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December 2010
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uncovering the difference between cheerful and positive

Over the course of my life, I've spent some time with people who initially strike me as incredibly positive. They are always laughing, always quick to strike up a conversation with a stranger, always ready to smile and wave, or offer up a story of interest. These are the people that, on the surface, seem incredibly positive. They are upbeat, active, smiling, and they seem to be beaming with energy. But when I take a closer look at some of these people, I have to wonder: are they really positive? Is it positivity that they project -- or is it simply cheerfulness? 

Those who know me well probably wouldn't describe me as "cheerful." I'm not the type of person to strike up a cheery conversation with a stranger, and I'm generally not going around looking like the kind of person you'd want to strike up a conversation with. I have my cheerful moments, but I've come to terms with the idea that being a positive person doesn't necessarily mean spreading cheer everywhere one goes (though I must acknowledge that this would be a very nice thing to do and it's something I'm working on personally). 

It seems to me that there's a discrepancy between being positive and being cheerful. Being the nerdy girl I am, I thought I'd check out what the good ol' dictionary had to say about the words "cheerful" and "positive," and see if there really is a difference between the two words -- two words that are often used interchangeably. Here's what I found: 


cheerful: spreading good spirits; likely to dispel gloom or worry

positive: emphasizing what is good or laudable; moving towards progress


Though I can see that there are similarities between the words, but there are some distinctions -- one of the most important being the difference between what is internal and what is external. Being cheerful means giving out a cheerful attitude and surrounding a situation and the people around you with cheer, while being positive means adjusting one's internal outlook to see what is good and, after doing that, choosing to move forward in a beneficial direction without dwelling on the negative. 

Being cheerful is great and can do a lot of good, but if you really want to live a positive life, you have to focus on having a positive attitude. I've seen first hand that cheeriness can be a cover-up for what's really going on beneath the surface, but positivity is an internal belief that allows one to focus on the good in any situation. Positivity can, but doesn't always, lead to to cheerfulness. Cheerfulness can be, but isn't always, a sign of a positive outlook. The next time you find yourself in a situation that's tough and you're trying to make the best of it, ask yourself this very vital question: 


Am I being positive or am I being cheerful? 


You can certainly be both -- and I applaud that, since it's something I struggle with -- but it's essential to realize that just being cheerful is not always enough. Cheerfulness can be a projection of a positive attitude, but it does not always equal a positive attitude. After thinking about the distinction between these two, if you have come to realize you might just be cheerful and not positive, check out the requirements I've listed below for being a positive person. 


5 Must-Haves for Being Positive

1. Emphasize what is good. Being positive means focusing on the good in any and all situations. It doesn't mean ignoring the bad or downplaying reality. It means recognizing what is positive and emphasizing it instead of dwelling on what is negative. 

2. Seek improvement. Positive people don't settle for what's happening around them if what's happening isn't positive. If a positive person finds him or herself in a tough situation, s/he seeks to improve it. That desire to make progress is essential for a positive attitude. 

3. Be constructive. When talking to others (or even to themselves), positive people don't focus on destructive comments or thoughts. Instead, they are constructive, giving themselves or others ideas on how to improve things, rather than dwelling on what's not working. 

4. Keep an open mind. Positive people don't close their minds to thoughts or ideas. Keeping an open mind is vital to living life with a positive outlook because it allows an individual to experience new things and to keep his or her eyes open to good things in life. 

5. Share your opinions. Being positive doesn't mean shouting positivity from the rooftops, but it means sharing opinions and ideas with others. When asked about a situation or for an opinion, a positive person will look for the good and then focus on that aspect, offering constructive advice when necessary.


These are just my personal must-haves for being positive, and I'm sure there are many other ways one could define a positive attitude. However, the point of this post and of that list is this: if you want to live a positive life, you must learn not just to be a cheerful person, but to be a positive one. It's great to have a cheerful person around, but if you're going to be a cheerful person, make sure it's because your cheerfulness is a reflection of a deep-rooted positive attitude, not a facade to cover up any negativity brimming beneath the surface.

