Why I’m NOT Telling You To “Keep Positive”

I’m not. Neither am I going to tell you to look for the silver lining, have a positive mindset or meditate and it will all go away. Nope. Not telling you any of that. I know what you’re thinking. What the actually hell Kerry! But hear me out. Me telling you to keep positive will not change how you feel. In fact, it could make negative feeling’s intensify because you don’t feel that way. You could still be adjusting, be feeling too much stress and worry. You may not have reached that mindset yet. So what I am going to do instead, is show you instead of tell you. You are going to do the work on this one okkkaaayyyy? You are hopefully going to come to your own conclusion….

Why I’m Not Telling you to Keep Positive

There is no mistaking, we are living in extreme times at the moment. None of us have done this before. Lived like this before. We are all slowly feeling our way. It is ok to feel overwhelmed. Totally ok. I am not here to downplay any of your fears. Many of the things that we took for granted, have been taken from us. For some of us, our income. For all of us, freedom to travel (Ohhhhh how I miss travel). We are suddenly facing the lack of food in supermarkets. We are being prevented from seeing our loved ones that do not live in our house hold. We are down to our last loo roll……….But, as weird as it may sound, there are some truly beautiful sides to what we are all currently dealing with too. I know at this point, you are all expecting this little eco warrior to start talking about the benefits we are seeing in the planet….Well you guessed wrong, I’m not…….not yet anyway…ahem.

show yourself some self care to look after well being
No lecture here, just positive vibes

I want to talk about you. I want to talk about why YOU, are the beautiful and positive thing happening here. Every single one of you, of us, are the silver lining. The reason for this? Well we have the absolute luxury of being given choices. We have the choice, and the chance, to, (in the words of the late and great Micheal Jackson), make the world a better place. We are being presented with so many lessons if we choose to notice them, so many chances to be better. How can that ever be anything but positive right? Mother Nature has put us all on the naughty step to think about our actions. Like any loving parent, she is doing it for our own good. What a gift!

I have a deep down to my soul belief, that life had to change. The way we were carrying on and living, had to change. We, especially in the Western world, have lost sight of so much that is important. Our privilege has made us expectant. We live very unconsciously. We move through life only seeing half of what is there. Usually the unimportant half!

Well, this is our chance to pause. To take a breath. To see and truly learn the lessons that we are being presented with. Any negative, uncomfortable feelings that we are feeling are for a reason. They are to act as a reminder of this time. These feeling will put a little imprint on our memory, to hopefully, wave at us if we slip back into old ways. It will remind us of these uncomfortable times when they have passed. I appreciate it may not feel it right now, but it truly is a gift, and I say that with experience.

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

I have had this harsh lesson. In the months following sitting in the stark, white Doctor’s office to be told Nik had grade 4 cancer. This lesson was given loud and clear. The best way to express it is with an analogy. When we emerged from the horrors of Nik’s first cancer battle, scarred and bruised, it was like that scene in the Wizard of Oz. You know the one where Dorothy opens the door after landing in Munchkin Land? The black and white life that we were watching Dorothy live was suddenly colour. Bright, vivid colour. Well that is what our life was suddenly like. Everything was more colourful and more vivid. It was like we had been given new eyes to see with. Life was so much more beautiful. Well, I feel the same about this situation we are all in. I think if we are lucky, and open to it, we will all be given a new set of eyes to see with after this scary time passes. I can tell you with certainty, that too will be a gift!

Let us be clear on something here though. I am not in any way, trivialising anyones fears. I have fears too. I lost my income overnight with this. My youngest son lost his job. I worry about Nik and our eldest son. Both on the high risk list. I worry about my parents, Nik’s Dad. But, my worry will not change what is. This is way bigger than me. Bigger than all of us. Worry will just steal my energy, my sleep and my ability to think rationally. Fear will not serve me right now and I promise you, letting go of what we cannot change is liberating.

For many, fear will be an emotion bubbling away. It may disguise itself as another emotion, like frustration, panic or restlessness. But these feelings have their roots in fear. Fear is a powerful emotion, that can cloud all other thought processes. It can make us irrational and short tempered. But I will let you into a secret here. If you sit beside that fear, acknowledge and feel it fully, you instantly dilute it. You halt it in its destructive tracks. I urge you to accept that you feel the fear, and let it flow over you. By not fighting it, accepting that your fear is there, takes the sting out of it and helps you think clearer.

