Today I want to continue with the idea from the last post. This idea of finding the good in situations that irritate us…and then having the experience completely turn around for us…is very much like playing the “Glad Game.” Remember that from the 1920’s book and ’60’s Disney movie, Pollyanna, staring Hayley Mills?
Just in case you’ve forgotten, Pollyanna had a somewhat challenging life. As an orphan, she was sent to live with a excessively stern Aunt and locked up in an attic room, fed only bread and milk, and eventually is run over by a motorcar, losing the use of her legs. And yet, Pollyanna refuses to let anything get her down and looks for the blessing in everything by playing a game her father taught her, called the “glad game.” Her undying optimism has an effect on everyone in the town, turning it around and eventually even begins to thaw the frigid, unpleasant Aunt Polly who learns to see the light and find happiness with an old beau. Oh, and at the end…she learns to walk again.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the book or movie you’ve no doubt heard the word Pollyannaish used pejoratively to describe someone who refuses to look at what’s wrong or see the seriousness of things. “Oh, don’t be such a Pollyanna!” We think of her as a goodie-two-shoes who “just doesn’t get it.”
But actually Pollyanna represents the age-old archetype of the eternal optimist. My definition of an optimist is someone who sees possibility…who see an open window…where a pessimist sees only a closed door. An optimist is open to finding solutions where the pessimist has given up a long time ago. In the story, it was Pollyanna alone whose refusal to give up, and instead find the good in everything, that turns an entire town around. And it’s a “Pollyannaish” attitude that can turn your life around…and perhaps those around you as well.
Which one are you…an optimist or a pessimist? A Pollyanna or bitter Aunt Polly? Like Pollyanna, playing the Glad Game can help turn you into a possibility thinker…a joyful person…and completely transform your life. Give it a try. Let’s play the Glad Game together.
What are you grateful for right now? Even those things that, at the moment, seem to be an annoyance, or even a challenge. See if there is anything there you can be thankful for.