Tag Archives: bad

The Glad Game

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

It ain’t a ball or a strike until I call it, says the umpire.

If you’re a baseball fan you are familiar with that expression. There may be plenty of fans and players who might call the pitch a ball or a strike, but the umpire gets the final say.

Did you know that you are the umpire in your own perceptions of your life with these same kinds powers? You’re making your own calls all day long. Your judgment calls declare the world to be a good or bad place, your temporary hotel room ugly or beautiful, or the President’s or Congressional decisions to be moral or immoral, right or wrong.

Just as there are players and fans at a baseball game who disagree with the umpires calls there are others in your life that may disagree with your “call.” But you still have the ability and power to make the call.

In fact, it is very difficult to STOP judging the world. Our brains are hard wired for a negative bias. This biological function enables us to quickly assess a predatory animal, a dangerous path or a poisonous food. Without this function our species would have perished a long time ago. I wouldn’t be here writing and you wouldn’t reading this blog without our valuing filters that lead to our judgements, actions, opinions and corrections.

That also means that we are not hard wired for a positive bias. We must learn and practice over and over again in order to notice and celebrate all that is good, in balance and life sustaining.

PollyAnna, the overly nice, sweet and optimistic heroine in the 1913 Eleanor Porter novel by the same name can be our teacher here. She was taught by her pastor father to always find the silver lining in every cloud. PollyAnna developed this skill so proficiently that she was able to discover what was good about receiving crutches as the charitable Christmas gift instead of the doll she was hoping for from the generous parishioners. What was good? At least she didn’t need them.

This skill is referred to as the Glad Game. And as simperingly simple and sugary sweet as you may imagine it, developing and regularly practicing the Glad Game can actually improve your Mental Health & Happiness.

Remember, what you perceive and judge as unfair, ugly, mean, or too hard can be changed by you. Look for the fair and equitable in what you are calling unfair. See if you can find the handsome or unusual in what you are declaring as ugly. Is there any justifiable or understandable aspect in what you now declare mean? Can you discover the challenge and stretch to pursuing what you called too hard?

Simply by reviewing a circumstance, action or object you can usually find the good as well as the not good. It is our brain’s hard wiring that has us rushing to the negative judgement. But with practice and effort, we can change the automatic negative call into a neutral or even positive assessment.

How are you making yourself feel?

by Dr. Barnes Boffey

Although it seems incredible and almost incomprehensible, the reality is that “we create both the emotions we love and those we hate.” Our emotions do not happen to us, they are the result of an experience coupled with the story we tell ourselves about that experience.

kid

Suppose, for example, you are writing a greeting card, and your child runs by, hits your arm, and you end up scribbling on the card. How would that make you feel? The answer is that it wouldn’t make you feel anything. What would create your emotion is the story you begin to tell yourself about what happened. If you say “How can he be so clumsy,” you would feel frustrated and maybe angry. If you tell yourself “Oh, man, I just spent 10 minutes on this card. Not cool,” you might feel disappointed and frustrated. If you told yourself, “No big deal, he’s a kid and he didn’t mean to do it,” you might feel forgiving and calm. The emotion you “have” is a result of the story you create.

This is both good news and bad news. Good news because we now have a great deal of control over the story we tell ourselves and bad news because we can no longer blame everyone else in our lives for “making us” feel bad (or good). We have to give up the victim role, even knowing the power of being a victim and its many attendant assets. But in the long run, as emotional victims we are at the mercy of the world in which they live, a terrible place from which to try to meet our basic needs.

Helping each other tell different stories about our lives is the purview of a good friend, a parent, a counselor and a spouse/partner. Same story. . . same emotion. But knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. Some stories are very, very hard to change, especially once they become part of the fabric of who we are and how we present ourselves to the world.

Victimhood is a sad and ineffective perspective from which to our lives. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.