Sunday 29 April 2012

"Turn the World on With Your Smile"

"Who can turn the world on with a smile?
Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it's you girl, and you should know it.
With each glance and every little movement you show it." ~ Paul Williams

Recognize that cheerful little ditty? Chances are that if you were born and raised in North America any time before the 1980's you'll remember this as the opening of the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song. When I hear the song in my mind I also picture Mary twirling in the opening sequence and throwing her beret into the air. It made me smile then and it makes me smile now.

One of the most popular sitcoms not only of the '70's but, well, ever, it was also fairly groundbreaking for it's day. A single woman living on her own in the big city and a career woman too? Shocking! But Mary Richards was so much more than a one dimensional female sitcom character. She was smart, funny, attractive, and imperfect. She was someone "real" whom you could aspire to be. But the thing I loved most about Mary was her fairly unwavering optimism. When life knocked her down she brushed herself off and got back up. And life knocked her down a bit - she was working in a male-dominated field, fighting against societal norms, and let's not forget when she decided to throw a party and nobody came (perhaps the most tragic of all!). She took chances, she put herself out there, and she grew. Oh, and she made us laugh along the way.

You know what else Mary Richards did? She made a choice. She chose to be positive.

Yes, it's a choice and sometimes it's a hard one. It was nearly impossible for me to choose positivity when I was at the worst of my depression. The illness and the all-encompassing darkness that accompanied it was suffocating at times. It was beyond my comprehension to see the positive in the situation or embrace it as an "opportunity for growth"  (please try and imagine me saying those last three words in a sarcastic tone). So instead of biting off a concept far too big to chew, I broke off small, palatable pieces. I decided to recognize the tiniest moments of joy - a hug from my niece, an encouraging email from a friend, sitting in the sun in my parents' backyard, a bubble bath. Once I had re-trained my brain to recognize what was good, I began to feel grateful and ever so slowly, more positive. It was a very tedious, intentional journey back to wellness but it was worth the work.

Today I am generally pretty positive overall. My glass if definitely half full - actually, maybe more like three quarters full. But I am still a human being and things still get me. Sometimes as I walk to work I will be annoyed by something - maybe it's raining (In Vancouver? Impossible.) or I have a headache. I'll have an automatic thought, "I am so cranky right now!" But then I stop. I think to myself, will it be more fun to be happy and positive all day or will it be more fun to be cranky all day? Hmm, tough call. I have spent far too much time in the last ten years battling depression to take the happy days for granted.

Tomorrow is Monday. It's a new day, a new week, a new opportunity. So why not choose to make it awesome? Tomorrow I choose to twirl in the street and throw my beret in the sky.

KB xo
P.S. I love this! Check out Jessica's Daily Affirmations:

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