The little gem of knowledge to remember, is that a lot of that anxiety is because you are fearful of what could happen. Your mind is taking you away from the present, to a possible version of reality to come. As humans, we are predisposed to think of worse case scenarios. But, the minute you switch your brain to what you CAN do now, in this moment, rather than thinking of all that you can’t do, you disperse some of fears power. Anchor yourself to the here and now, this moment. Seeing what you have gained rather than lost could help you. Oh and fyi, Hope is the kryptonite to fear, the arch enemy. Bring out those big guns in abundance.

Just a handful of the things I have gained;

There WILL be things you have gained. You may have to look a little harder if they do not jump out to you. But there will be something. Here are just a handful of mine…

Time with my sons – My boys both work full time. They leave the house early, often returning late. Although one is still at work (he is on the key worker list), he returns straight home after work, rather than going to the gym or to friends. We are finding that we are all able to eat dinner together, something rare in our home and busy lives. We are all playing board games, having long conversations, watching films together. We are reconnecting as a family, and as individuals. What a positive that is!

Losing my income – I know, weird thing to put as a positive right? But, I have been dissatisfied in my day job for a long time. I earn an ok wage, but my passion for it has gone. This has made me look into, and apply for, other jobs. It has made me broaden my horizons on the sort of work I could do. I feel excited about changing the industry I work in. My eyes are wide open to opportunity and new business ideas. Yes, I have the worry of not earning a wage at the moment, but I will apply for the mortgage holiday, look at my monthly outgoing to see what I can reduce. I can do practical things to help my situation. Worry is not one of them.

Not seeing my Family and Friends – Facetime, HouseParty, all are great right? Thank goodness for them. But, they do not replace those hugs and face to face contact from our loved ones. How much are we going to cherish and appreciate them after this passes. Perhaps, we will not ever take them for granted again??? Big ole positive right there!

Having limited food – I am no cook. My ability is limited and I have no real interest in it. However, not being able to get some of the things I usually buy has made me inventive! It has made me explore recipes using the ingredients that I have at my disposal. I am not saying I am now a good cook, but I am definitely learning! If you need to know any ideas for what to do with a potato, I am your girl!

Image by RitaE from Pixabay

Being Stuck indoors – I am finding that I am reconnecting with myself, totally and fully. The weird thing is, I had known that I had to do this since the start of the year! I mentioned it in my post I just Feel Differently, that I was trying to quiet the noise. During this enforced pause, I have made decisions about my future and my life that I would perhaps have kept chasing to find in my head. I feel lighter for it!

Excited to Travel Again – You know travel is my thing. It has been part of mine and Nik’s life forever. But, the excitement I feel to get travelling again is ridiculous! I have never taken my privilege to travel for granted, but I do know I will travel differently now. I have been busy researching and building my “travel some day” list, and it is different from my original one. I have a different vision now of how I want to travel. I am so blooming excited!

View of budapest from above
So excited to travel again

I think overall, now I have calmed my fears, I have a feeling of gratitude and appreciation. I am grateful for what I have in my life, that makes me miss it so much! I am grateful for the lessons we are being given. I wish they were not as harsh, thats true, but let’s face it, we were not listening! Mother Nature was literally screaming into our ears to be more mindful of how we live. Coronavirus has become natures ally. The benefits that the planet has experienced just in the short lockdown period have been astounding. Rivers running cleaner. Pollution levels reducing by the week. Nature starting to flourish because of reduced footfall. Wildlife being able to have a little peace.

People are returning to the core values. Family. Cooking from scratch. Spending time together. Walking outside. Re-connecting with each other. Communities are being strengthened. Acts of kindness are all around us. We are caring about our neighbours, and the vulnerable in our areas. We are regaining our humanity and appreciation of each other. When I am on my daily walk outside, anyone I pass is saying hello and smiling. What a difference that makes! We are making eye contact with strangers without being viewed with suspicion. I am noticing the gorgeous gardens and areas of my neighbourhood. Drinking in the sights. It’s a beautiful thing!

