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Pollyanna Proliferation

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?

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Reader Comments (4)

Anne Frank said "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart". I think you and she would have gotten along well. Who said "Optimists and pessimists both basically reach the same end but optimists have more fun along the way"?
Okay Connie, I'm with you. Let's look for the good in all people, even the jerks.

December 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Walker

Ha, ha, ha! There you go! The jerkiness of jerks can get us to giggling if we don't take things too seriously and what's better than a good giggle? Also, someone once said that the people who are hardest to love are the ones who need it most, so jerks give us much needed practice for our loving skills!

December 6, 2009 | Registered CommenterConnie Assadi

Thanks for this, Connie. I used to have a Pollyanna the point that it would piss some people off. Somewhere along the way I lost it. I need to get it back!

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShirley Butler

A Pollyanna attitude does tend to push some peoples' buttons in a rather unpleasant way. They are probably very unhappy people and to see folks bright and cheery is just a reminder of what they are missing. It is, however, important for people to be reminded of the joy that is possible in life. Think of the cultivation of a Pollyanna attitude as a sort of a public service!

February 14, 2010 | Registered CommenterConnie Assadi

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