Stay Positive

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

February 1, 2013


“Don’t let your day be ruined by Mr. Mediocrity. Do fun things to cheer yourself up and get you out of any potential funks. Remember, attitude, is everything.”

This is a small example of the sometimes daily litany of chants I say to myself.

That was in 2011. Given recent events, you can imagine that the daily litany of chat ups to myself haven’t ceased. Now the repertoire includes things like “Duct tape.” I’ve re-added, “Grace Under Pressure.” “Patience,” is a frequent one when dealing with challenging people in challenging situations.

Let me tell you, though, it is both fucking hard to stay positive all the damn time AND irritating when others don’t.

At work, I sit in an odd space figuratively and literally. We don’t get a lot of clients, so although I sit in a receptionists space, I’m not really a receptionist. I have a big desk, that is far away from my other colleagues. People come to my space to walk by, say hi, on their way to the copy machine or to go potty. I’ve been told I’m approachable, so I also get the venting. I’ve often declared my space a “swear zone” where the f-word can fly free (despite it’s being in the front office!). It has a nice barrier, a counter, that protects me from intruding people. Although sometimes people get in my space and even sit on my desk!

The introvert in me wants to scream and run and hide when people are in my space.

You should understand, I love my co-workers, but given the situations at work, we have created and we perpetuate a relatively high stress environment. People are often overloaded with tasks, they prioritize on what they think is the right thing and are often told they’ve made poor choices without being coached onto what a good choice would be. So, everyone is frustrated and paralyzed at the same time about what to do about it. We have lots of talent, lots of skills, lots of belief, and amazing amount of passion within. And, that makes people, I think, even more stressed.

It’s hard to remind ourselves to not sweat the small stuff and take one thing at a time. It’s hard to focus on the thing immediately in front of you while not getting distracted by the towers burning down around you. It’s hard to see a way out.

It’s hard to stay positive.

But, as I described in The Spiral of Positivity, it’s necessary. It’s so easy to fall into that space below that tenuous line. We fall into negativity and it’s so hard to see hope. It’s so hard then to give hope for others. This current situation, though it’s felt like it’s lingered for years, cannot go on. Something will change, and we’re apt to be more ready for that change if we can stay positive and resilient.

A co-worker has said many times that she likes to consider a concept. She likes to think of wolf as surviving by feeding wolves. Whatever you want in your life, that’s the wolf you should feed. So, if you want the positive wolf in your life, you need to spread positivity. You need to stay positive  That would mean limiting your venting and choosing carefully with whom you vent. It means being careful about what you say. It means you have to measure your words and speak with intent. It means you have to control your mind to not go to the bad thing first and find the good… in everything.

Staying positive is mindfulness. And, it’s fucking hard. But, it’s worth it. So, how can we challenge each other to be more positive in our daily lives to keep people in places of joy instead of a storm of negativity? What will you do?


Read more on this topic…

Journey Home: Reflections from 10,000 Feet

Journey Home: Reflections from 10,000 Feet

As I sit on the plane, surrounded by the hum of the engine and the chill of the window, I can’t help but notice the person in front of me repeatedly adjusting their seat, each movement a grating assault on my laptop screen. The journey back to Portland, high above the clouds, prompts reflections on the comforts of home and the complexities of travel.

The Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is a cyclical and seasonal calendar. It marks the changing of seasons and incorporates festivals, or Sabbats, celebrating various aspects of nature, life, and spirituality.