Cultivating Optimism

I had a childhood friend who always smiled, cracked jokes, and looked on the bright side.  I didn’t understand her. For me, life was scattered with difficulty and steeped in moodiness. That is not to say I didn’t have moments of joy or that life was all-around bad, I just never gave much consideration to those parts. I was attracted to what didn’t work and there seemed to be plenty of that.

Just after high school, I made friends with a few women who were a bit older than me, who had been caught in the cycle of discord I found myself in, but who had discovered an alternative path to its muck and mire. They had discovered…optimism.

Optimism was a grand, new idea. It electrified all sorts of neural pathways in my mind which had never been stimulated. Not only did it mean searching out vastly different possibilities for a situation than I might normally have assigned, but it denoted choice.

I had never considered that I might have the ability to choose my thoughts or that my thoughts might have an influence on my life, but once that door was opened, I made strides in my life I had never imagined before.

I felt smarter, luckier, prettier, and eventually, happier.

Cultivating optimism has become a powerful tool.  It has brought me through some very difficult times. After doing it for several decades, I sometimes take it for granted, but in all honestly, I easily slip back into assuming the worst occasionally or forget to look for the bright side.

I have made a practice of being optimistic. Like any practice, I often fall short… which is the nature of being human. But once I realize I have spiraled into some degree of despair, I usually get a signal that something is off in my world. The signal might come in the form of butterflies in my stomach, a feeling of dread or doom, gnawing worry, or procrastination. Luckily after so many years of working with optimism, I can usually get myself into a better mindset which helps greatly in making me feel better.

 

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About Rachél

Hi, I am Rachél.... the quirky, big-hearted soul behind Creativity Tribe, a sanctuary for your creative spirit. As a life coach and artist, I know the importance of community, celebration, and transformation. Creativity Tribe is abuzz with connections to other creative bloggers and offers tips and stories to inspire your creative lifestyle! http://www.creativitytribe.com/
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14 Responses to Cultivating Optimism

  1. MUSTANG says:

    Love your blog, Rachel…I especially like your “Curiosity Quest”!
    I’m inspired to pursue the creative side of me! Thanks!

  2. Mariah says:

    The practice of optimism is really challenging but really important!

  3. rosemary says:

    OH WOW, I could not have worded it better for my childhood than these words”I was attracted to what didn’t work and there seemed to be plenty of that.”…. chills are running up and down my arms as I read and reread those words. Thank you.

  4. Mary Sterk says:

    Great post Rachel!!!

  5. Rachel, thanks for this post. I have a blog post circling around this brain of mine and I’ll be linking to this post to make my point. Thank you!

  6. Sally Rose says:

    Beautiful post, and so very true! I love your understanding that optimism is a choice you can make, and that you can train it up like any other skill. It isn’t easy, and it’s not about being ignorant of reality. As a person that has been, rather spitefully, accused of being a “Polly Anne”, I salute you for looking for that bright spot of hope! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Cyn says:

    “Cultivating optimism” now that is something I am going to try and strive towards. The other phrase I learned recently on another blog is “live in hope.” Thanks for the insightful post.

  8. Caddo Veil says:

    Amen, amen–cultivating optimism is truly vital. Otherwise you may as well die–and probably will, quickly. Have you visited Believe Anyway? Kate is the supreme optimist–I call her the cheerleader of Blogville!

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