Guest blog by Debbie Gisonni
Author of Vita's Will: Real Life Lessons about Life, Death & Moving On
Have you ever wondered where the expression, “knock on wood” comes from? There are several theories dating back to the Pagans, Christians and ancient Celtics. The most common is that knocking
on a tree woke the good spirits who would protect people from evil. Today’s version includes knocking on any wood-like surface, but the premise remains the same--preventing bad luck. To me, it’s just another form of negative thinking--focusing on the bad instead of the good.
You bring into your life that which you focus upon. If you’re one of those people who thrives on gloom and doom, yanking others into your web of despair, and then gloating about your foresight when life becomes as miserable as you feared--guess what? This becomes your own self-fulfilling prophecy! You will always live in victim mode, shunning happiness, while you anticipate your next inevitable misfortune.
Amid these forces of negativity, notice that there are others who always seem cheerful, finding the good in any situation or person. The words, “Murphy’s Law,” never touch their lips! You may think that they have all the good luck. And they do! Because they focus on how great things are or can be, versus what can ruin it. And, if something does go wrong, they find the lesson in the experience--maybe even the silver lining--and move on positively. These are the people who choose optimism.
When I woke up one day to find my car tire flat in my driveway, I didn't think, “These things always happen to me. This car has been bad luck since I bought it.” Instead I chose to think, “Wasn't I lucky to have this happen here, instead of while I was driving 60MPH on the freeway?” OK…you say, “Big deal! It’s just a flat tire. What about the really bad stuff that happens to us, like death, divorce,
bankruptcy, illness?” My answer stays the same--How you see it is still your choice. I lost four family members in four years, and my mother was ill for ten years. After that devastating time, I decided to write a book to help others deal with tragedy. I wanted to turn those tragedies into something positive for others and myself. That was my choice.
Optimism is a learned behavior. If no one in your life has ever taught you to be positive, then it becomes your choice to learn. You create the reality around you with your thoughts, words and actions. It’s the law of the universe--what you put out, you get back. Simple.
Negativity zaps so much energy from you and comes back ten times stronger. It’s cold, dark and heavy on your soul, while being cheerful and optimistic feels like a cool summer breeze--light, sweet and airy. Try it sometime; you may never go back.
Five ways to choose optimism in your life
1) Hang around positive people even if it seems uncomfortable at first.
2) If you work or live with negative people, don't get pulled into their fear or impose your opinion upon them.
3) Try to change every negative thought and word to a positive one.
4) Always assume the best from people and situations.
5) Make positive affirmations--if you say it enough, you'll start believing it.