Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Try to Stay Positive and Fail a Little Every Day. That's okay.

"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly," read the sign I used to keep above my desk. It was the source of a few misunderstandings. I had to explain what it meant more than once. The message wasn't that doing a half you-know-what job is okay, but rather that the things you want to do are worth doing even when you're not good at them because you're just starting out. That it's okay to stay positive when you suck.

Some people are what are called natural talents. Most of us? Not so much.

stay positive

As children, it doesn't bother most of us. We're not supposed to be good at anything because we're still new to the world. As adults, though, the things we fail at irk us. One little failure, and we chuck whatever we're doing out the window. Because we're obviously not good at it. Because it's just too hard. Because we have no talent. Even when it's something we've never done before. Isn't that silly?

Let me tell you about something I fail at every single day. Staying positive. I stink at it. I wasn't born positive - or maybe I was, but life knocked it out of me. There are a lot of scowly pictures of my childhood. My mom says I had to develop a prickly exterior to cope with all the yucky stuff I had to deal with as a toddler and then a kid and as a teenager, too. So I grew the prickles, then I tended them, and they rose up around me and engulfed me.

Today, I have a lot less to be prickly about and fewer worries. Fewer worries than I had as a child, isn't that sad? But also a blessing! Unfortunately, my ability to stay positive has not evolved along with the rest of my life. So I work at staying positive, every day. And most days, I do it badly.

Incredibly badly.

Without realizing it, I'll suddenly find I'm berating myself for not amounting to anything by age 32. I'll say something mean in my head about the driver ahead of me who didn't signal. I'll roll my eyes when the P. is having a bad few hours. I'll snipe at the BabbyDaddy for something relatively inconsequential that feels, in the moment, like a big deal. I'll look at myself in the mirror and just dwell on how fat and ugly and gross the body looking back at me is. The usual babble of a mind not at peace.

staying positive

But I'm working at staying positive. Especially now when I'm extra inclined to be pessimistic. I'm doing it badly, I'll freely admit, but it's worth it all the same. Maybe someday I will be better at it. Maybe sometime, positivity will become my natural state. Maybe it will always be my challenge to overcome.

I don't know what the future will bring, so I'll smile in the here and now.


  1. You made me think! I totally didn't get the sign at first, but I think that's a really good point. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing even if you can't do it perfectly. I tend to get caught up in the procrastination knot of not doing something because I don't think I can do exactly what I want...

    Thanks :-)

  2. There was a long time in my life that I just prayed to be friendly :)

  3. I struggle with this one, too. My husband pokes me about it all the time. Yoga helps ... sometimes. Other days are very dark. It's a big pit to climb out of. Thanks for writing about it!

  4. I fall prey to this too! I just try to remember how lovely a life I have with my son and husband. I say, doing it badly is better than not doing it at all, as long as it's truly a concerted effort.
    And that painting in the background you were asking about? One of the activities at his party was mural painting with finger paint. :)

  5. This is an incredibly healthy attitude to have!

  6. Love love love that quote. Thanks for the dose of encouragement today. I so appreciate you stopping by yesterday for my SITS Day! It was fantabulous.

  7. I think all of those things, we all struggle with to some degree. I'm sure your childhood didn't help, but I want you to know you're not alone!

  8. we all go through it honey. Some days I feel like superwoman and some days I wonder why I don't have things other women have. it's a moment by moment battle we all face...but smiling is so much more fun. (hugs)

  9. I can so relate! It's great to be positive when things are going right, but the minute something goes wrong it's so much easier to stay in our own soapbox. Great post. SO glad I found you on SITS.

  10. I used to be the most negative person on earth. Alpha Hubby helped me with that because with him in my life, compared to how awful life used to be? Well, I have nothing to complain about or be negative about. Sure I hate my extra weight, hate aging, hate a lot of things BUT compared to how life used to be? Raspberries.

  11. p.s. - btw, doesn't mean I am super duper sweetsie teetsie all the time. I still have to slap my hand over my mouth sometimes for the negatives that still try to come out.

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