I struggle with optimism. Since childhood, I have viewed life from the perspective of the glass being half full. People have often told me to lighten up and be more positive. But I don't think some of us can just flip a switch on inside ourselves to make this change. It takes recognition of our nature and thinking and then the hard work of trying to overcome it. And I'm not quite sure how to go about making these changes either. To just wake up and resolve to be more positive and hopeful - how do you go about it? There need to be steps or a plan to follow - a way to get started and ways to keep on track and motivated.
The daily message from lifescript.com and personal coach Dr. John H. Sklare is about optimism today. It is so good and inspiring I am repeating it here for my own inspiration and maybe for others in need as well.
"One of the keys to reaching your goals and bettering your life is an intangible human treasure called optimism. It's having 'hopefulness and confidence about the future or successful outcome of something; a tendency to take a favorable or hopeful view.' Helen Keller wrote: 'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.'
Those of us who fall on the pessimistic side of life's fence have a much tougher row to hoe each day. Pessimism will drain your emotional batteries, poison your motivational well and leave you feeling lost, angry and frustrated. Optimism, on the other hand, will lighten your emotional load, bring more joy into your life, lift your spirits and make you a more pleasurable companion. A reader once commented, 'With each sunrise, there is a new opportunity to start over.' The perfect attitude to have if you want to bring a more optimistic view into your life."
Well, I'm going to try and remain focused on this advice because I can sure attest to the fact that thinking the way I do, always expecting the negative and being constantly worried and anxious is a very wearying way to live. It will be extremely difficult for me to try and think even a little bit more optimistically but I want to give it a try because the old way keeps me so down and out. I've got to try something different. Maybe the commitment to a new attitude combined with drug therapy will help.
It is like everything else I am learning. We have to work to make ourselves happy, we cannot expect others to make us so. Likewise, we have the choice to be optimistic rather than seeing the situation or journey pessimistically. It is up to us. But it is work and it is hard. Hard in the face of other struggles. Easier to revert back to old, predictable and comfortable ways of thinking and doing. So hard to make changes when so many other changes are going on and necessary.
I suppose, however, it doesn't take that much effort or commitment to simply try and be more conscious of how I think and to switch how I am thinking to a more positive frame when I am aware of my dark, dooming thoughts. Cut them off at the pass by simply refusing to dwell on the what ifs and forcing myself to hope in a positive outcome vs. one that is negative. Can't hurt to try any of this. It is not costing me a penny. But like all new resolutions and promises to ourselves, we have to practice and not give up.
Found Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's little book of daily inspirational quotes, "Positive thinking Everyday" on my bookshelf. I must not be the only one in need of a motivational fix and daily reminder. Today's quote from that classic book of inspiration is: "Faith power in the mind, like adrenalin in the body, can release amazing powers within you in crisis."
Some readers have been telling me all this for many months now. But looking back, I think when we're in deep mourning or grieving a loss, as I was depressed over moving from our home last fall, that you have to get through that stuff first. When some time has passed, you can move ahead and focus on going beyond the loss. At least that is how it has been with me. In the midst of grief I have not been able to think positively and hopefully. Advice such as be more hopeful and optimistic falls on deaf ears. In fact, it irritates me and I stomp my foot and resist that advice. Maybe we need to recognize this and be less harsh on others who don't seem to be moving along as quickly as we think they should. The element of timing is part of the process of being able to cope and move forward. Maybe I've reached a place where I can put my some of the sadness aside and concentrate less on the losses and more on the present. I sure hope so.