A Burst of Sunshine

I got a call from M, a friend I hadn’t spoken to for a long time. She called to say thanks for thinking of her and by that she meant the postcard I sent. She’d received it and felt appreciated and thought of our friendship.
Throughout our 20-minute phone call, she kept saying how thankful she is, that I didn’t ‘give up’ on her. You see, we belong to the same group – actually a business networking group which a friend and I started two years ago. M was one of the earliest friends I met at our networking teas but she kind of drifted off and never attended our gatherings after that one time.
I had lunch with her one day where she told me her story, how she came to inherit a business she didn’t want, how she had bouts of depression. That was maybe a year ago.
I had heard from another friend that M was suffering severe depression and had a husband who didn’t treat her with much kindness. The last I heard, M had gone off to KL for a month, to think things through about her family and her business.
It’s tough when you hear such stories about friends.
But the call yesterday was surprising and refreshing. She sounded much calmer and dare I say it, happier. Her voice tinkled.
She kept saying thank you to me and how I didn’t ‘forget’ her even though she has hardly been coming to our WomenBizSense meetings.
“You are so positive and encouraging! Most people are not this way. Especially my family.”
I can still recall that burst of gratitude from M as she said this over the phone.
When the call ended, I thought to myself – why aren’t people more supportive and encouraging towards each other?
Especially family.
I am an optimist. This I know for sure. I can be down in the dumps for all of 10 minutes before I start berating myself about it and end up bouncy and soon I’ll be in a better state of mind. I like a good cry and I like getting all weepy and sentimental but that’s like a passing cloud. Once the cloud leaves I’ll be right as rain.
It’s easier being an optimist and people love being around you because you are a burst of sunshine. Far too many people wallow deep in negativity. They like shooting down other people’s dreams. It’s easier to live life this way – you don’t get your hopes too high because what if you don’t get what you want?
Ya and go through life being a wet blanket! Duh!
I have always felt that it’s good to encourage friends’ endeavours particularly if they’re practical and meaningful. I always say, go for it. I never discourage. I think life’s more fun when you think you can reach for the stars.
But maybe I’ve had the good fortune to be brought up by parents who believed in me from very young.

They never told me I couldn’t do anything.
If I said I wanted to be Supergirl, they’d probably say, OK, go for it. In fact they always supported me in whatever mad things I wanted to do but most times they listened to a young gangly girl of 8 – listening to me as I begged to be sent to boarding school (I can’t believe I wanted that and that’s mainly due to my best pal’s mom who wanted to send HER off to one), how I wanted to start a pet centre right in school, how I wanted to learn gymnastics so I could be like Nadia Comaneci. I wanted to be a lawyer when I was 16. I told Mom and she nodded. Not a word of discouragement. The list went on.
But that didn’t mean my parents were indulgent. No, far from it. I got my share of rotan when I was young, mainly because I refused to go to school and I was chased by Mom right into my favourite hiding place till the coast was clear – the bathroom! I still got nagged like crazy when I was in Form 6 because I missed curfew – my Cinderella hour was famous among my friends. If I got home past midnight, man, I’d get it from Mom immediately.
Mom was strict but my parents never said no, you cannot do it.
No such negativity escaped their lips.
I was always told to try out for things I wanted (joined storytelling contests even though I sucked in telling stories!).
I was always given the freedom to choose what I wanted (from switching to Arts Stream in Form 6 after 2 years in the Science Stream, taking English Lit when no one taught the subject, made up my mind to enter USM when I was 16 etc).
I was always taught to make decisions on my own and stand by them.
And if things didn’t go right, figure out why and keep getting better. (It helps that missy here loves a fine challenge. I hate being challenged but when I am challenged, I am in my ‘in the zone’ mode.)
But seriously, challenges aside, most of us always think that we have to do big, impactful stuff to make our mark in this world.
It’s not necessary.
You just need to reach out and impact others positively and soon you will see big impact as this effect ripples.
Being an honest and encouraging/positive friend, reaching out, being there can be just as impactful as any other meaningful stuff.
The world is better off anyway if it’s full of positive folks!

Leave a Comment