Thursday, November 23, 2023

Unapologetic Pollyanna – #Thanksgiving #Gratitude #Abundance

Thanksgiving Bounty

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

I was only seven years old when I saw Walt Disney’s take on
Eleanor Porter’s classic novel Pollyanna, about a twelve year old orphan who despite her trials manages to see the best in everything and everybody. Pollyanna Whittier is “radically optimistic” (Wikipedia) in her insistence that no matter how dire the situation, there is always something to be glad about.

Even as a kid, I wondered whether this was a realistic perspective. Still, I found the gradual transformation of the town of Harrington due to Pollyanna’s influence to be thoroughly plausible. In the course of the film, conflict turns to cooperation, fear turns to courage and loneliness vanishes as people unite for a common purpose. Some might find the film saccharine, but for me, it had the ring of truth.

Now that I’m older – much older! – and I’ve been experienced the ups and downs of life, I’m more convinced than ever that Pollyanna was right. We can’t always choose what life throws at us. However, we can control, to some extent at least, how we react. Finding the good in pain, loss or failure can be difficult, but it’s always there if we look hard enough. And if we make the effort to discover and acknowledge that good, it becomes easier to deal with the negative aspects of the situation.

In the U.S., today is Thanksgiving, a day devoted to counting our blessings, though some people may have forgotten that. Since I live overseas, far from the turkey and the football games, that’s the most salient aspect of the holiday for me. I look around and I’m a bit awed by all the good in my life.

That’s easy for her to say, you might be thinking. She has a roof over her head, a life partner, a job that covers her basic needs, health issues that are manageable rather than critical. I won’t argue with the fact that I’m extremely fortunate, but that’s the whole point. I could also find lots of things to complain about in my life, because if you take a negative perspective, you’ll always see things that could be improved.

I try to resist being pulled into that trap. External conditions do not determine happiness. Ultimately, we shape our world from within, based on the way we view and react to those conditions. If we focus on the positive, the positive becomes our reality.

I’m not trying to convert you to my way of thinking. You may well consider me ridiculous, naïve, nothing but a past-her-prime relic from the peace-and-love Sixties. That’s okay. I’m content to be an unapologetic Pollyanna, enjoying and celebrating the abundant good in my life.

Gratitude can heal the heart and the mind. I believe that when we let the light of gladness shine, we cannot help but illumine everyone we touch.

Wishing a joyous and bountiful Thanksgiving to you all!

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