Three Cheers for the Optimist
It’s said that attitude is a choice. Do you believe that?
If we have a choice in how we perceive things, why don’t we always choose to be confident, hopeful and optimistic? Why don’t we see every glass with the possibility of overflowing with abundance?
I was thinking about how our culture—the movies, books, binge TV shows, political contests, video games, gossip magazine headlines and the “if it bleeds, it leads” sickness of local evening news—feeds our “pain body.” The pain body, as Eckhart Tolle describes, is the “term for the accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field . . . a semi-autonomous psychic entity. It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose.”
Heavy stuff, but true. Since there is so much that we haven’t let go of, this inner pain is attracted to the negative, the bad and the pessimistic energy that surrounds our lives. If you believe that attitude is a choice and want to face the problems in your life with optimism and hope, read on . . .
I believe that optimism requires these three things:
1. Acknowledging that being optimistic is better for us. We must first understand and believe this intellectually. The release of endorphins and dopamine—often the chemical result of positivity—are known to make us feel better, lighter and happier. You know this.
2. Acceptance of what is. If only we could tune out negativity, it would be so much easier. But eventually our rose-colored glasses must be cleaned, and we must see things as they are. I love the “Serenity Prayer,” authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Acceptance, courage and wisdom will go a long way for us, not only in our pursuit of a more optimistic outlook, but in every aspect of our life.
3. Discipline and practice. Become an “angel’s advocate,” a term I’ve started using when I’m surrounded by the people who seek to suck the positive oxygen out of the room. Be the person at whom others may roll their eyes but in the end thank you for the hope you’ve given them. The world has enough devil’s advocates. Why not be an advocate for optimism and hope?
Try a dose of optimism on for size today. See how you feel and watch how it works. I’m positive that you’ll find it was worth the effort.