Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Channeling Pollyanna

I will be the first to admit that being called “Pollyanna” is not usually a compliment, connoting someone who is excessively and even blindly optimistic. I have found the idea of Pollyannaism to be annoying and unrealistic. However, I recently happened across the film (based on the book by Eleanor Porter) on cable, and was able to see it with new eyes. Pollyanna was a young girl who came to a small, uptight town after her parents died and ended up making a huge difference in people’s lives. She helped them to see another point of view – a more positive one that better served them. And in the end, they were grateful and returned the favor by coming to her side when she was in need of love and support after a debilitating accident that crushed her spirits.

Pollyanna is about perspective. She played the “Glad Game,” which involved taking a bad situation or issue and asking the question, “What can we find that’s good about this?” It’s not about making up something that is not true, or about ignoring the realities. It is about acknowledging what may be so, and taking it a step further by shifting focus and attitude toward something positive.

I have been playing with this for a few weeks and have found that there are so many default perspectives I have going on within me that tend to focus on the negative. While they may help highlight areas where caution is needed (warning), or where empathy toward another is warranted (when the situation involves someone else), these points of view only get me so far. What I’m most interested in is how can I take heed, but create a more positive outlook at the same time? I believe in the power of choice. When presented with a situation where I may have a variety of points of view, I want to choose a perspective that empowers me.

There has been a lot of press about the Law of Attraction. In essence, it says “like attracts like.” Our thoughts, as demonstrated in quantum physics, have the power to shape our experiences and the world around us. So, if we think negatively about something (e.g., “I’ll never get out of debt” or “I know I’m going to screw this up”), we tend to get exactly what our mental vibration is putting out. In contrast, if we focus on the more affirming perspective (e.g., “There is an abundance of money out there and I just need to find it” or “I am a strong, intelligent person who will do an excellent job here”), we are more likely to attract that. This could also be explained simply by the power of our own beliefs – when we believe we can or can’t, we’re usually right.

If the Law of Attraction or Pollyanna sound hokey or completely out in left field, consider this: Wouldn’t it be better to go through our days feeling good about our experiences, to channel something positive, and to open our eyes to what’s possible? Wouldn’t we rather choose a perspective that allows our minds to refocus on what’s amazing in our lives versus what’s missing and broken? I challenge you to practice playing with positive perspectives and affirmations every day for a week and see how your attitude and experience shift.