(Image from bitsofwisdom.org)
I will readily admit that one of my worst traits is my negativity. I'm going to blame my father for this because he's where I got my road rage and general anger from. My sister always says that I should never be allowed to drive, lest I run over someone on purpose. General angst and my paranoid tendencies don't help at all in my almost daily tirade at things and people who put a dent on my day.
Last year, however, I went through a seriously upsetting discussion with a (now former) friend, and it almost felt like I was going through a panic attack. I had difficulty breathing, my eyes were clouding over, and my fingers were so cramped from typing so fast. I calmed down after I took a step back and took some deep breaths. And then I said to myself -- "Wait a second, are you going to let your anger be more powerful than you?"
That incident happened just a day before the end of the year, and I thought, Next year you're not going to experience something like this again. So this 2013, I'm taking steps to being a more positive person. And I begin with this challenge.
Jamie Lano, an artist I follow on Twitter, posted a suggestion for the New Year. It involves a jar, some scraps of paper, and your happy memories. Basically the idea is to collect your happy memories in a jar, so that by the end of the year (or when you're feeling down), you can open up the jar and read through the happy times of your life.
I feel like a large part of my negativity stems from my habit of tallying up the bad things that have happened to me. Especially last year, I felt like I went through at least one huge unlucky event per month (not including the stubbed toes and hangnails which are equally frustrating!). And it hit me, how come I never take not of the happy things that happen to me? Even the minuscule happy events in my daily life?
The answer is, "Because I'm afraid of the good things outweighing the bad and falling into the cycle of self-despair all over again."
But in seeing this challenge, I thought, maybe it doesn't have to be a competition or comparison between the good and the bad. Maybe it's time to stop asking for what I could have and what was taken from me. It's time to appreciate the beautiful things in life, tiny as the may be, but they are there all the same.
Bad things will happen to me this year and the next years to come, but it's time to let them pass. Absorb what I can learn from them and let them fly away. Take deep breaths in times of confrontation and either step back or argue calmly.
I've already made 4 notes in my happy note jar (it's actually a box but let's not get into technicalities). On days that I feel down, I can just look at the box and be inspired to fill it up with happy memories.
I am looking forward to opening that jar on December 31, 2012. It will either be a fantastic year or the shittiest year of all time -- but what matters is I will always have happy memories to go with it.