Many years ago, a friend and I had been talking about something or other…I can’t remember what the topic, when I offered my comments in response to something he had said. “Why do you always have to be so negative?”, he reacted. I stood there, stunned. “What do you mean?”, I replied. “You always look at the negative side of things, being the Devil’s Advocate…it’s annoying”, he stated bluntly. I was completely dumbfounded. I know he didn’t say it to be mean, but to help me. I was just shocked.
This was another LCM (life changing moment), for me. And, the experience has stuck with me for more than fifteen years. Was I a negative person? It’s a question I asked myself then, and it’s a question I constantly ask myself now. So, through the years, because of that one experience, I have tried to focus on being an optimist. It has been, at times, VERY difficult to do. I am certainly not perfect at it, but, it is a constant work in progress. However, I have thought about a few points that have helped me, over the years:
- The glass is always full – We’ve all heard the usual “Are you a half glass full or a half glass empty person”? Well, that’s wrong. The glass is always full…half water, half air! Always!
- Be a builder – The old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”, holds true. Build people up, don’t tear them down. Pay sincere compliments. Be truly interested in what others are doing or saying. And, don’t “one up” people with a “better story”. Everyone has interesting experiences to learn from.
- Work on what you can control – One of the hardest things for many, myself included. So, remember the Serenity Prayer “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and, wisdom to know the difference.”
- Be thankful – Take time to be thankful for the little things in your life. It could be your kids, job, friends, love, health, anything. Perhaps, keep a gratitude journal. I had a friend use Instagram for “365 Days of Gratitude”. It was amazing to watch her do this for a complete year. And, her dedication to complete this task was a great example to me.
- Be serendipitous – Take time to smell the proverbial roses. By doing so, I can tell you that it will enrich your life…trust me.
- Do what you love and love what you do – So many people stay in jobs and relationships that don’t fulfill them. This is something you do have control over. Ask for courage and move forward.
- Surround yourself with positive people – This has taken me a long time to learn. Negative people can bring you down. Be around those who lift you up.
- Be active – Personally, I exercise at least three times a week at the local rec centre. Besides music, it is my stress release and makes me feel better. I also do it so I can keep up with my three active kids.
- Never, never, never, give up – One of my favorite quotes from Sir Winston Churchill.
Another one of his quotes is something I’ve tried to adopt, in my life: “An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.”
With so much pessimism in the world, it can be very difficult to see the sun behind the clouds. But, I continue to press forward. What do you do to be more optimistic and have a more positive outlook on life? Please, feel free to share.