There are gobs of books and websites and podcasts and videos and meditations and people that rave about the power of positive thinking. A positive attitude, optimism, looking on the bright side, the silver lining, there’s lots of ways to look at positive thinking. I like some of the synonyms that thesearus.com comes up with because they fall inline with how I incorporate a positive outlook into my life:
I find striving for these traits central to my personhood. I’m not sure if my experiences and certain circumstances have called me to be the positive thinking person I am, or if I have always been very positive and it simply shows vibrantly in some specific contexts. Or of course both.
But I received another complement today. A new co-worker and I were starting our day at the usual 6am, reading ourselves for the stress and unknown of the your typical nursing day. She told me how much she admired and appreciated my positivity and how I don’t seem to get worked up or angry and I come across as confident and calm no mater what is going on. I’ve received a similar complement from a volleyball teammate and friend in the context of a long and challenging college ball career.
I hold these friendly observations very dear to me. They are reassuring that what I’m striving for and telling myself in my head is really making a difference. Especially, when it just feels like self talk to get me through the day, and often seems fruitless in the face of an overbearing and frustrating world.
So I’m thankful that I do have a silver lining to hang onto when the floor feels unsteady and dropping from beneath me. And I’m thankful that there are people who’s days are brightened by my smile. And I’m thankful that I can muster an exterior calm for the sake of those around me, when I feel compassion being sat on by fear, confusion and even laziness.
I’m cannot pinpoint what keeps me up. But I guess I’d say that my philosophy is:
I can only control myself. So when the world goes wrong, I see no point in adding to the weight of it all. All I can do is be the best help I can, by being my best self, and taking what burdens are cast with what grace I can muster. And a smile goes a long way.
It’s what gets me through.
There is too something to be said about honest feelings, about worry and anger and the pain of a hurt ego or self-esteem. I’ve found the importance of expressing these personal experiences, especially when they are an issue that can be resolved between people. But there is an art to handling these weighty things of the world, with an air of hope and grace. Knowing things will change and get better if you let them or make them. Often what makes a hard situation manageable, is letting go of your pride and embarrassment, and embracing the painful experience while looking forward to what comes next. Even if that next thing is just driving home and going to bed. Sometimes daydreaming about wrapping up in covers and closing my eyes, is all I need to draw a little serenity into my circumstances. Because I’ve never had a volleyball tournament that lasted forever, I’ve never studied for a test that didn’t end, and I’ve never had a crazy day at work that I didn’t eventually clock out from and drive home. Eventually, you find yourself in bed ready to turn the lights out with your head racing with the panic and pain and stress and uncertainty that plagued you all day, but you do have a choice, to carry it with you under the covers or implore yourself to be only in this comfy moment of peace. Embrace what you’re thankful for in that very moment of positive energy. It doesn’t always work. I have my restless nights. But practice helps and sometimes just telling yourself to stay positive and “look on the bright side” is all you need to set aside stress and anxiety and take hold of the confidence that you have to trust you already have.