You cannot raise a man up by calling him down.

-William Boetcker

This seems self-evident. Who doesn’t know that it’s better to be positive than negative, that it’s better to offer encouragement than ridicule or criticism?

A positive attitude begins in the mind. A positive attitude is not a false view that everything is rosy. A positive attitude allows you to acknowledge imperfection, and determine to do what you can to improve the situation.

I come back to this again and again in my own life. When I let myself be drawn down a negative path of thought, my attitude and actions spiral down too.

The hardest part of being positive is being consistent. Anyone can be positive for a short time, for a sprint. It takes practice and effort to maintain hope and an expectation of good for the long haul. Because life frequently disappoints, people regularly disappoint, and many things are beyond individual control.

This morning, I couldn’t control the weather.

I couldn’t control the stock market.

I couldn’t control the real estate market.

I couldn’t control events in my kids’ lives.

I couldn’t control health for my family.

I couldn’t control actions of other people.

I could control my smile, my temper, and my heart.

Controlling the last three makes the other factors beyond my control more bearable, more manageable.

Controlling my responses, my attitude, doesn’t make me perfect. It makes me tolerant, forgiving, and accepting.

Determination to keep a positive spirit in the face of disappointment exercises personal strength, demonstrates self-discipline, and keeps me grounded in what is important: what I have determined is important to me.

Things are not important.

Relationships are.

Perfection is not important.

Excellence is.

Mistakes are not important.

Trying is.

None of these thoughts are new. All of these thoughts are challenging. Why is it so hard? Because consistency is the single most difficult component of choice.

Today, I’m trying again. I’m my own cheerleader, saying the words, the phrases, that motivate and inspire me.  I’ve been accused of being a Pollyanna, too naïve or too afraid to face reality, to see the bad stuff. But that’s not who I am. I’ve seen, and I’ve chosen.


  • Ann
    August 13, 2011, 7:32 am  Reply

    Sheila, this is such a heart-felt post. It made me think of a verse that struck me earlier this week in Romans 4:18, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed.” I love this thought. In verse 19 the comment is made that “without weakening in his faith” he faced reality. In chapter 5:4,5 the writer reminds us of how this hope grows in us and how it does not disappoint. As I’ve pondered these thoughts this weeks I have been so encouraged by them. Your determination to keep a positive spirit is commendable and inspiring! Thank you for these encouraging reflective words. I am cheering for you too!

    • August 16, 2011, 9:45 pm

      Thank you, Ann, you always say the sweetest things! You’re one of my never-failing sources of inspiration, little though you may know. It’s the quiet influence you have on me! Thank you for sharing your words and thoughts with me!


  • August 16, 2011, 2:47 am  Reply

    I like who you are. Keep on keepin’ on … MJ

    • August 16, 2011, 9:55 pm

      That’s a sweet thing to say! That means a lot to me, coming from someone I greatly admire and respect.


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