It was one of those grey days at the end of March when the winter seems to have gone on far too long. I was walking around the Park, taking a break from sitting in front of my computer and hoping to find some cheerfulness in the day. I passed a grandmother with two or three little children. She was saying, “don’t put your love in the refrigerator” and that was all I heard. It’s made me smile as my immediate mental image was of putting someone I love inside a fridge – and they wouldn’t fit – made it an unlikely story for a grandmother.
I played with this sentence as I walked. Was it a way of saying: don’t treat people coldly, don’t harden your heart? Or had I misheard? Perhaps she said, “don’t put your life in a refrigerator” meaning don’t put your life on hold. Perhaps she was simply telling a fairy story? Whatever her original meaning was, this odd little sentence served to make me smile and cheer up my walk.
Sometimes I overhear a few words that can be really useful for my own self reflection. It’s as if the universe has lined up everything so the other person says the positive words just when you pass by. It’s not a challenge to listen into other people’s conversations or when they are on their mobile. It is just noticing that I have overheard something by accident and making use of it. The best examples are when you hear someone saying, “I feel great”, “it’s all good”, “I’ve had an excellent day”, “things are going well” or anything else that is positive or enthusiastic. Tell yourself that you were meant to overhear it and then borrow it and feel good about it. Don’t borrow other people’s negativity. Only borrow what is uplifting.
A similar technique is to work with newspaper headlines. Look through three or four old newspapers or magazines and pick out any headlines that hold a positive message about how you are getting on (in life generally or in some specific area). Deliberately take any positive message, editing it from the rest of the sentence. For example, you find the headline: Retiring footballer had a successful career from which you can take “a successful career”. Try to find three or four headlines and see what message they are giving you. Recently I was given, “the green light”, “really exciting…”, “flying high”, “soars to new heights”. The feel-good factor of this exercise makes it really worth the effort. Stick your positive headlines on the fridge or on the bathroom mirror and when you look at them, allow yourself feel good.