I've been called a Pollyanna. A lot. Apparently being called a Pollyanna is a jab, yet I take it as a compliment. Look at her story more closely to see the power in positivity and perseverance. She was a gal who went through A LOT in her young life: orphaned, pawned off on various people, left to fend for herself, constantly in transition, poor, hard working, no guarantees of security and a lot to withstand. Through every experience, she chose to see the silver linings. She slowed down and savored the details. She was grateful for what she had even with so much uncertainty and despair. Pollyanna was a trooper, a pioneer, an avant garde, a light bearer. She flummoxed those around her who were driven by fear, trying to look good to everyone around them at all costs (ego), at the same time inspiring many to stop and smell the roses with her choice to be simple and sincere. Pollyanna had her priorities straight. She knew what she stood for and had her bottom lines. She might not have had a lot in the physical realm, yet her spirit was full and she had everything to gain. What about that is a turn off? Seeing the world through rose colored glasses more than many and holding vision for potential where it might not be present today is inherent to who I am. I've been through a lot and choose to keep going. If that makes me a Pollyanna, I'll take it with a smile.
I see the power of Pollyanna. One of the lessons she teaches is this: With every moment, every uncertainty, there is one choice to make: will I choose to be grateful for what is here and open to what's possible, or will I curse the world for what it's not giving me and play the victim role? She had many reasons to whine and say "woe is me." Being a victim or martyr is easy, it's convenient, it's a trap. Rising into gratitude and staying curious about what is being grown might not be easy. It is worthwhile though. Pollyanna rallied an entire community, uniting people who were insistent on being enemies, even bringing a smile and laughter to the biggest curmudgeon ever.
Pollyanna danced to her own tune. She was willing to look silly in the name of authenticity. She shared herself generously with other people and questioned the status quo. She connected rather than isolated. She paused to get to know herself even in the dark times. She felt her feelings and moved on when drowning in sadness, anger or blame were viable options. She was real. What about that isn't attractive? It wasn't easy to understand from the outside and many judged her for how she was, who she was. Undoubtedly this hurt her and she accepted it, staying true to herself through it all. She was the one she had been waiting for all along and knew it as she veered off her own course and found her way back. She took responsibility for her life and refrained from blaming Life for screwing her over. She dared to embody gratitude and live fully each day to the best of her ability.
Staying stuck in the blame game is where disdain, anger, rage, addiction, depression and apathy are bred. Gratitude turns darkness into light, bridges worlds, creates doorways of possibility where few options existed. Gratitude transforms black and white living into full color. Gratitude or blame? I choose the former. It's more pleasant to live with and much more attractive. Audrey Hepburn said it simply and clearly: Happy girls are the prettiest. Gratitude might not equal happiness all the time, it does make it possible to feel free and content in whatever circumstance. Clinging to blame and pessimism keeps familiarity, allows there to be a stance of "I'm right." What is looked for will be found. Will you look for what's right or what's wrong? Either way, you'll find it.
Pollyanna didn't have all the answers. She lived in the moment, recognizing that the future isn't for us to see yet. Being right here and now is where the magic happens. Being fully awake to the reality of today with the lens of "how amazing is this" is revolutionary. Others might judge, saying it's stupid/silly/unrealistic/idiotic/counterintuitive/ignorant to be positive when things seem to be going down the tubes or much of life is a big question mark. It's at these times, when the opinions of others are tempting to drag you into fear and worry, that turning inward, or to those close by who hold the light and also choose to see the silver linings, is imperative. Dare to be grateful in the midst of everything. I dare you.
When all else fails, when the mind is going into fear mode, when there is a grasping at something to rely on, pause, literally, to stop and breathe in more deeply. Get out a piece of paper or the phone and get to gratitude. Asking "what has gone right? What brought joy or delight? If I looked back on today in a week or a year, what would I wish I had stopped to say thank you for?" This shifts fear into freedom and invites delight/peace/humility in. With every "thank you" a "fuck you" is quieted. The world, both inner and outer, is a more pleasant place to inhabit with the "thank you" record playing. This practice is so simple. Simple and transformative. Try it.
Be a Pollyanna. Take the challenges facing you, in your head or household, and choose to see how Life is inviting you to grow into the next greatest version of yourself. Stay a victim or join this tribe, I bet you will have more fun and be challenged in ways that satisfy beyond measure. The choice is yours.
Need some help becoming a Pollyanna? Contact me now & claim your space in the tribe. Learn how to thrive through every transition and finally enjoy the adventure of getting to know yourself & living your life.
With a smile,
Darcy Helene Meehan
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas