Keep It Positive
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, and one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela)
Like Nelson Mandela, I am not sure where optimism or pessimism comes from. I know, as I'm sure you do, people who have lives that seem full of disaster, who never give in to despair. I heard a reporter this week ask the mother of a child with brain cancer, “How do you keep going. What keeps you holding on.” The woman looked confused by the question, as though it was absurd, and answered simply, “Because I have to.” Of course you do. What else is there?
To turn that on its head a little bit, people do appear to nurture their own optimism or pessimism. Some folks can look at a clear blue sky on a sunny day, and say, “Yes, but it's going to rain tomorrow.” There's a wonderful scene from Winnie the Pooh, a conversation between Pooh and Piglet: “What day is this,” asked Pooh. “It's today,” said Piglet. “Oh! My favorite day!” said Pooh. Had Eeyore been asked that question, the answer might have been, “It's just another day.”
Here are a couple of reasons to work out your optimism-pessimism quotient: Optimistic people are healthier. Pessimism adversely affects both physical and mental health. Also, when you are optimistic, your energy field, your aura, is light and brilliant. It creates a magnetism around you that draws people. When you are pessimistic, it's just the opposite. Your field is dark, and other people instinctively move away.
We do have a choice about how we approach life. We may be pessimistic by nature, but we can work on that through prayer, meditation, affirmation and just plain, gritty determination. When we open our eyes to the good that surrounds us, even if we have to start with small details, we will begin to see more and more that is hopeful. Again, the energy we put out attracts similar energy—if we are determined to stay positive, we will experience things that increase our optimism. The same is true of pessimism. If we indulge it, we will find plenty of reasons to be sad and defeated. It's a matter of choice and fortitude. How do you want your world to look? Is your face pointed toward the sun? Are your feet moving forward?
In the Spirit,