For many of us, the end of 2016 couldn’t come fast enough…and then 2017 began. Oy vey. Be careful what you wish for.
Less-than-satisfactory times in America notwithstanding, I remain an optimist. I really do believe that everything is going to—eventually—be okay. Things always work out, don’t they? In my opinion, they do. Some might say I have “head in the sand syndrome” and some might think of me as a Queen of Denial but honestly, faking it until I make it has proven time and time again to be a very effective defense mechanism against badness and sadness whether I’m reframing events in my own life or the state of the world in general.
I spend a lot of time counting my blessings and trying to find the silver lining whenever I can. I am so grateful to have the ability to dig deep and find positivity at any given moment, and that it comes pretty easy to me. I’m a big fan of saying “Yes, but…” because trying to turn a frown upside down—whether that frown belongs to me or someone else—happens to be my specialty. Being a cheerleader or joy-finder for others feels good, and in fact when I’m feeling a little down myself, I can often pull out of it a little bit by focusing on others and what they need.
I have no idea whether you can actually learn to be an optimist if you weren’t born that way. What I DO know is that there are three things that help a whole lot when it comes to day-to-day attitude:
- Understanding to the depths of your core that life is too short to hang around people who are toxic or draining, and then getting them out of your life (or greatly reducing contact) whenever possible. I learned and finally absorbed this in my thirties. It was one of the most valuable lessons of my life.
- Purposefully surrounding yourself with people who lift you and your spirits. It’s contagious. Who doesn’t want to be around smiling, happy people?
- Intentionally looking for things you can be grateful for each and every day, even if all you can come up with is something that seems so miniscule and ridiculous it makes you feel like you’re cheating. Eventually it’s those littlest of things that will build up your entire sense of gratitude and optimism.
Am I a Pollyanna all the time? Absolutely not. I definitely have my off days; everyone does. The trick is to allow myself a bit of wallowing and bad vibes and then get to bed early because as another famous optimist, Annie, said, “the sun will come out tomorrow.”
Melisa has been working on many things full time for the last six years, but all of those came to an end in the summer of 2017. She and her husband Jim are living as empty nesters in Knoxville, Tennessee, recently relocated after being in Chicagoland (her hometown) for the last twenty-five years, and she’s working on figuring out what her next “thing” will be. In the meantime she’s traveling, working on home projects, and even cooking dinner now and then. She just celebrated her tenth blogoversary at Suburban Scrawl with a move to a brand-new domain; read her words at www.melisawells.com and please like her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MelisaLWells/
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