Being an Optimist is not about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses all the time, or ignoring the challenges in life in pursuit of lofty, less realistic goals. In fact, that's probably a sure-fire way to land face-down on the sidewalk, disappointed and hardened by ignorance. Not good. Instead, being an Optimist is more about learning to identify negative emotions (and what triggers them), managing them, and finding ways to turn them into positive feelings.
So how exactly can we learn to do all of that? I'm so glad you asked. Here are 3 ideas to create a positive life. (Note: These are my ideas, er, opinions, but you can Trust me, I'm Not a Doctor) ;)
1. Recognize that a positive shift must ultimately come from you. There are thousands of self-help books out there (and probably 20 of them are on my bookshelf right now!) along with whole collections of blogs, websites, TED talks, YouTube videos, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and other inspiring mediums aimed to help people get on a positive track. They're all awesome - believe me, I have most of them. And while I love them all and am probably the biggest fan of books and movements like Delivering Happiness, Life is Good, etc., I know that it is ultimately up to me to make the decision to find happiness in each day and to make positivity a way of life.
Marcus Aruelius said it best: Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.
2. Use the "bad" situations and big challenges in life as fuel for good. More often than not, a not-so-deal life situation is just the kick in the pants that we need to get going and to focus on improving our lives. Ironically, I have found that sometimes, the worst parts of life have pushed me to create the best parts of my life. If we can work on making our way through the bad, we can create an incredible system for fighting our way towards the good. There's no better motivator for change than something that is uninspiring, depressing, or just no fun. What's important though, and probably the hardest part, is not to get stuck in a rut in the process. It's happened to me. It's not fun. Don't let it happen....seriously.
When something had happens to you, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.
3. Don't be scared. Yikes! There's nothing like flipping through the channels when "Halloween" is on TV or hearing creepy noises when you're alone at night. But that's not the kind of fear I'm talking about. Some just can't seem to make the change to living a positive life because they're scared to change. ::insert grumbly voice here:: "I've been this way for 30 years so why should I change things now?!" Change can be a scary thing - most definitely! - but it can also be the most uplifting and freeing thing you can do when you find that negativity is creeping its way into your everyday life.
Thanks to Abena for submitting her favorite quote on the OO Facebook page. Fits perfectly here: Fear is for children. Enlightened men do not fear.
These are my ideas to help create a positive life. What are yours? Leave a comment below with at least one more idea to add to the list.