Are We Foolish to Hope? To Trust?

It’s common to see optimism as foolishness. Because
not everything “works out”—at least, not the way we pictured it.

Our specific hopes and dreams may turn out to have been, well, incorrect.
Oh, no, not that!
But Trust is about more than wishing for something specific and then getting mad at a world that doesn’t deliver what you ordered.

Trust, or a clearer definition of Optimism, is about the bigger picture.

It’s also the belief that your own behavior can change some things—like putting on your seat belt to prevent serious injury should there be an accident.

It’s not the blind belief that you are immune to the actions of others (like
the other driver who ran the red light).

In fact, despite rumors to the contrary, optimists are folks who are willing to do the hard work to prove themselves right—and accept when
the outcome they visualized might have to be altered.

Yes, Positive Thinking does rely on hope to some extent—but it doesn’t omit personal responsibility.

All Will Be Well.
Somehow.

All Will Be Well does not absolve us of all responsibility to do our best,
or to learn from mistakes. It’s just meant to address the needless anxiety and doubt that comes after we’ve done all we can do, learned from it, and fixed what we can.

And then…choosing (gulp) optimism.
Yes, optimism. All Will Be Well. Just maybe not the way I expected it
to be.

  • excerpt from Happier Made Simple: Chapter Five, T is for Trust.
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Processing Time: Why Happier Does Not Mean Constantly Happy

I had a day on Sunday. You know, where I just couldn’t shake my sadness the way I usually can.

Ever have one of those? (If you say no, then you may want to check your pulse.)

As a “happier” writer, and the person people seem to seek out when they want a more optimistic perspective, it isn’t easy to fall into the occasional hole of a less-than-stellar mood.

But, boy, is is necessary. We just might want to be careful what we do while we’re down there, wallowing or figuring it out or whatever.

Moody thoughts are normal. All feelings are not only acceptable, but often necessary. Nothing wrong with that. But, as I teach my kids and grandkids, it’s what you do or say to others during those moods that can have a lasting, negative effect.

So – much as I wanted to “reason” myself out of the funk, I knew what I really had to do:

I just let myself be sad.

As a singing teacher once said to me, “Honey, your mind just has some work to do. Let it do its job, and let go.”  (I may be paraphrasing here, but you get the gist)

Sometimes, we just need processing time. Marinating, for you Food Network fans.

Think. Feel. Dwell. But don’t – please, don’t – say mean words, make rash decisions, do hurtful things to another human being until you feel in balance again.

Also, don’t judge yourself for your fall from “happier.” Human, human, human.

 

To be fair, the day had started out great.

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#TrumpPanic? Five Reasons to Choose Hope Instead

(Author’s note, 2021 — I wrote this over four years ago, trying to find the silver lining. I was wrong about Trump. He did not rise to the job. But I stand by my right to have held onto hope, and still do. -Randye, 2/27/21)

. pollyannaI am not a Pollyanna.

Well, maybe a little bit.

But, two days after the Election, I’m tired of feeling my stomach in knots over something I can no longer control. I’m tired of anger. And I’m sick of literally losing sleep over the reality of Donald Trump as President.

So I am choosing to hope. I am choosing love. And I’m surprised at how many people are trying to talk me out of it.

Maybe you are celebrating Trump’s election this week. Maybe, like me, you are in one of the first four stages of grief: Denial (“this can’t be real!”) Anger  (“It’s not fair! Who is to blame?”), Bargaining (“Is this bad news reversible?”) , Depression – (“I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”)  

But, sooner or later, we’re all going to have to get to a (guarded, realistic) stage 5: Acceptance – (“It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”)

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