Today I had an epiphany. Between Jessica and I, I tend to be the cynical one. I don’t mean cynical in that I have no hope for humanity or that I have a general distrust for people. I mean cynical in that I tend to look at simple things and react negatively to them. A perfect example of this would be things associated with the Positive Thinking movement. It’s hard to explain because, overall, I think most people would tell you that I’m a positive thinker. I’m confident, I believe in myself, and I push others to believe in themselves. But there are things associated with positive thinking that I’ve had a hard time embracing; particularly, things like daily affirmations and signs with catchy positive phrases on them. In fact, one of my favorite websites many years ago was a site that had signs with the beautiful pictures on it with a statement, except instead of a positive statement, it would be something negative (funny, but negative). A perfect example that I recall was a photo of a snowflake and the caption read, “Remember, you are unique, just like everybody else.” To be honest, I still find those funny and probably always will.
But the signs with the positive statements always bothered me because I felt that, while the message was a good message, simply printing it on a sign did not solve any problems. In my view, positive thinking signs and statements, by the nature of them being mass produced and repeated over and over, lost their effectiveness and actually marginalized the message they were trying to make. That was my view until earlier today, anyway.
First of all, before I get into what changed my perspective on this, I need to say that Jessica and I have always had differing opinions on this. While she understands where I was coming from, she always felt that they spoke to her and that they can have a positive impact on others. To be honest, I always tended to blow that off. Words without actions are meaningless, after all.
So today . . .
I was on the treadclimber. I’ve decided that one of the big contributors to my increased number of migraines of late has to be partially due to the fact that I’ve really not been exercising. Typically, within a calendar year, I go through a couple months of focusing on my health before I fall off the wagon for the rest of the year. While I realize that this isn’t at all good for me, I also realized that it’s probably been two years since I even fell into that pattern. Yes, having a boatload of kids has helped to keep me somewhat active, but believe me, that’s different. So, I was on the treadclimber, watching the first episode of the current season of House of Cards on my phone when I looked up. Directly in front of me was the sign pictured above. Now, I don’t exactly know why. It may have been due to my mental state and the fact that I was sweating like someone from North Carolina in a Target bathroom, but the sign suddenly spoke to me. We have similar sentiments throughout the house, but somehow this sign, in that very moment, meant something. And then I realized that Jessica was right. The sign had a positive impact on me.
Jessica’s whole vision with this house has always been to invoke a sense of happiness, joy and overall cheerfulness. From the paint colors on the outside, to everything she’s done on the inside, she has always wanted that people come in, feel welcome and smile from the inside out. We have LITERALLY had people stop us as we’ve left our house to let us know that they drive by our house regularly and on purpose because it does just that. It makes them smile.
So, with that in mind, every thing she’s hung on the walls (or had me hang) go to that purpose. And as a result, we have signs and sayings all over the house. And so, I thought with this blog post, because in our day to day, we all tend to walk past these things and forget they’re even there, I thought I’d share photos of the signs throughout the house that Jessica has so thoughtfully placed as a reminder that life is to be enjoyed and that we can achieve great things if we believe in ourselves and are surrounded by people who believe in us. I hope you enjoy it (I recommend you click on the first photo and view like a slide show). 🙂