It seems more socially acceptable to share all of our problems rather than our joys. Or maybe it feels more comfortable to talk about difficulty rather than awesomeness.
Maybe it helps us fit in?
Maybe it’s a habit?
Not to say that it isn’t helpful to vent or talk about our challenges with those we trust (this is a common practice for me) – this is a necessary part of emotional wellness, a great way to release what we don’t need.
But when negativity is our go-to conversation, and when we only share what’s difficult, it seems to dull the air. It seems to dull the senses.
What if we normalized sharing the good, too? Not in a bragging, inauthentic, “I’m better than you” kind of way, but in a “yes, I’m feeling very thankful for this or that thank you for asking” kind of way.
And what if we could hear this, and allow it to inspire rather than make us feel less than? What if we understood that in the big picture, these shared feelings of wellness benefit all of us?
The other day I ordered coffee and the woman who rang me up said, “You are just a little too chipper today, aren’t you?”
So I pondered the question.
Yes, I could dull out and tell her how things are hard, or that I have a headache, or that I am running behind, or all the other things that create a more typical conversation.
I have an inner 7th grade self that would prefer to do this – she is on high alert when someone appears annoyed – she worries that she won’t be liked or will be misunderstood. She learned to protect herself by focusing on things that suck – this is how she fit in, this is how she stayed safe.
But I’m not 12 anymore, I’m 41. And all of my life challenges have taught me one thing:
I’m grateful to be here.
I don’t have a perfect life, nobody does, but every moment can feel pretty good when I am present for it. And when a moment doesn’t feel good, I know it’s mine to work on or mine to view in a different way. The feeling of the moment is always my decision.
So I answered her by saying, “I just feel really good right now.”
And she smiled.
Cathy Cassani Adams, LCSW, CPC, is the author of The Self-Aware Parent, the host of Zen Parenting Radio, a columnist for Chicago Parent Magazine, and a blogger for Chicago Now. She’s a self-awareness teacher and yoga instructor in her community, and she teaches in the Sociology Department at Dominican University.
Find Cathy on Facebook (The Self-Aware Parent or Zen Parenting Radio) and on Twitter (@selfawareparent or @zenparenting) and on her website www.cathycadams.com.