I have been living with optimism my whole life. The majority of it was spent with plenty drama and trauma. Not giving in to rectal myopia is sometimes difficult, but I have some tricks up my sleeve to help bring my outlook back up.
Smile. Things could be worse.” ~Stanley Graham
My grandfather was a wise man. When he said that, my reply was, “OK. I smiled…and they got worse.” It always made us both smile.
It is FREE.
Smiles are contagious. Even the grouchiest curmudgeons will return a smile. The most inexpensive gift you can give to yourself everyday is a smile in the mirror after you brush your teeth. This will help you face the day with a powerful optimism.
All ‘but’s are cracked” ~ Ann Marie Dwyer
When you feel as though rock bottom is in the penthouse of your building, try on someone else’s shoes in order to put your situation in to perspective. This will give you a new viewpoint when you return to your problem. For instance…
- Visit a nursing home with an inexpensive bouquet of flowers. Introduce yourself to a patient in the day room and give them a flower. You will find they will share with you an experience that will show you inner strength. When you are out of flowers, you will have made new friends and learned everyone has value, even if it is not apparent at first glance…you included.
- Volunteer for a lunch session in a soup kitchen for the homeless. You will learn that those with the least are appreciative of what they have.
- Pick flowers (if you are too embarrassed to be caught in your neighbor’s yard- a mum bouquet from the grocery store is fine) and visit a veteran’s cemetery. Walk amongst the headstones and put a flower on the ones which make you think. Celebrate the sacrifice these men and women made for you that you may be there to pay tribute.
- Volunteer to help out at recess at a school for the handicapped. You will revel in all that a child can teach you. Their presence at school alone is a testimony to the perseverance to overcome.
- Read to children at your local library. Find that book your parents had to read twelve times before you drifted off to sleep. Share that warm feeling with a complete stranger, content to sit on your lap while you read.
- Sign up for nursery duty at your church, temple or mosque. Spend one service caring for infants. These truly helpless little people can teach you unconditional acceptance.
When you get back home, you will notice you are not in the basement anymore. You will have taken a moment to share the truly good qualities you have to offer. This strength will show you a solution you otherwise might never have found.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Have you gotten more so over time or changed to the other camp?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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