Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — This downer economy and our times in general are really getting me down. I have done everything I know how and then repeated it all, but I am starting to buy into the naysayers around me at work and even my church! I just need some suggestions so I can stay positive for a new year. — Optimistic Oasis
Dear Optimistic Oasis,
You’re not alone by a long shot. So here’s my non-advice advice. These last two economic years on top of our normal personal up and down cycles have made for a very long marathon challenging even the heartiest optimist among us. I’m sharing my end of an email exchange from a while back with a good friend and (like me) usually good spirited, even-tempered fella gal pal on releasing our own situational anger:
“…There is order and structure in our universe, in our lives. They are based on known and unseen laws of structure and the geometry of the universe. We must trust. ¶ You know I am working on releasing my anger, as well. My mama didn’t raise no dummy, so I will be the first NOT to lecture or give advice on this topic. I will only add to the support of my parallel walk to yours by saying that we GIVE others (and situations) our power (thereby energizing them and the thing in them that we allow to so infuriate us) via our emotions, like anger, and that we can master our emotions (like anger) easier when we first learn to play with and control our own powerful energy. When our minds choose to be happier, we can start the changes in our brains.”
So, Optimistic Oasis, energy flows where attention goes, and the laws of physics and gurus on mountaintops alike say that This, too, shall pass. So much more is right in our lives — be grateful and lighten up! When your mind chooses happiness, your brain can get the whole chain started.
Happy New focus,
Dear Optimistic Oasis,
Really?! You have a job, friends, family and apparently your mental faculties and cannot stay positive? Listen, it is a matter of deciding to be happy. You may have challenges to face, but you have all the ingredients for a successful New Year. But, just like being sexy, you have to believe it for it to be true.
Here you are with a job, helping the economy come back by working, collecting a paycheck and, yes, paying taxes on that living wage. You may still have financial pressures, but you have a reliable source of income. That’s a blessing. You have friends and family that’s a HUGE blessing.
So what can I say, count your blessings ‘cause really, that’s all you’ve got. For some reason, we as a culture have decided to focus on the negative—what’s wrong and what’s missing. What good has that EVER done? This year, this New Year, decide to focus on what’s right in your world. Remember the friends who support you through thick and thin. Then take a moment to be grateful for it. Remember the blessings of a place to live, food on the table and a chance to make anything happen tomorrow because you are healthy and whole.
Gratitude is the key to optimism. As you remember to take stock of the life you have and be grateful for the blessings of that life, it becomes easier to expect that more goodness will follow. In fact, a practice of gratitude can help you reset your brain back to the optimistic side of things. And if your family and friends are still stuck on the 2012-end-of-the-world-hell-in-a-hand-basket view of things, start giving Less Stress More Life as New Year’s presents. Help them reset to optimistic too.
Stay strong. If you can breathe, you have a chance at a new day. You can create what you believe, so co-create some happiness in your life….and tell the naysayers to put their energy into the positive parts of their lives and let the rest go to hell in the hand basket without them carrying it there directly.
Happy New Year!
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