Many of us are faced with challenges or a pessimistic outlook, but how we react to such challenges often determines the outcome. Of the many books, quotes, lectures and movies currently in circulation, one constant stands out: optimism. But what does optimism mean? By definition, it is a tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.
I was given Hope as a middle name and as a child my nickname became Hopeless because I was hopelessly dreaming of bigger and better things in my life. As I became older and wiser my nickname became Hopeful; because of my zest for life and my belief that there is always a possibility for a positive outcome. I grew to realize that it was my outlook on situations that determined my outcomes. Some of the most challenging of times presented me with some of the best lessons. Someone once told me it's the seeds you plant today that will determine what type of garden you have tomorrow. So I chose seeds of optimism.
Once I began planting the seeds I began reaping the benefits. I was much less stressed and I became more thankful for all of the weeds that grow in my garden. I learned to attend to my garden more often with tenderness, compassion, forgiveness and love. I am seeing fewer weeds in my garden and more of the flowers that make me feel good about my life. Fortunately for me there are an abundance of different flowers and different weeds every time I visit my garden. While I may have roses in my garden with those lovely little thorns, I have learned to even appreciate their value; they keep me in check.
Now it’s your turn. Here are three seeds of advice on how to clean up your personal garden:
Seed 1. Pay close attention to what you say and how you react and then write it down. On a piece of paper, place all of the positives on one side of the page and the negatives on the other side of the page. Do this frequently and you may find yourself shifting toward optimism.
Seed 2. Take the negatives and ask yourself or someone in your life who is a true optimist how you could or should have reacted or what you could or should have said instead. Don't beat yourself up; this takes practice.
Seed 3. Always smile, even when you open a bill or are feeling miserable because your body will positively react in return. Make sure to laugh frequently, stop and smell the roses, tend to your garden often and remember: your positive or negative perception will determine your life.
Life is always about choices. Choose to plant all the optimistic seeds you can and dispose of the ones that don't benefit you. You can do it one seed at a time.