I am not saying that this virus has been welcomed, not for a minute. It has been devastating and catastrophic for so many. But it has certainly come with some positives. It is why I truly feel that each and every one of us has the chance to be the silver lining in this. No one should be putting pressure on themselves to be learning Latin, doing a chemistry degree or practising for Masterchef. A Netflix/duvet/PJ day can soothe the soul too. But, I am saying that we have the opportunity to make change. In our own lives, and in how we treat planet Earth. We can emerge from this being better. Even if you are still not there yet with seeing anything positive in any of this, the change is happening, That will eventually filter through to you, even if its just in the cleaner air your breathe! You will be touched by the positive side, even if you resist it…(cue evil laugh and stroking of a cat, James Bond badee stylee)

So, to keep with the positive theme, I would love to know something positive that you have experienced during this. Especially those of you reading this that feel scared or a little shell shocked. Look around, there will be something good to share. I can not wait to hear what your positives are xx

I have 25 ideas for things to do while we self isolate if you need some distracting!

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35 Comments

  1. April 1, 2020 / 9:15 am

    This is a fantastic post Kerry and personally for me, I have really focussed on the positive things but that in general is my personality. Everyone is different and are entitled to be the way they need to be to be OK, I always say that your health, and your family are key but it is really strange when everything all the other things are not really accessible. Love teh photos by the way too.

    • April 1, 2020 / 9:25 am

      I feel weird saying that this has been a positive experience so far for me, but it really has! I am like you, I just have a positive outlook, but totally get that others may not. I think we all just need to find our way through these trying times, in whatever the manner that helps you cope. Thank you so much for reading Bejal xxxx

  2. April 1, 2020 / 9:59 am

    I’ve been overwhelmed by fear at times, but I really try to stay positive because I wouldn’t survive this psychologically otherwise. With positive, in this case I guess a more correct term would be to focus on everything that reminds of normal life, and do things that helps me not think of bad things. Practising music and digging into photography tutorials and different photo projects are my best friends.. everything creative is good for the soul.
    The positive aspects we now see in nature when people aren’t there to interfere, make me a bit sad because I know it will likely go back to normal eventually.. but what I do hope is that people will continue to be more caring, help each other more, respect authorities more also after this (here in Ireland, people generally are VERY compliant to the restrictions) wonder if the neighbour is ok, and that food companies doing home deliveries and other services could be a thing, as well as other possibilities to work remotely, because companies have been forced to find ways to make it possible.

    • April 1, 2020 / 1:34 pm

      Ahh I am sorry you have felt overwhelmed, I totally get it. It was all such a train crash wasnt it. So fast. I am forever the optimist that we will see people being more conscious. They will remember these times and how it was possible to live much more simply. I think the sense of community will hang around, at least I hope so! Thank you for reading. Stay safe and well xxx

  3. April 1, 2020 / 10:08 am

    It’s such a scary time but at least we can glean some positives from it.

  4. Brigitte
    April 1, 2020 / 10:24 am

    Another brilliant and thought provoking post Kerry. You certainly have a way with words! Of course people react differently. We are all unique and how we cope with situations is neither right or wrong. What we can do is support each other especially if anyone is feeling overwhelmed and living with fear. As awful as the situation is with people becoming horribly ill and dying.. when I had pneumonia I struggled to breathe and believe me it’s horrendous..it has given us a chance to reconnect, take stock and appreciate the world that we live in. One change I would like to see when this is over is that Sunday becomes family time and shops remain shut. That’s a way of life on the continent and there’s nothing to stop that happening here. xx

    • April 1, 2020 / 4:41 pm

      Brigitte thank you so much for your kind words. As someone who’s writing I admire greatly, I will take that as a massive compliment, thank you xx I would LOVE Sundays to be a day where everything shuts. That would be amazing. A day where everyone gets to switch off for the day and have a rest! It has been amazing to see so much kindness come from this awful situation, so it would be wonderful to see that continue wouldn’t it! Thank you for reading, and thank you for adding your thoughts xxx

