The Multiple Sides of Optimism

Saturday a friend asked me,”did you have a better February than January?” With no hesitation, I said, “Yes, I did.” And then, just like that, my adult brain kicked in. The quantifier, the social scientist, the critic.

Well, Elle, it was only just slightly better…

You did have that weekend where you didn’t leave the bed and drank a whole bottle of wine…

And man, the tears! You’re still crying all the time…

But then my heart, the organ much closer to my soul, took over. The qualifier, the truth teller, the sane one.

Elle, love, even just a nano bit better is still better.

There’s a thing that happens to folks who have undergone repeated dosapppintnent, pain and trauma in life: optimism becomes dangerous.

Optimism: Noun

– Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.

To be optimistic is to embody a spirit of hope, to swallow fear and trepidation, and against the odds, naysayers and trembling knees, look life in the face, smile and move forward. Yicks. Not everyone’s got the stomach for that.

Optimism can be painful.

I suppose optimism itself isn’t painful, though optimism misplaced, mistreated and misgiven can be painful indeed. This pain can and will radiate within all the bodies: the physical body, for sure, but also the psychic, emotional, and spiritual bodies, leaving us depleted, wretched, unhappy beings full of physical knots and emotional scars.

This all may be frightening, but part of the growth process is learning to silence the critic and hope anyway. Learn to brave the fear and be optimistic. And know that lessons, painful and all, are given to teach us something, fill a void in our soul lessons and show us a different path to take.

I’m confident that March will be even better still. The scared child in me wants to run and hide every day, avoid the pain of disappointment and fear and heartache. But I know that without hope and optimism, I am as sure as dead. Truly when I have felt like giving up, the only thing I wanted to do was die. That is no longer an option. I am no longer a victim.

Therefore, I get up everyday and even if I just manage to do one thing to keep me going – eat a good meal, make it to a yoga class, take pictures of the sunrise or sunset, watch a comedy in bed and chuckle all morning- then I’m on the road to recovery. It just takes one little thing to count as a victory.

March will be better, is already better. I am absolutely, positively, optimistically certain of it!


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