Thursday, September 30, 2010

Being Positive vs. Being Pollyanna Part 2 by guest blogger Dani of Positively Present


"We looked for the good (in them), and we found it." ~Pollyanna

Today is Part 2 of a guest post written by Dani of Positively Present; in today's post, Dani takes a look at the difference between what many of us know as the positive thinking that often discounts our experiences and introduces us to the true inspiration behind that "Pollyanna attitude"...

By: Dani of Positively Present

Though it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the film, I believe that Pollyanna was a positive thinker. She didn’t ignore the negative, but instead chose not to dwell on it.

Considering her situation, I’m sure she was combating a great deal of negativity within herself, but she make the conscious choice to focus on what was good in her life.

However, media and culture has taken Pollyanna’s positive thinking and turned it into a negative. It’s convinced us that Pollyanna naively saw the good in the world around her without acknowledging the bad.

Whether or not this is the case is mostly irrelevant considering Pollyanna is a fictional character. What is relevant is what people in real life do.

Those who choose to take part in Pollyannaism, as it’s been named, will choose to ignore the negative and only focus on the positive. This can be extremely delusional and, in my opinion, is not at all the same as positive thinking.

To live a truly positive life, one must consider both the negative and positive aspects of life and then choose to focus on the good.

In addition, in order to live a positive life, one must begin by looking for the good in things.

While negative elements of life should not be ignored, it’s not helpful to seek them out either.

In the film version of Pollyanna, Pollyanna wears on a chain a quote from Abraham Lincoln: "When you look for the bad in men, expecting to find it, you surely will." I believe these words to be true.

When you search for the negative things in people (and in life), you will find them.

Conversely, when you search for the positive, what you find will be positive.

In my opinion, Pollyanna’s gotten a bad reputation for being overly optimistic and sickeningly positive, but I’m not entirely sure that’s accurate.

The character of Pollyanna did not strive to ignore reality or avoid the truth of what was happening in her life. Instead, she chose to face the negative situations head-on and look for the good in them, as any positive thinking person would.

She chooses the path in life that so few people walk down—a path on which positive thinking blooms and inspiration can be found in even the darkest of places.

When looking for inspiration, we should not look to the formulaic version of Pollyanna that has been perpetuated by the media.

We should not aspire to think that everything is happy and perfect and positive.

Instead, we should look to the true heart of Pollyanna’s tale and aspire to be like the little girl who, while coping with the negative in her life, continued to strive diligently to see the good in all that was around her.

Dani, a twenty-something striving to live positively in the present moment, wrote this post. Dani’s blog, Positively Present, embraces the idea of “living happily ever after now” by focusing on all things positive. Dani is also the creator and author of Hope Springs Internal, a blog focusing on the positive representations of women in the media. You also find Dani on Twitter @positivepresent.

I'd like to thank Dani for providing this insightful look into living a positive and insightful life! I hope you'll drop by Dani's blog and let her know that you found her via "A Journey"!

Q: How do you view making the choice to live positively in the present?

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