Time to smell the roses

Making a conscious effort to focus on (remember) the positive…

The subject of this post has been playing around in my mind for a few weeks now. Today in particular, after spending most of my day with my sick two-year old, and after a particularly stress filled week at work, it’s a subject that is close to my heart – and a concept that I need to put into practice. now.

Two-months ago I was still in the middle of my trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro. The high that I felt in completing that feat – and the fundraising project that lead me to Africa – stayed with me for several weeks after my return to “regular” life. 

Now that the stress of work and the everyday has caught back up with me, I’m trying to find a way to grab hold of the positive energy, the confidence and the overall “good” feeling and perspective that I had in January.

I think that a part of getting myself to focus on the positive is to remember it.  Maybe that sounds simplistic, but I don’t think it’s that easy. You live an amazing experience (like Kilimanjaro) but 2 months later, the positive effects seem to have disappeared. Or maybe someone compliments you… and you feel good… but a couple of days later, you’ve forgotten that compliment and are feeling self-conscious or insecure about the very thing someone else took the time to highlight. If you’re like me, good memories can be a source of strength and energy and maybe you need to be reminded from time to time that you’re pretty, that you’re smart, or that you’re good at what you do.

Take (and keep) stock of the positive things people say to (and about) me.

At work, we’re supposed to take the positive feedback that we get and send it on to our manager and director – that feedback is collected as indicators of success in our various projects. Maybe one way of “smelling the roses” is have my own collection of good feedback or positive encouragement that I’ve received from people around me.

When people think nice things about me or something I’ve done or been a part of… it makes me feel good, it makes me feel appreciated. So why not hold on to that feeling?

Recently I’ve had more than my share of encouraging words and sweet compliments.  “A happy Andrea will continue to make others happy” (wow), “you inspire me to be better woman and mother”(double-wow), and even the  more superficial (but still very nice) comments on my appearance (I don’t think I’ve ever had more compliments on how look as I have since I cut my hair – go figure!). Remembering this type of “feedback” doesn’t just make me feel good about myself, it motivates me to keep pressing forward, to keep doing things that make me happy, that can inspire others… and to keep doing my hair and putting on some make-up every morning 😉

Remembering the peaceful, fun or beautiful moments…

Maybe you don’t need or even like it when people compliment you. Maybe focusing on good memories is more for you. That works for me too.

A week after our family trip to Cuba – it almost feels like we never went. But if I think really hard, I can remember walking from the hotel room to the pool without my sandals on… I can remember the heat of the paved walkway under my feet and the heaviness of the humid air… the warmth of the sun… In that moment, in remembering… I think I am taking time to smell the roses.

Maybe my “key” to staying positive is my “memory” of the positive in my own life.

So I’m going on about staying positive and savouring good memories – maybe it gives the impression that I’m unhappy or that I don’t recognize the good that I have in my every day life. That is not the case. I’m very happy and just last night I was out on a date with B – chatting and laughing while we enjoyed good food, tasty wine and great conversation.

But I do have moments where I feel discouraged or unappreciated, whether it’s at home or at work. And the more I think about it, the more that I think “smelling the roses” is not just about the here and now, it’s not just about slowing down to enjoy the moment. The here and now is important, enjoying the moment is too (one of my biggest lessons on Kilimanjaro) but savouring memories and pulling up compliments from the past might jut be another key for me.

After all… my past is what makes me who I am today, right?

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