts January 31, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Beautiful, heartfelt post, Kristina. Thank you for it! I hope that you can continue to go forward without letting the malcontents of the world get you down. I’d say that if you can get past this person screaming at you and slamming the door in your face, you are made of much, much stronger stuff than they (or most) and you will live to smile much, much more. I am glad, because we need you and your smiling face and all that goes with it! :-)

As far as that quote, the best thing about it is that one exhales as soon as one reads it. We all hold our breaths/don’t breathe naturally much more than we realize. Will print that quote out to read often, so I’ll remember to breathe, be grateful, and all the rest. Somewhere I have a clipping about it being impossible to experience anger and joy at the same time. Every time I read it I am amazed at how true it is, so I try to seek the joy whenever possible because it helps the other “stuff” slide away. But seeking the joy doesn’t mean that we don’t have to spend time acknowledging the other stuff, too. Okay, I’m rambling now … ;-)

Love to you!
Shirley

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18 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm

thank YOU, my friend. as soon as I had the realization that I control how this person affects me, it was like a big weight was lifted (or that exhale you talk about!). when the door was slammed in my face, I walked away, did not engage. when 10+ messages were left over the next hour, I simply let the phone ring, because I wasn’t going to get involved in the ugly. it’s not avoidance if there is nothing meaningful you are walking away from, which was this case 100%. once we were both calm (2 days later), I simply and quietly said, you cannot treat me like this, you cannot talk to me in that way, I do not deserve it. when things started to escalate, I wouldn’t feed into it and repeated what I said – we can talk calmly like adults, but you cannot scream at me. (I felt like I was being so good to myself WHILE treating her with respect as well).

I loved this quote too – and it is making me smile that I have seen it so many times today, people are sharing it all over! not from my site, from other places! it’s all over! :)

it’s impossible to experience anger and joy simultaneously – so true!! I love it.

have a great weekend, Shirley – thanks for adding to the conversation ;) XO

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19 Lou January 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Real, true and from the heart – bless you!

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20 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm

thank you XO

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21 Julie Hasson January 31, 2013 at 8:18 pm

A beautiful post Kristina. xo

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22 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm

thank you, Julie!

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23 Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator February 1, 2013 at 8:53 am

Lovely, heartfelt. Thanks for sharing.

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24 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

<3

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25 Heather @ Better With Veggies February 1, 2013 at 9:16 am

This is when we show what we’re really made of – experiencing frustrations and choosing to be positive. Love you friend – you are inspiring!

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26 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

isn’t that the truth – stressful or difficult trying situations DEFINITELY show a person’s true colors. somewhere along the line I learned that flipping out or even worrying too much really doesn’t help things, and I am not saying we cannot be colorful or even experience all emotions (it’s healthy!), but a smile can sometimes make someone’s day, truly.

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27 Jess February 1, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I’m a reeling from this post — in a beautiful, grateful way. Your words, and your FRIEND’s words? My God, just so poignant and strong and honest and EXACTLY the perspective we all need to take more often than not. I adore your soul, and your heart, and how you’ve tackled some stressful, awful, sad things in your life most recently with the most amazing attitude. Yes, you aren’t perfect. Yes, you aren’t always ‘sunshine and puppies and rainbows’ — but it’s unrealistic to think that you could or SHOULD be that way all the time. You are just awesome, I cant’ say that enough. I heart you. Thank you for this post, it’s wonderful. <3

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28 Kristina Sloggett February 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm

thank you… that means a lot. sunshine and puppies and rainbows is nice, but even the Brady Bunch didn’t have that all the time, right? I have to think people don’t *really* choose to be so negative, right? they don’t really know how bad that comes across? I feel incredibly grateful that is not my normal go to, and that I *try* to be positive when I can. XO

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29 Richa February 1, 2013 at 10:48 pm

this is a much needed post. I probably would have yelled back or something. i dont have much patience with people anymore:)
..to do in 2013.. control how someone affects me.. There is so much more to do than letting myself get worked up over things which dont even matter in the bigger picture.
Thank you for the post Kristina.

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30 Kristina Sloggett February 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm

you are so welcome, Richa. I know, I don’t always have patience and I surprise myself with frustrations sometimes (usually while driving, I’ll yell at someone… although they cannot hear or see me so that’s a little better?) …but I still don’t want to be that way. in this situation, I had already come to terms with the fact that this person is negative, will always be negative. so where an immediate reaction may have happened if I hadn’t already worked through that, my choice to walk away was the best for all involved, since reacting and joining the conversation would NOT have helped anything, you know? I am rambling… but hopefully making sense – big picture stuff for sure ;)

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31 Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen February 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

I really like that Cherokee story. How true. How difficult. We do have choices to make in outlook, and it is hard to be sunny all the time, but perhaps a more realistic goal would be to choose positive. Not necessarily stars and unicorns and rainbows, but just turning away from anything that will hold you down, back, or making you miserable. Not sure if that makes sense, but I’m working it out as I type. :)

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32 Kristina Sloggett February 5, 2013 at 8:42 am

it absolutely makes sense, Sarah! just like I try to stay away from the drama and those who thrive on it.

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