Sadly, some of the most cheerful people I know are those in the most pain, those focused inwardly on the negative instead of the positive, while putting on a happy face for the world. It's for these people I write this post. If you are the person -- always smiling, always happy -- who is really hurting deep down, consider this post and consider looking deeper to develop a positive outlook on life. A shiny, pretty outward appearance will go along way with other people, but if you really want to be positive, you have to consider what type of mindset you have when no one else is around. 

Being positive takes a lot of work and a positive attitude is not always easy to adopt (believe me, I know this from first hand experience!). However, it is something every single person is capable of. It's a choice and one you must choose it for yourself. It's not as difficult to choose cheerfulness, so that's the choice people often make. But it's always up to you. You can have both, but if you want lasting positivity in your life, you must have an underlying positive attitude. Though it might not be easy for everyone else to see, I hope you now know that there is a difference between being cheerful and being positive. 


Are you living with a positive attitude,
or are you just being cheerful? 

Do you agree with the distinctions I've made
between cheerfulness and positivity?  


the top 5 ways to love yourself now

Hard as it can be to realize sometimes, no matter what you think, you are good enough. With the onslaught of picture perfect images in the media and culturally defined ideas of what we "should" look like, sometimes it's so hard to just do one of the most basic things -- love ourselves. To me, loving yourself is the very first step to living a positive and present life. If you can't love yourself, you're going to have a hard time truly loving the world around you and enjoying the life you're living. However, loving yourself is no easy task sometimes. It actually takes a lot of hard work, which is why I've come up with the top five ways you can start loving yourself right now. 


Top 5 Ways to Love Yourself


1. Stop comparing yourself to others. The entire world encourages us to compare, to want what others have, to want to be like others. In the post I wrote back in 2009, Stop Judging: 4 Reasons, 5 Things, 6 Ways, I talked about how much we lose when we waste time judging others and ourselves. If you truly want to love yourself, you must stop your comparisons. Focus on you and what's great about who you are, what you have, and what you do. Don't waste any more time comparing yourself to those around you. This is the first -- and most important -- step to loving yourself now. 


2. Focus on your achievements -- big and small. To often, we focus on the things that went wrong (or could go wrong) and not on the things we did right. We'll dwell forever on a conversation that went poorly, but hardly think at all about a wonderful interaction with had with someone. Likewise, people are often more likely to focus on their failures than their achievements (probably as some sort of self-protection in order to avoid future failures). It's okay to acknowledge the things that didn't go swimmingly, but if you really want to love yourself, you have to spend most of your time thinking about what you did/said right. And, remember, even the little things deserve a pat on the back. 


3. Look past the mirror to your true self. It's all too common for people to define themselves by the way they look. Remember: you are more than what you look like. Yes, it cannot be denied that appearance is important and has some merit, but it is not everything. The way culture is set up, it's hard to remember that sometimes. Next time you look in the mirror and find yourself filled with negative thoughts, remind yourself that you are more than what you see in that reflection. Your worth is more than the way you look. Once you convince yourself of the truth in those words, it will become much easier to love your true self. 


4. View yourself from an another perspective. We all have the tendency from time to time to get wrapped up in our own minds. Our thoughts and ideas take over and we tend to forget that there are millions and millions of other opinions and ideas out there in the world. The next time you find that you're giving yourself a hard time, take a step back and try to look at the situation -- and yourself -- objectively. You may soon realize that the way you were looking at yourself or the situation is not the way that others would. Taking a step back and looking at yourself with fresh eyes will help you to realize that you are worth more than you realize -- and you are certainly deserving of your own love. 


5. Make a list of all your awesome traits. Feeling like you're not quite up to par? Stop. Drop what you're doing. Grab paper and a pen. And get to work. The activity might seem like a silly one, but, seriously, taking some time to write about how great you are will help you to realize that, no matter how you might feel about yourself sometimes, you really are pretty awesome. And if you find yourself struggling with this exercise, enlist the help of friends and family. Hearing their input about your awesomeness will make you realize that, hey, if all of those people can love you, you can certainly love yourself! 


