Four Ways to Embrace Your Inner Pollyanna

Four Ways to Embrace Your Inner Pollyanna


No one has ever accused me of being “Pollyanna-ish.” Not that I’m proud of that, mind you. But in general, I tend to be a realist with a touch of snark. Thus, it seems kind of ironic that I write a blog called Inspiring Generosity. I know. Weird. Deep psychological analysis here:
I write to remind myself of the benefits of gratitude and how I need to find ways to have a grateful heart.
So – surprise! – the title of a recent blog post caught my attention. (Please avert your eyes if a minor potty word offends.) Life Coach David Mochel was working with a client who – after some self-reflection - blurted out “I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I have become a resentful, ungrateful, entitled turd.” The blog post, “Seven Ways Not to be a Resentful, Ungrateful, Entitled Turd” was born.

Three of Mochel’s admonitions (plus one from me) on how not to be a t*^d relate directly to gratitude – an emotion that is critical to inspiring generosity.

1. Say thank you. Mochel suggests cultivating gratitude by “starting the day with a mental or written list of some things and people for which you are grateful.” And then, according to me, the next step? Let those people know that you are grateful for them. I’ve never known anyone who was put off because of a “thank you” or “I’m thankful for you” note or call.

2. Connect with compassion: “Wish strangers well.” Mochel’s practice for compassion might strike you as odd but it can get you out of your head and looking at people with your heart. As he says, “There are people carrying great weight – you can see it on their faces and in their posture. Many people are trying to escape their burdens by staring at screens, eating, drinking, yelling, or quietly beating themselves up.” Think of it, you could be the one making a human connection that might change the trajectory of a stranger’s whole day.
3. Let go of being right. OK, I personally really dislike this one. That’s because I. Need. To. Practice. This. (and I know I’m right about that). As Mochel says, “One of the challenges of being human is that we have a nervous system that can prepare us to defend our ideas as if we were defending our physical selves.” Letting go of being right can be freeing – and good for your mental health. It can also open you up to gratitude more easily if you aren’t insisting on your way. But there’s a caveat: You also have to know when it’s important to stand your ground. Generally though, we would all do better to boldly sing “Let it Go” at least once or twice a day. You’re welcome for that earworm.
4. Experience grace. As people of faith God’s grace is something for which we are ultimately grateful. As Frederick Buechner says in Wishful Thinking, “The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you…Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.”
Back to Pollyanna: Though we make fun of her, being a “Pollyanna” really isn’t such a bad thing…especially if it leads you to be a more genuinely grateful and generous person. Way back in 1913 when the book was written – when life was pretty tough – Pollyanna stood for someone who only saw the best in people. She said “thank you,” she wished strangers well, and she certainly, time and again let go of being right. She had a lot of grace. She saw the world through a lens of love and goodness. Perhaps it’s time for us to move from being resentful, ungrateful, and entitled you-know-whats and embrace our inner Pollyannas.  
Bring on those rose-colored glasses.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She is in search of the most awesome rose-colored glasses to wear for the Great Eclipse. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
If someone has forwarded this to you and you would like to subscribe to "Inspiring Generosity," click here.  Miss an issue?  Click here.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.