Every month, I host a link-up on a different topic, and this month we’re talking about Optimism! If you’re interested in getting notifications to prepare for future link-ups, just send me an e-mail, and I’ll put you on the list! Even if you didn’t know about the link-up, please feel free to link any applicable post at the bottom of this page. If you are leaving your link, please be sure to leave a comment on this post, and click around to see what other people have to say on this topic!
When I worked a 9-5 job, I tended to get this resurgence of energy and hope on Sunday evenings. Once, I was getting ready for work on Monday morning, and posted something online about how no matter what I’m still really optimistic on Mondays for the new week. Someone commented that my optimism would eventually fade with age, but I have a feeling that’s not the case.
Many people think that an optimistic attitude is a sign of naivety or actual stupidity. I’m actually proud of my overall optimism, and I’d venture to say that it’s actually more difficult to look on the bright side of things. As people, we’re naturally judgmental, and with judgement comes cynicism and doubt. We all have those natural reactions, but it takes a little bit of practice to find the silver lining.
I may not get that boost of inspiration on Sunday evenings anymore, but that’s just because my schedule is incredibly different. I still find moments of energy and hope in my daily life. Sometimes it’s from a bouquet of balloons attached to a car’s windshield wipers, and sometimes it’s from a set of pictures online depicting an incredibly dangerous animal’s kindness.
So how can you become a more optimistic person? Here are some ideas:
- Create a system to recognize your gratitude and appreciation – By recounting the great things that happen to you, you will realize just how many opportunities there are for good in this world. And don’t forget to just say “thank you!”
- Empathize, but don’t join in the misery – When responding to a text, e-mail, or face-to-face conversation, make sure you acknowledge any pain your friend is experiencing, but then provide solutions! It’s easy to say “that sucks”, but ultimately you’re just allowing that person to dwell. We’re generally better at seeing others’ solutions in a more objective light, so help your friends out! Come up with some ideas for how to make the situation better.
- Practice kindness – If you are kind to others, others will be kind to you. When the world is nice to you, it’s easier to see it as a beautiful place to be and to believe in altruism.
- Use positive affirmations – Writing down or saying a phrase out loud can actually have a lot of power. You can use these to reaffirm your own innate goodness, as well as the world’s.
- Forget about failure – If you’re pessimistic about life, you’re unlikely to try new things. Forget about failure as an option, and go for it! As they say: it’s all about the journey.
- Surround yourself with positivity – This especially includes people. If you’re always hanging out with people who just want to moan and complain, you’re going to fall into that routine. Make time for upbeat friends and hopeful situations. I would also like to include entertainment in this list. Watching really violent films or listening to degrading music will eventually take its toll on your worldview.
- Take responsibility – Don’t cast blame on others, and by doing so you will become a positive role model. If you encounter someone with a “perfect life” and you feel jealous, go do something about it! You make your own decisions and choose your own path. If you know what a perfect life looks like for you, then begin taking steps now to make it happen. You have control!
- Manage your stress – If you’re burning the candle at both ends, it’s going to be hard for you to look at the glass as half full! Take care of your physical and mental health. Make time to relax and practice stress reduction, whether that’s listening to music, exercising, or journaling.
I’m not asking you to be blind, though. Do horrible things exist? Absolutely, of course. I’m very aware of them. War, discrimination, and poverty are just some of the plagues that we have to deal with. I’m simply asking you to start with yourself. Work on your own demeanor and worldview. Find the good that definitely does exist and let it fill you up. Go out and do some good! Fill others up with positivity. “Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.” Elle Woods