Optimists Are Inspiring!

Let’s All Learn How: There are two reasons to do this.  As practicing pessimists, it is worse than uninspiring for ourselves and for others.  As we can see from the previous post, we are born optimists!  That pioneering spirit is so central to a young person’s makeup, thus optimism is a done deal.

Yet, with “soul destroying” news and TV “entertainment” based on violence and struggles to catch culprits, it is easy to see how born optimists become pessimistic.  Also, many of the advertizements in the media and Internet social media, focus on something to be feared or a loss to be avoided.  It doesn’t take much to turn optimists toward pessimism, and even cynicism.  I remember researchers in the 1960s, writing about “Type A Behavior And Your Heart.”  They saw these types as, characterized by speed-impatience, ambition-competitiveness & hostility-anger.

Later, other researchers saw that hostility had no redeeming value, and their reanalysis of the data lead them to rethink the hostility and they found a more concise unifying theme: cynicism, a contemptuous distrust or human nature and motives!” This lead to a conclusion that cynicism was the correct factor, especially among socially isolated people, leading to four times the normal deaths by heart attack!  We are thus left with a need to inspire people’s natural optimism in ourselves, and others.

We need to rethink all the hype in the media and take a lesson from animal trainers, who ignore the unwanted behaviours and reward the desirable.  I think compassion, written about before, enters here as well, in order to fully ignore the unwanted.  I live in the driest State, in the driest Country – Australia.  Here we see the rain, watering the leaves on plants in the garden and filling reservoirs for those dry summer months ahead.

As for being inspired: “Optimists share good news stories.”“They explain fortunate events as: Internal, Lasting, and Global.”“They also explain unfortunate events as: External, Temporary, and Specific”. “Pessimists tend to Personalize, Catastophize, see fortunate things as Temporary and External.”  Growing up in poor conditions in the 1940s and 50s, I was inspired hearing Rogers & Hammerstein’s song:

You’ll Never Walk Alone

When you walk through a storm,
Hold your head up high,
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark.
Walk on through the wind.
Walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on walk on with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone;
You’ll never walk alone.

To me, hearing good news stories, is very inspiring, as I can have a Heart connection with the person who is telling me about it.  I can visualize the picture of good news being created. To be inspired, we have to be alert to things, which can bring joy and encouragement to our experience.  I remember walking home three miles in the dark, after a special dinner put on by members of the local church.

As I walked on the dark country road, I suddenly saw a cross, lit up in the sky ahead of me, it turned out to be an electricity pole, lit by car lights approaching, over a hill behind me.  For a moment, it seemed to be “a sign” and it was certainly inspiring me.  Later in my walk, I saw a shadow. It looked like a black bear standing on hind legs. As I got closer, I found it was only a cedar tree! These memories give me even more respect for Rogers and Hammerstein’s song. Our Hearts are vigilant and responsive to make sense of what seem to be threats. Yet, they introduce us to the power of Faith, in the Thinking Universe, some call God, is providing for all creatures.  Thus, we can see the humanly created threats, as aberrations of the human mind. Yet, we can take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and relax the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and excite the parasympathetic nervous system with Assurance and Faith that everything is working out as well as can be expected in a Coherent Universe!

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7 thoughts on “Optimists Are Inspiring!”

  1. I treasure your remarks, as I know, first hand, that this influence as at play in my own experience. Thanks for this confirmation. Best regards, Paul

    1. Hi, Paul! That song is one of my life long favorites, even having sang it in high school during a class retreat. I believe that we are brought up to follow a negative worldview so as not to appear too ‘Pollyanna” or egotistical if we are viewed by others as “too happy”. I am reminded of a scene in the popular movie “Patch Adams”, where Robin Williams’ character, Patch, is called into the office of the Dean of the medical school. He reprimands Patch for being “too happy” and literally orders him to stop it or be expelled. Our media and public figures have managed to almost brainwash us to believe that the world is all bad, and nothing good is coming in the future. I can literally feel the depression coming over me if I have to spend too much time around a pessimist. I find optimism one of the biggest challenges of my work with people who have mental illness. At the time they see me, they have been convinced, either by themself or by someone or something else, that there is no hope and they would be better off dead or something spiritually equal to death. Many still do not understand the importance of learning techniques such as meditation and mindfulness to help us find our center and return to a place that is safe to regain our sense of positivity. I like your phrase “soul destroying”, as it is exactly what is happening to us.
      I am looking out my window right now at some trees. It’s hot today, but BOY are those trees green! thanks for sharing, Paul!

      1. I am thoroughly encouraged by your remarks and feel a blessing of connection by your thoughtful remarks confirming my assessment of the situation is important because, as you mentioned earlier your APA conference contained amicability with spirituality and science!

  2. I think the origin of pessimism for children growing up often comes from adults (or circumstances) repeatedly thwarting their attempts to accomplish or change something. When a child’s autonomy and sense of worth are negated, the negative tends to stick. Things feel hopeless. I agree that it’s so important for us to see the value in each other – that can change pessimism to hope.

    1. That is so true, Nancy, about children and their need to be acknowledged. I discover in many of my patients this history of being told by a parent or other adult that they could not do something or that they were wasting their time trying to create or change something. Unfortunately, in the world of adults, it happens all too frequently as well. My primary profession is nursing, which is notorious for the stigma of “eating our young”. Unfortunately, I have seen this played out over my time as a nurse, and have felt the vast amounts of negative energy that is embedded in pessimism. IT goes along with that idea that a child, or even an adult, will begin to believe something that is repeatedly told or shown to them, even the negative. The child who is thwarted becomes the adult who is in crisis. Thanks for sharing.

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