  5. April 1, 2020 / 10:37 am

    I’m someone who always tries to find a positive in everything, and this, right now… my lockdown came earlier than everyone else’s, it was last year – panic attacks and family illness forced me to stay home for the majority of the time since August but now we’re not going out (at all, I’m genuinely worried about the poor cars new battery…) it’s made me want to be able to enjoy going out again after all this is over! Get a takeaway, go for a walk by the sea! It’s definitely giving me time to press the refresh button. Did you see the goats taking over the town in Llandudno? So amazing! xx

    • April 1, 2020 / 4:43 pm

      Oh Victoria I am sorry to hear you had a rough latter part of last year. That is rubbish xx What an amazing thing to come from this current situation though. You want to get back out there and rejoin the craziness haha! There has been some truly wonderful things happening in nature hasn’t there. It has made me feel so much hope for our future xx Thank you for reading, stay safe xx

  6. April 1, 2020 / 10:50 am

    Lovely, thought provoking post Kerry. I’m a glass half full girl too, though this has shaken me to the core. I started getting anxiety before realising it was a symptom of menopause and it still surfaces now and then – it has recently. But, mostly I am okay. Sometimes, I’m actually a little hyper as I realise how grateful I am for all I have in my life and what exciting things lay in store when this is all over. Travel is one thing that I can’t wait to do and me and Stressed Husband have spent some lovely moments lately dreaming up travel itineraries if money was no object and then bringing it down a notch or two to reality! It’s a great game. I’m enjoying writing fiction again too, which is amazing as I kept putting it off before. Anyway, there are definite positives here and family time is also major. Take care and hope to see you IRL when this is all over! xx

    • April 1, 2020 / 4:47 pm

      Lisa thank you so much for reading! I am sorry you experienced anxiety. As a fellow anxiety sufferer, I feel you fully! I did not know it was a part of menopause! we are so lucky to be women hahaha! Gratitude is a wonderful emotion to feel. It also raises our energy to attract more things to be grateful for, so keep waving that gratitude banner my lovely! I am so pleased for you that you have found a love of writing fiction again. What a beautiful thing to come from this. Your game with your husband sounds very similar to the travel wish list game we play too……like you, we have to remember we are not millionaires and dial it down a bit….lol Keep well lovely lady xx Look forward to a catch up after the madness xx

  7. April 1, 2020 / 11:32 am

    Love this post Kerry. It’s OK to not feel like using this free time to learn a new language or skill. I’ve found the last couple of weeks mentally draining and have no brain capacity or attention span at the moment. It’s taking all my energy to keep up with the small amount of work I’ve got coming through!
    Em x

    • April 1, 2020 / 4:50 pm

      Ohhh absolutely no pressure to do anything is there. If all we do is breathe and get through it, we are doing ok! Whatever gets us through it. It is definitely an adjustment period for this “new normal” so I think your energy will bounce back in no time. Just be gentle with yourself and do what you need to do to keep sane! Lots of love xxxx

  8. April 1, 2020 / 2:32 pm

    I’m generally a positive person having been dealt with so many things before that made me anxious (including living through a terrorist attack) and always try to find the good in every situation to focus on, even if its something tiny. It’s an interesting time but aside from the worry about the C word I am absolutely loving my time at home. Because of my husband’s job in Investment Banking we rarely got time together during the week as has crazy hours so its now so nice to have him around albeit he is working from the conservatory lol

    • April 1, 2020 / 4:53 pm

      Binny I love that description, an interesting time. It really is. It is revealing so much about ourselves as well as people in general. I love the kindness that it has brought out. What a little warrior you are. living through that and coming through it sane! Much love and respect to you for that xxxx I totally get where you are coming from your husband being home. I am so grateful for the extra time I am getting with my boys. We have a lot to be so thankful for don’t we xxx

  9. April 1, 2020 / 2:46 pm

    What a fantastic post Kerry, so much of it resonated with me! I have certainly relished the extra time at home and even though it means reduced income, working half days is really the medicine my tired soul needs. Even though Coronavirus has come with devastating effects, the positives are definitely worth focusing on. Having more faith over fear, cherishing this gift of time and building up excitement to travel again but this time with fresh eyes. We really had started to take Mother Earth for granted and we better hope our time on the naughty step is taken into account and she lets us into her good books again someday soon!

