Remember the old classic Disney film Pollyanna? I remember loving it as a child and taking its very wise message to heart. Pollyanna’s father taught her “The Glad Game” which was, in essence, to find the good in every situation. This game saw her through the toughest of circumstances. When Pollyanna was orphaned and living with stern old Aunt Polly she persisted in finding the good in every situation and seeing the good in the people around her despite their negative outlooks on life and habitually ingrained grumpiness. Sent to the attic as punishment, she admired the beautiful view it afforded. Given only bread and milk for supper she realizes she does, indeed, love bread and milk. Soon, with her youthful enthusiasm and unending gratitude for all life brought her, she melted the hearts of those around her and, by teaching them her secrets to enjoying life, enriched their lives immeasurably. Her perceptions of life changed the lives of those around her. Simple really, and yet a lesson I think we need to revisit time and time again.
The term “Pollyanna” has entered our language as a description for someone who unfailingly finds the good in life, no matter the circumstances. In today’s fast paced, success-oriented, sophisticated and sometimes jaded world it often takes on a negative connotation, as if finding the good was hopelessly naïve and ignorantly unrealistic. I beg to differ.
What if we all absolutely insisted on seeing the best in each other? What if we would take each person as they were, each situation as it came without trying to judge? What if we always looked for silver linings and knew, just knew they would be there? What if we took it upon ourselves to always bring good cheer, always lend a hand when needed, and always, without fail, without regard for what was in it for us, love others? Life would be transformed, that’s what, for us and for those around us.
I aspire to be a card carrying, certified, state of the art Pollyanna. Yes, indeed, that is my new year’s resolution! Anyone else?