“To think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in all — such unselfish thoughts are the very portals of heaven; and to dwell day by day in thoughts of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to their possessor” (James Allen, “As a Man Thinketh,” p.27).
I’d love to say that my motherhood experience exactly parallels that quotation, but to be perfectly honest, I’m often critical, grumpy and impatient (though I’m trying to improve), and when I’m not feeling my best, the last thing I want to hear is that I should “look on the bright side” or “change my attitude.” Typically, I want to feel understood. I want to know that it’s normal for me to be struggling.
If you’re feeling the same way, let me reassure you that it’s normal. However, just because it’s common to feel down about life doesn’t mean we can’t learn through the Power of Optimism.
Optimism is the tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things. It’s not something found only in people with perfect lives, nor is it an illusion (“Fake it till you make it!”). Being optimistic is a skill — one that anyone can learn and apply.
This is an opportunity for mothers to come together and share how they keep a healthy perspective on life. Here are a few examples of what you’ll find:
- “Just like many women need ‘hormone replacement therapy’ to help them feel more ‘even’ as they age, most people (especially women, it seems) need to adopt some ‘thought-replacement therapy’ to feel not just more ‘even’ but more happy. I should be happy. I have every wonderful thing I ever dreamed of in so many ways, but I feel unhappy a lot of the time. And I feel like I’ve finally more fully put my finger on why. It’s my thoughts. And I have the power to change them.” (Click here to read the full article by Saren Eyre Loosli.)
- “I’ve had quite a few surgeries, and it is because of these surgeries that I now have scars on my body. Some are more prominent and others not as much. I think most people detest their scars. Society teaches us that beautiful people have unmarred skin. But I say, to heck with that! The scars are a part of who I am. “There are experiences in life that can scar us as well. We’ve all heard the term ‘emotionally scarred.’ I think we’ve all experienced it. Perhaps like the healing from the actual scar, my emotional scar will heal if I continue to push myself in good ways. If I continue to find positive things about this, I think I can heal. The memories won’t go away, but I will heal. I found a quote from Henry Rollins, who said, ‘Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.’” (Click here to read the full article by Laura Myers.)
- “This story is from my friend Kim, a mother of six children. Needless to say, laundry day brings HUGE piles of clothing out into the forefront of her home, where she sorts, treats stains, etc. The laundry used to ruin her whole day until she took on a new perspective: ’I decided that if I was going to spend an entire day with something, it had better be my best friend, so that is what I call it. As I look at each stained shirt, I think of how much fun my children had making those stains, and I think about how much I love my family. On laundry day, when someone asks, ‘What are you doing today?’ I respond, ‘Hanging out with my best friend, Laundry.’” (Click here to read the full article by April Perry.)
QUESTION: What helps you get out of emotional ruts?
CHALLENGE: Think of one thing you could do to put an optimistic spin on a tough part of your life, and then commit to doing it.