    • April 1, 2020 / 4:55 pm

      Thank you so much for reading, and your lovely compliment. Thank you xx I do think that sometimes, the Universe gives us the nudge we need to take action don’t you? Yes, this has been a pretty brutal nudge, but it has made so many people world wide take stock. Perhaps we all needed to give our souls a rest! Faith over fear is a wonderful way to say it Harpreet, I love that xxx

  10. April 1, 2020 / 7:10 pm

    thank you for this inspiring post

  11. April 2, 2020 / 7:17 am

    Lovely post, I’ve had to remind myself the last few weeks to only worry about the things I can impact and control, there is so much we can’t. I have also started reflecting each night on one happy thing from the day which is a nice thing to do amongst all the negative things that are happening.

    • April 2, 2020 / 10:50 am

      Thank you so much! I think we can all fall into the trap of worry and stressing about the what if’s can’t we, especially in such uncertain times. I am so glad you are able to reflect on your day with gratitude. It is such a powerful thing xxxx

  12. Jean
    April 2, 2020 / 2:32 pm

    OMG Kerry, I 100% agree about Mother Nature putting us all on the naughty step, it’s now our lesson to learn. It’s wonderful witnessing the changes to our planet that are happening since our lockdown, even the canals in Venice are now blue. I just hope when we get back to “our freedom” man will not revert back to polluting our world. Since my self isolation not only do I have the cleanest cupboards in Corringham but I am actually reading, crafting and generally having time to myself without feeling the guilt trip. I must admit I have had to ease up with baking as I will end up the size of a house.
    Keep safe and well xx

    • April 2, 2020 / 10:23 pm

      I really hope so too Jean. We have the chance to be better, I hope we take it! I know what you mean about the baking, I am doing a lot of cooking too……. You keep safe too!

  13. April 2, 2020 / 8:33 pm

    I really do think this period of time will be the creator of wisdom for us all, it was needed in a global and capitalist world, to remind us what’s actually important. Love this post

    • April 2, 2020 / 10:26 pm

      That would be the dream right? I hope so much that we acknowledge this chance we have been given to be better. It is time. Thank you so much for reading, I am so happy you enjoyed it xx

  14. April 2, 2020 / 10:26 pm

    The best thing to come out of all this is the time we get to spend with family and that life is much more relaxed and unhurried. I think people will be looking at their lifestyles a lot closer and making some big changes once this is all over! Let’s hope so anyway xxx

    • April 3, 2020 / 4:19 pm

      Ohhhh I really hope so. I know that my mindset has shifted. For the good! Long may it continue, we are being given the opportunity to make the change. We can only hope and dream x

  15. April 3, 2020 / 8:21 pm

    Without hope we have nothing so let’s carry on hoping!

  16. April 6, 2020 / 1:48 pm

    Loved this post Kerry, thanks for ‘being real’! I’m up and down like a yo yo – sometimes positive and enjoying the chance to chill at home, other times totally freaking out what might happen if I catch Covid-19 as I’m on the risk list (albeit low). I’m just taking each day as it comes, being kind to myself and focusing on the good things…

    • April 6, 2020 / 3:20 pm

      Thank you so much, I am so glad you enjoyed it. I think many of us are on that same rollercoaster! It changes daily how we are feeling doesn’t it. You are absolutely right though, be kind to yourself and don’t put any pressure on yourself to feel a certain way.

  17. April 8, 2020 / 11:40 pm

    Brilliant post Kerry! Totally love the angle you’ve written from. No matter how many tips you read on being positive, the truth is that your mind and spirit have to be in alliance. I love how you’ve picked the highlights you’re living through in this period. I think I have a mix of emotions in general – sometimes I’m excited about something and generally at peace, browsing future travel etc. Other times, I’m just frustrated that I cannot find spaghetti in my Tesco!

    oh well, this to shall pass. I suppose another good way of looking at things is that life will never be the same again even after this. I think the world will love a little deeper and cherish just a little more.

    x

    • April 9, 2020 / 12:16 pm

      Thank you so much Bugo! So glad you enjoyed it. Yu are so right, there will be so many lessons and blessings to take from this time. I just really hope that we all do! I have confidence and hope that we will all emerge from this more enlightened people xx Thank you for reading x

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