Have you ever known someone whose attitude seems to be too good to be true? Do you know someone who always seems to find the positive in life and wears a smile no matter what they may be experiencing? Over the years I’ve known a few people that fit this description and I wondered how they could carry on this way day after day. Some people have even thought of me in this fashion, but I know that it is not easy; and it is a choice one makes on purpose every day. It is a practice.
I recently went to the movies to see the film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” The movie gave an insight into the life of Mr. “Fred” Rogers from the perspective of a journalist named Lloyd Vogel who was assigned by Esquire Magazine to do a piece on him being a hero. As Lloyd interviewed Mr. Rogers and spent time with him, he felt that the image he projected was too good to be true. He felt that he must be putting on an act. Lloyd’s personal attitude or spirit came across to me as more pessimistic than optimistic. Not really trying to see the positive side of a situation.
Over the course of time, in the various conversations Lloyd and Mr. Rogers had together, the tables began to turn, and Mr. Rogers began to ask Lloyd questions -- making Lloyd a bit agitated and uncomfortable. Lloyd had no desire to open up and share anything about himself or personal life, but there was something about the sincerity of the way Mr. Rogers spoke to him that made the walls of his hesitation begin to come down. Because of the genuine interest Mr. Rogers showed in Lloyd he allowed himself to become vulnerable, which ultimately began the process of healing for some of the past issues in Lloyd’s life. It’s amazing how people will open up when they feel someone is genuinely interested in them.
This scenario really spoke to me because Lloyd’s main problem centered around his relationship with his father and some issues that were from his childhood. When Mr. Rogers was talking with Lloyd, one of the questions he asked was, “have you forgiven your father?” He shared with him how important forgiveness is and although we may never get to a place where we can forget, it is never too late to forgive someone. This is the same thing I experienced. I had to learn how to forgive both of my parents for what I experienced as a child regarding the way I was treated by both my mother and father. I’ve never forgotten what happened to me, but I have been able to forgive them and move forward with my life.
In order to have more good days than bad days and to make them beautiful, we must learn to release some things in our life that continue to hold us back. I’m not saying this is easy because it isn’t; but it is possible. We must remember that it is a choice we make every day to practice looking at life as the glass half full verses half empty. We must learn to identify our hot buttons that can send us off into a negative direction and learn to control them so that we have the discipline to make choices that will have better results.
Watching the film about Mr. Rogers, I never paid attention to the “message behind the message” of what he was delivering day after day on his program. He really wanted to touch the lives of children and hopefully have a positive impact on how they dealt with life. Well, I would have to say he did a pretty good job! Thank you Mr. Rogers for helping to make neighborhoods a little more beautiful.
Healing Without Hate: It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!