This I Believe

Kelly - indianapolis, Indiana
Entered on August 1, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: gratitude

I believe in Pollyanna, but not the maligned, kitschy version of Pollyanna. My Pollyanna is a girl who played the Glad Game, listing the things she was grateful for. And it is something I have always done.

Does it sound silly to make a glad list? Overly simplistic in today’s world? Maybe even a bit naive?

Not to me.

I find my very best days are when I am overwhelming grateful for what I have. The gratefulness can be for something important like my husband, or something small like evening tea. I have been glad when I didn’t have money and when I did, when I was going through rough times and when I was enjoying life’s pleasanter moments.

I think feeling glad is more than taking time to smell the roses, although I do believe that is a part of it. If I am rushing around I don’t have as many Pollyanna moments. What helps me the most to experience my inner Pollyanna is being grateful no matter what I am doing or what is happening to me. Sometimes I’ve had to play the Glad Game retrospectively. But in the end, there is always something to be grateful for.

I believe I have had a blessed and happy life. I believe it will continue to be so. Some people, aware of my history have said I am not honest about how things really are. Some people have told me I am not cognizant of what is going on in the world. To those I say this: I am aware of sad events in my life and in the world. I know it is there, and I don’t ignore it. But I prefer to dwell on the things I am glad for.

There is plenty of that too.

So why all the Pollyanna bashing? Why is it uncool to be glad? I think there are many reasons for this. Some people believe if they declare they are happy then it will somehow be taken away. Others believe it is selfish to be happy when others suffer. Still others believe it is through unhappiness that we grow the most.

It may be against conventional wisdom, but I believe that one can also learn life lessons while being happy. I believe you can better help someone if you take care of yourself. And as far as anything taking away my happiness, I don’t believe any cosmic force would be that unkind.

Being like Pollyanna means you must be aware of yourself in this world. If you can list what you are glad about you are living your life fully. If you can’t, it might mean you need to take steps to change it, or your perception of it. Some people would rather be sad than to do that.

Pollyanna was a glad and grateful person even when things weren’t going her way. She helped others around her be glad and grateful. I can’t think of a better person to believe in.