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Ester Marsh column: The power of positivity

I love being around positive people. Don’t get me wrong, anyone can have their bad day or even week, including me. But the majority of the time, life sure feels better when you look at it from the bright side. It doesn’t come as easy as people might think. Some people feel that “those people” just have it all and there are no worries, so it is therefore easy to be positive.

Then when you get to know them and find out their story, you realize their lives aren’t easy at all. Many people think money buys you happiness. It doesn’t matter if they have all the money in the world, they too will have huge challenges in their lives. No matter what faith, background, race, gender or ethnicity, there are people who always see the cup half full and there are those who always see the cup half empty. Faith is a huge support in staying positive — be thankful and humble for all the things we have. Around the world, there are many people who don’t eat regularly, have a proper roof over their heads or clean water — things that we are used to here in the U.S. or other westernized countries. And yes, we have people living way below poverty standards even here.

About 11 years ago, I had the honor to go to Mexico on a mission trip where we built a house for a family. Seeing the living arrangements of the poor was hard to understand because when you went into the city it was just like right here in the U.S. But what affected me the most is that the people who, in our eyes, had nothing were so content and so happy. They came together as communities to help each other, whether it was building a house or planning a big fiesta. They didn’t walk around feeling sorry for themselves. They looked at what they did have instead of what they didn’t. A roof over their dirt floor, their health, their faith, food on the table and a community helping each other. I also remember coming back and people complaining about nothing and how it affected me. At times, I just wanted to tell them to open their eyes and see what they have.

The “butterfly effect” is a reference to the chaos theory — the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. So if all of us can make a positive impact in our own lives, and most importantly in someone else’s life, can you imagine the effect we can have on a large scale?

I know times are troubled but we can’t give in or give up. I found a positivity pledge online and felt that it was fitting. Hopefully if we start focusing what is good in our lives, we can and will send out positive energy into the world to make it an even better place.

Ester H. Marsh is health & fitness director at the JF Hurley YMCA who’s cup is always “half full.”

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