I just picked up a copy of Magnolia Journal, Chip and Joanna Gaines’s magazine, because I loved the title of the cover story, “The Thrill of Hope.” The subtitle of the article, ‘Choosing to live in hopeful expectation’ is pretty much my definition of optimism and a positive attitude. But look at that subtitle, again, if you will…
Optimism is a choice.
Optimism is my general nature. If it isn’t yours, the good news is that anyone can choose to be positive (which doesn’t mean being an ostrich) by observing your thoughts, seeing how they make you feel and making changes where necessary. Reaching for a “higher thought.”
If your thoughts about a situation are negative, think of a few alternative, more positive ways to view it, then choose the one that feels the most supportive and hopeful to you. I don’t live a charmed life, so I’ve had lots of practice at this. I don’t deny the pain I’ve felt when something unwanted happens, but I don’t let that low moment be the measuring stick for my future.
Just because it’s “like this right now” doesn’t mean it will always be so. Hopeful optimism.
We lament things not going exactly as we wanted, or according to “our plans.” We can get down on ourselves when we don’t know all of the answers or how a thing is going to work out. There are a few ways I’ve learned to stay positive when feeling like I’ve just taken “two steps forward and one step back.”
The most important one is that, just like an artist, it’s always good to take a step back in order to observe the big picture. From this perspective it may be better than you’d originally thought. Conversely it may need some “tweaking” to look closer at what you’d envisioned. This is your chance to take a break, regroup, and start again. Muster your courage and master your fear!
Two steps forward, and one step back. This is the dance of life… or at least the beginning of the cha-cha!
Most importantly it’s a reminder that nothing in life, nature or in the Universe moves in a perfectly straight line. There will be set-backs; there will be disruptive changes, and there will be wonderful surprises. So many people have shared with me how they started out with one goal or image of how their life was going to look. Instead, although it was totally different, it’s even richer than they dreamed it would be.
I remain yours, in hopeful expectation,