The Big O is optimism! Staying positive all the time takes practice, as does being optimistic and happy no matter what. Do you see the glass half-full or half-empty? That question, I am sure, came from some scientist trying to explore the human brain to see how we think. People who show optimism usually think ahead in a positive way. They usually count on that parking spot exactly where they want it, and they will boast, “I always find a good spot.”
This can be super positive but sometimes annoying for the pessimist who screams, “I never get a good parking spot.” Optimists feel positive about the unknown, even without knowing what will happen. There is no evidence that everything will work out, but optimists carry on as if there was some sort of evidence supporting their positive nature. They seem to think that the best possible outcomes will happen.
I have always thought of myself as optimistic—that is, until I had a series of things that just did not go my way. Then, all of sudden, I was Debbie Downer. I was blurting out things like “This will never end,” “I am so broke,” and “I will never have a good relationship.” I mean, we are talking Debbie Downer big time! I could not even grab a positive or optimistic thought, and it really started to annoy me when people around me could see the good while I could focus on only the negative. I would actually say, “I know how to be positive!” LOL. I was in such a horrible state of mind, and when the blame game started, I just spiraled downward.
Looking back on that dark time in my life where I went from optimist to pessimist, positive to negative, happy to sad, and energetic to depressed, I realize we are not one or the other. We have both in us, and we can access which attitude we want to use at any time. I have used both, but staying positive and happy no matter what is going on around me has served me the best. It is not easy. Please hear me—it is not easy!
I was literally brought to my knees when I turned forty years of age. I got divorced, I had to reinvent myself and start a career, I had three young children, and I was not useful to anyone because I was living in fear and full of rage. My positivity went out the door, and it seemed to have happened really fast, like I was living in a nightmare I could not wake up from.
You know how people talk all the time about working out and getting their body in shape? They work hard to get this amazing fit body, but then, when they stop working out, they get out of shape so quickly. That is how my life felt. I was getting further and further away from any type of practice. I was not working out, even though I consider myself an athlete and was doing adventure races and training like crazy before the meltdown hit me at forty.
I wasn’t meditating, and I can say looking back, I wasn’t even breathing properly. I wasn’t seeking any type of help or guidance or reading positive books. I was going further and further down. I was in the pessimist pit as my thoughts were negative, sad, and confused. “How did I get here?” was my primary question. And my brain would say, “Because you fucked up!” I needed the Big O.
I started to act “as if”—as if my life was great, as if I had a lot going on, as if I was dating the man of my dreams, as if I was making so much money that I did not know what to do with it, and as if I lived in my dream home. When the negative thoughts arrived, I would literally say out loud, “Thank you for visiting.” This helped me get back into practice. I began working out physically and mentally. They go hand in hand in my case. I know many people who do not work out, and they are still the happiest people, but I did not get that happy gene. I have to practice, visualize, and move my body to activate my happy gene.
If you feel like you cannot reach the Big O, I get it. It is not easy to be optimistic all the time. I want to share that it is possible to rebound and pick yourself back up. It is possible to change your story and reach the Big O.
Start with having compassion for the ones who are not feeling so positive. When I was in my funk, the last thing I wanted was people telling me to smile, be happy, and think positive. These are all things people say when they are uncomfortable and do not know how to handle someone else’s sadness.
Just hold your space, listen, be there, and let people have their time to recover. Sad people usually just want to be heard. I know I just needed a safe place to vent my feelings and someone who was not going to judge me or my situation. We cannot help anyone when we are judging.
I say this a lot because it is so true. It is hard to achieve the Big O and walk around with a smile all the time. Some people do it naturally while others need compassion and help to achieve this. It is my goal and purpose in life to help anyone out there who might be suffering and needs to read something uplifting quickly but doesn’t have the energy or time to read an entire book.
If my story helps one person today, then I did my job.