How does a person maintain a positive outlook in life? We live in a culture of chaos while encountering people who have heavy burdens from the past, present and future. And, unfortunately we have become a culture of worry in trying to meet the demands of our jobs, our families and finances. How did our culture become so complicated?
With the busy lifestyle of so many, I find that I am drawn to those who see opportunities in their adversities. Optimism is not an attribute that comes easily for everyone. It is not the ability to ignore a problem, but rather having the understanding that we will all have setbacks from time to time. It is choosing to deal with the bad while expecting something good to come of it. But I do believe it is a choice and can be learned.
When I was young and dealing with a variety of challenges that no child should ever have to deal with, I remember saying then and even today that things could have been worse. Although numbing my senses to the situation, I knew that there would be time that I would no longer have to endure the craziness. Even then, I was making a choice.
Unfortunately, as one leaves a bad situation, there is that potential of one carrying with them some memories of their past. Pain is inevitable. Yet, surrounding oneself with people who are genuine and caring, with a desire to see your life fulfilled with happiness, allows one to have hope.
Optimism is NOT about blaming others for the outcome in your life. So, you had a bad childhood, work with a terrible boss, experienced selfish and abusive friendships. It is a personal choice to walk away so that you can heal from the pain while allowing yourself to grow beyond it. Choosing to walk away allows you to understand what it means to have setbacks in life.
Setbacks are lessons that can be encouraging for you as well as influential for those that are around you. The lessons are not about ignoring the problem, but rather facing them with confidence and hope. Genuine confidence is evident in how you further handle your daily life.
The truth is that a bad attitude can be created. The same applies to ones’ positive attitude. Your attitude is learned. In surrounding yourself with positive people who enjoy life, can and will have a way of reflecting itself upon others. Even the simple act of smiling or saying something kind to a stranger, thanking the cashier at the grocery store, holding a door or paying the toll for the person behind you, can have a dramatic affect on them as well as yourself.
I understand that some will feel that I am being unrealistic. In reality we will all have a bad day from time to time. If in the morning you wake in a bad mood because you didn’t acquire sufficient rest, is it the fault of those you encounter that day? I don’t think so!! Is it your spouses or child’s fault that you were speeding and acquired a costly speeding ticket? No!! You have a choice to own the problem, acknowledge the cause, learn from it and decide if you are going to let it infiltrate your day and the lives of others, or even your life.
Trying to be 100% positive every day and every hour is admirable yet can be unrealistic. We are human and we suffer and we mourn. Some days it is down right impossible to be positive depending on your circumstances. But it is possible to step aside and not let it consume you.
This weekend I had an anxiety attack, and although I was doing my best to control it, I encountered the frustrated and emotional venom starting to leak out. I realized immediately the sharpness of my words that required that I humbly apologize, which also caused me to take a deep breath and retreat to calmness.
To apologize and simply say the words “I’m sorry” is not necessarily an apology. Regardless of my anxiety (my issue) I knew it was necessary to acknowledge what I was dealing with and specifically apologize for my harsh tone. My issue did not require that I make another persons’ day difficult, so I found that it was my responsibility to amend the situation. Fortunately she did not think I was being harsh and was graciously kind to me as I apologized.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone else’s bad day? Or the recipient of someone’s emotional outburst that made no sense or the result of a misunderstanding? It is a challenging feeling. Understanding that human nature is a result of experienced situations, will open your heart and allow compassion to be the driving force of how you respond to different situations.
Optimism is the ability to acknowledge that there are things in life that cannot be controlled. Situations happen and people enter our lives that chose to drag along with them a breed of worry and indecisiveness. It is an understanding that situations in life are temporary. It is a choice to take the wheel of life, choosing to steer away from the negative while driving towards a life that is happening now. Life is too short to be robbed of happiness.
Fill your life with love, by receiving and giving it away freely. Within each of us is an endless supply of love that costs nothing to give away. It produces a positive force that breeds forgiveness, healing, encouragement and inspiration. When you invest in love, you are investing in a life and future of compassion and optimism.