I ran into a wonderful lady that I occasionally see while I am out dog walking. She and I were updating each other on our lives, and she imparted to me that she might be losing her job. She works in a school system with troubled youth, and it seems her desire for her students to succeed became such a personal mission that when they struggled, she lost her grounding. She shared with me that a dear friend had inspired her through this trying time with her unyielding optimism.
My friend was saying that optimism, projected onto all situations, really seems to be the key for her now–a-days, to stay calmer. As we talked, I suggested that when we envision an optimistic outcome to the challenges in our life, it helps us then approach them with an energy of success. We are not projecting strife or hesitation through our thoughts and actions, but rather, we are consciously choosing the direction we have already fated the solution in. Perhaps then, this balanced energy guiding our choices helps to keep us grounded and rooted in our truest nature, and guides us towards the life we desire.
I was chatting with another friend today who recently had an unexpected interaction with a former colleague. My friend was expressing concerns regarding how this former colleague might react to their interaction. It dawned on me that this type of pondering is a true source that complicates one’s perspective of optimism. I know many people who project onto situations; worrying themselves with “what ifs.” When we hold ourselves in this pattern of trying to look down all the endless possible roads in front of us that any situation can take – I believe it is less likely that we are going to dwell in the optimistic.
As I see it, holding an optimism towards life, or a trust in life, means letting go of the “what ifs,” and focusing on what is literally in front of us. What is literally in front of us is our actual life. I suggested to my friend that when these thoughts about their former colleague entered their mind, to envision, in their mind’s eye, placing them on a ship and letting them sail away.
Our mind creates these worries with the idea that we are protecting ourselves by considering every angle. But, honestly, all these worries really do is cause us stressful energy towards all that is real in our life, and they often rob us of valued joy, and rest. So, when a reaction does occur, we are no longer in a grounded stance; rooted in our thoughtful, conscious mind. Stress sets us up for reactivity, and reactivity is typically the things in life we find ourselves apologizing for.
All of those moments, when we handle a difficult situation in the best way we knew we could; that was from a resourced place within us. We were grounded, focused, and not looking to stir the pot or create turmoil. We were solution driven, and clear. Personally, I work very hard to maintain this place throughout my life. Obviously, I am human, and sometimes I will feel some stress in my body; it feels like a foreign entity. I don’t like the feeling, at all. When this happens I start making changes, and choices, that offer me time to restore my calm, immediately. Not a week later, after I’ve treated those around me as punching bags, but immediately, because I am consciously choosing who I am, and what my life is… just like you.
So, think of a conflict in your life that captures your mind throughout the day. What’s the best outcome you can envision? Now, compare that to the likely dreaded outcome that you have been focusing your energy on. “Where your focus goes, energy flows.” – Tony Robbins. Humor me- each time you start to swell up with thoughts, concerns, worries, or expectations about any outcome, I want you to say to yourself, “Thank you.” This is you acknowledging all that your mind is doing to keep you safe, and then I want you to choose to let it go. Some people envision a ship sailing off; others, a balloon holding your thought as it floats high into the clouds, or perhaps a strong breeze carrying your thought out of view… be creative. You may have many, many mental balloons floating out into the ether as you begin forging this new mindset, but I assure you, you will never feel more freed. “Don’t let the actions of others destroy your inner peace.” – Dalai Lama. Especially the actions that only exist in your worrisome mind, that aren’t even real.