As I said, loving yourself isn't easy. It seems like the kind of thing that should come naturally, but I think most people are filled with reasonable amount of self-doubt and, as a result, their minds fill with self-deprecating thoughts from time to time. It's okay to struggle with self-love, but it's not okay not to give it a really solid try. You deserve to love yourself because, no matter who you are, you are awesome. So start embracing your awesomeness and use the five tips above to start loving yourself now. There's no time like the present to learn to love yourself! 


out with the old, in with the new positively present!


OldPP      NewPP
 Old Positively Present                 NEW Positively Present! 


"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. 
We are going to put words on them ourselves. 
The book is called Opportunity
and its first chapter is New Year's Day."  

Edith Lovejoy Pierce



To ring in the New Year, today I'm launching the brand new-and-improved Positively Present. (If you are reading this in a Reader, click here to check it out.) For the past few months, I've been working on redesigning the site to make it easier to read and more Positively Present-user friendly. Though it's a pretty clean design with lots of white, I've put a lot of effort into the new look, and I'm beyond excited to be sharing it with you today. 

If you're anything like me, you might be resistant to change from time to time. I know that feeling well, which is why I'm going to share with you what's changed so you have no trouble at all adjusting to the new look and feel of the new site design. On the right-hand side of the new site, you'll find a search option and recently posted articles, and below is an outline of the sections you'll find featured on the left-hand side of the side and what you will find in each section. 



On the About page, you'll find answers to the following questions: What is Positively Present? Who is Dani? You'll also find details on how you can find me online as well as how you can follow Positively Present. If you've just started visiting the site (or haven't ever read the About page), this is the place to start. You'll learn why I started the site and a little bit about who I am. 



This page will tell you how you can keep up with the latest posts from Positively Present. If you like what you read here but don't remember to check the site as often as you'd like, click Subscribe to receive emails when the site is updated. Also you can click Subscribe to add the Positively Present RSS feed to your reader of choice. 



As you might imagine, this is where you go if you want to contact me. Not only will you find my email address here, but you can also find the list of sites where you can find me online, including: Twitter, Tumblr, GoodReads, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc. 



This one will take you directly to my Twitter page:, where you can see my most recent tweets, who I'm following, and who is following me. If you're already following me on Twitter, thank you so much! And if you're not and you enjoy Positively Present, you might want to check this link out. 



Tumblr is my favorite find of 2010. I seriously spend waaay too much time on the site looking for amazing images and inspiring quotes, but I seriously love doing it. If you haven't checked out Happily Ever After Now, my Tumblr page, click the Tumblr button and check it out. I've been fortunate enough to find some awesome people to follow on there, and if you have a Tumblr page, let me know! 



You might be wondering where you can find my favorite websites/books/songs since the links aren't right there on the homepage anymore, but don't worry -- you can find all of the great inspiration you need by clicking on the Inspiration button. On this page, you'll find my favorite links, books, and songs. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact me and share them. And if you'd like to see additional genres of inspiration, I'd love to hear your suggestions. 



The Quotes option will send you to the link in my archives that has gathered everything tagged with the "quotes" category. This means you'll be able to scroll through all of my old posts that focus on quotes, particularly the Words To Live By sections available on Positively Present every Sunday. If you're a quote geek like I am, check in with this page regularly for new and inspiring quotes. 



Pretty self-explanatory, this page will take you to all of the Positively Present archives, where you can view articles from the past by date or by category. This is a great resource if you're looking for inspiration or motivation on a specific topic. Don't see what you're looking for in the archives? Contact me and I'll help you find what you're looking for! 



I hope you enjoy the new look of Positively Present as much as I enjoyed designing it! I have a feeling that this year is going to be a big one for Positively Present and I'm so glad you have you all along for the ride as readers. Though the original purpose of the blog was for me to track my own progress living a more positive and present life, the purpose now has a lot to do with bringing great content to readers like you. I'd love to hear what you'd like to read more about on Positively Present. Please take a moment to leave a comment or send me an email at positivepresent [at] and let me know...

What do you want me to write about this year? 
What topics will inspire you to live a more positive and present life?