Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ON FUN ~ Pollyanna's Perspective...


At the age of 45, writer Regina Brett wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer listing 45 lessons that life had taught her thus far. As a breast cancer survivor, many of those lessons were learned the hard way. Five years later she added five more lessons rounding her list up to 50 and turned her popular list into a book called God Never Blinks. I found her list to be entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking. I thought I would go through each of her lessons learned and write about how that lesson has or has not come up in my own life, now that I am 40 and feel old enough to have finally learned something.

"Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'in five years, will this matter?'"
~ LESSON #26

Perspective. That's the point here. I'm good at perspective. Often times I get a bit too Pollyanna-ish. Someone comes to me with a complaint and I try to think of how it could be worse. So that they see that things may not be as bad as they feel.

Admittedly, folks don't often want to hear that type of talk when they are feeling miserable and really just want to vent and gain sympathy. But at the appropriate moment, a little perspective can help to get you in the right frame of mind to grab those boot straps.

I believe Regina's lesson above is meant to point out that very few incidents in the long run are truly as awful as they appear to be in the short term. But the fact of the matter is, there are tragedies and disasters that really will still have their impact felt on your life in five years. For those moments, I suppose we should refer all the way back to Lesson #1.

So, go ahead and vent, complain and wallow. Just don't dwell. If it won't be the end of the world still five years from now, why waste any more time than necessary being dramatic over it and put some perspective into play.

8 comments:

Lin said...

How timely this lesson is!! I was talking to my friend yesterday and we were both talking about how difficult it is to deal with our aging moms these days. We weren't really complaining as much as supporting each other through it all. But when we were wrapping it up, she mentioned that another girl we know is dealing with both of her parents dying at the same time.

Yeah, somebody always has it worse.

Sandy Nawrot said...

With my kids, sometimes I have to stick to my guns, even though it is individually a trivial matter. It is amazing how small things can bite me in the ass six months later! But I am not a dweller. I sulk, vent, then move on. Generally I am a positive person.

ds said...

Excellent advice, so hard to remember "in the moment."

Wanda said...

Friends and family tend to talk things over with me because of my "Pollyanna-ish" perspective. Your post is a reminder to turn that same attitude inward (and to watch the movie, I just realised my youngest has never seen Pollyanna!).

kaye said...

I've always like looking at things the way Pollyanna did :)

stacybuckeye said...

Not dwelling is the important part. We all vent and complain. Then we need to move on. Some days that is easier than others!

Tami said...

This is a tough lesson - even tougher, I think, when watching your children try to learn it - but it applies to so many things that we tend to hyperventilate over.

Also love your reference back to lesson #1.

Kathleen said...

I always tell my son that we have to put a time limit on our dwelling on things or they just take over. Most things aren't worth dwelling on over and over again.