Optimism is the key to a happy life. It really is. I believe that happy people are optimistic people. Optimism does not mean that you avoid problems in your life or simply turning a blind eye. Optimism, to me, means that you remain positive about the outcome regardless of the circumstances. When facing a problem, you don’t dwell in the problem but you look beyond the problem to the outcome and you make it a happy one.
When I was a child, I was a very optimistic little girl. One of the things I always said was, “Everything will be okay. Maybe not today but in the end it will be”. And I believed in it. Why? Because I believed that God could literally do everything. Nothing was too out of reach for God. But when I grew up, I had moments when I doubted that. I did not doubt that God could do everything, but I did doubt that everything would be okay in the end. The problem, in my own point of view, is adulthood. There comes a time where we lose our childlike innocence. It is like someone takes our rose-colored glasses off and exchanges them for reality glasses. As we grow older we start to look at the world and lose a piece of our childlike positivity. A positivity that is so important for us.
When I was nineteen years old (about two months before my twentieth birthday) I got into a deep depression. During that depression I lost my optimism completely. It was like something shifted inside of me. In the weeks before I became depressed, it had been brewing for a while inside of me but I ignored it. Then suddenly one morning, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I could not see the goodness in my life or people. It lasted for at least a year and a half, and with therapy I found a way out. Since then I have had two more depressive periods. And the only thing that helps me during these dark days is optimism. Telling myself positive things. One thing that helped me greatly was telling myself that Jesus loves me. As soon as I woke up, I would remind myself of Jesus love. And throughout the day I would repeat it. Then slowly, little by little, my happiness would return.
Negative thoughts enter the mind so easily. With me it probably started at school. Someone laughed at my because I did not wear the right clothes. Then someone rejected me. And more people followed. Instead of seeing people for what they really are, I would try to locate the problem within myself. I kept trying to fix myself until I felt worthless and unfixable. But when exactly this started? I cannot put the finger on it. Little by little negativity ate its way into my soul until it had eaten me from the inside out.
And yet the answer was so easy. The only thing that ever helped me was to replace it with positivity. Even when I was twenty my psychologist would make me look at myself and research myself as long as it took for me to see that things weren’t that bad after all. I wasn’t that bad after all. When I was twenty-one, a good friend of mine secretly filmed me with her camera as a joke. When I saw it back, I thought, wow she is a really great girl. Only to realize that this great girl was actually me. After all the negativity, this moment shifted my heart back in its place. For the first time I started to like myself. Which was a huge step forward! And it has only improved ever since. Like I said, I still have depressive moments that can last several weeks, but I don’t take it out on myself anymore. I just keep repeating Jesus’s love for me. I keep reminding myself of what is beautiful about myself. I literally talk myself happy again. And if I can’t do it? God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit remind me of it.
A happy life starts with loving yourself. I know the bible asks us to be humble, but there is a great difference between humility and pulling yourself down. You can see the beauty within yourself, love yourself and be humble at the same time. Humility simply means that you don’t boast about yourself. Or in the language of the bible; Honor one another above yourself (Romans 12: 10). When I realized this, it was a great eye-opener! For as long as I lived, I literally thought that I had to hate myself to be humble. But slowly, as I grew older, God started to show me a new reality. He asked me to like myself. In the poem ‘The Sunflower’ (I posted it in a previous blog), God said to me, “I see the sunflower in you, now all I ask is for you to see it to”. God wants us to be positive and optimistic. He wants us to see His love for us and He wants that love to penetrate our soul so much that it covers our soul completely.
But positivity goes beyond yourself. I can be very positive about myself but it is equally important to be positive about the world around me. To see the good in people instead of the bad. To give people a chance instead of rejecting them right away. To give someone a compliment or a kind word. Greet people on the street or smile at someone instead of living in your own world. If we try to be a little more positive, it can already change our souls and lives dramatically. Optimism is the key to a happy life. Not just for yourself but also for the people around you!