I happened upon an interesting blog article recently from Today’s Workplace written by Srikumar Rao. The article was entitled “Why Positive Thinking is Bad for You”.
The title intrigued me because I happen to be a positive thinking person. I am such a positive person that I have actually been sneered at with the comment “You’re such a Polly Anna, aren’t you?”.
Never having seen the movie with the character Polly Anna in it I can only assume that this must be a Disney movie where the character looses their mother. (Disney always kills the mother.) But in spite of that great loss, the main character who is called Polly Anna is this syrupy little girl in pigtails skipping down the sidewalks always seeing rainbows and lollipops in everything she comes upon. If not, that’s how I imagine her.
When someone “accuses” me of being a Polly Anna it’s always done in a sarcastic, condescending tone as if the possibility of being such a person indicates a total loss of reality and connectedness with life. After all, life is either black or white. Life is not a rainbow of colors like purple, yellow, orange, blue, green, red. It’s only black or white. And since I choose to see the colors, then I must be the weird one who has lost all sense of reality.
But the jest of this article was not that being positive is bad for you it is seeing life in monochromatic colors – black and white. Seeing life only as good and bad is in itself the issue. Why must it be either good or bad? Why do we label things this way? If I get this then that would be good, if not then it would be bad. If I don’t get this job it would be really bad. But what if you got that job and missed the next one which was an even better opportunity for you? Why judge good or bad?
Mr. Srikumar Rao used the expression “when life gives you lemons (as if lemons are bad), make lemonade”. Why do we do this? What’s wrong with living in the present without judgment? It is neither bad nor good. It just is. If we live fully in the moment then there would be no room to judge.
We judge everything. We judge situations, places, people and ourselves by a monochromatic standard. Embracing any situation just as it is allows us to be ourselves at any given moment for we won’t be holding a black/white standard up to it. It just is.
So if being in the moment and fully present without judgment, embracing the situation completely as it is, is being a Polly Anna then I suppose – minus the pigtails, that is who I am. It is what it is and that in and of itself is good. Why think any differently?
So I suppose telling yourself “you’re going to be a more positive person” may not be a good thing after all because you’re still living in a black and white world, an either/or scenario. Bring some color into your life. Live in the moment. It is what it is, embrace it! Who was Polly Anna anyway?