Friday, October 22, 2010

Day #59: The Eternal Optimist

No longer will I balk at the person with the overly sunny disposition. No longer will I cringe when I see someone with what appears to be a permanently affixed smile on his or her face. No longer will I shut my ears when I hear someone billowing in laughter. I no longer want to be the person with the snide attitude. The one who never sees the good in anything or anyone. I want to be the one who sparkles in the sunlight, who smiles even at the most mundane of things and laughs just because. From now I want to be one of the eternal optimists.

The Oxford dictionary defines optimism as "hopefulness and confidence about the future or successful outcome of something; a tendency to take a favorable or hopeful view." Webster's dictionary defines the word as a "doctrine that this world is the best possible world; an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome."The word is derived from the Latin term meaning "best." There are thousands and thousand of sites out there on how to become an optimist.

I love the words hopefulness, confidence, success, possibility. They are beautiful sweet arias to my ears. Why do I love them so much, and why have I become a converted optimist. Plain and simple...the world is a much more beautiful place when lived with optimism. A study at the University of Pennsylvania found that learned optimism decreases rates of depression and improves overall physical health. Scientists have also found that optimists are better achievers, are more resilient, cope better with stress, and live a longer, healthier life. While some of the lucky among us possess the innate ability of sustained optimism, others of us are not as lucky. Not to fret though....optimism, like most positive attributes, can be learned and practiced. Avoid that negative environment or negative acquaintance, and fill life with happiness, warmth, and positively uplifting people.

Winston Churchill wrote, "a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." There are so many difficulties in life, but what a gift to see these seemingly insurmountable obstacles as opportunities of a lifetime. From this point forward, I choose to lead a life full of optimism. I choose to see the good in everyone and everything, and see the positive in the most ugly of situations. I remain cautiously optimistic about the prospect of love, and allow my heart to open to all of the possibilities. I will smile and laugh and play like a child when appropriate. Christopher Peterson wrote in 2000s American Psychologist, "There is abundant reason to believe that optimism-big, little, and in between-is useful to a person because positive expectations can be self-fulfilling." My optimism will be my self-fulfilling prophecy. And as an optimist I believe that my future is a bright shining star, brilliantly glowing in a perfect sky.

The Optimist Creed
by Christian D. Larsen

Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

Make all your friends feel there is something in them.

Look at the sunny side of everything.

Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

Give everyone a smile.

Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.

Be too big for worry and too noble for anger.

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