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Icy cool optimist.

Optimism is defined as “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something”.

When it comes to people, optimism may be harder to practice especially if you watch their dark sides pretty closely. Imagine if you had a microscopic view of all the germs inside your phone, you would probably never hold it close to your face that long. But human beings have way more negative thoughts and emotions inside their minds. It’s natural! Lift the hood under your own mind and watch how quickly your demons take over as well. It’s part of the human experience that we all have negative thoughts.

Your task is to not fear anyone’s negative tendencies or thoughts. They are fleeting moments. They shall pass.

Optimism on it’s own feels easy to buy into. But the real challenge of optimism is “choosing to believe” not without the opposing evidence but in spite of it. Choosing to believe in people’s goodness and kindness especially when they are being a prick.

People may bring pain to your moment. But remember you are the one who is bringing suffering. This is hard to digest and sit with. You might feel your response to the pain caused unto you is 100% valid and legitimate. It might as well be… but is it serving you? Is it making the situation any better than what is?

Intelligence would say — it is valid so you deserve to retaliate

But wisdom would say — it might be valid but retaliation only worsens

Always be biased on the side of wisdom.

Pain is unavoidable; suffering is not.

Here’s how you can catch yourself slipping into the suffering mode:

If you are wondering any combination of these below thoughts, your mind is tricking you into victim mentality that I believe is stage 1 of suffering:

  • “Why me?!”

  • “It isn’t fair!”

  • “This is horrible!”

  • “I can’t stand it!” 

  • “I deserve respect in a situation like this”

The popular online website, Psychology Today argues suffering worsens everything in this article.

Suffering is both a cause and an effect of the catastrophic cognitions and distressing emotions associated with chronic pain: anxiety, irritability, anger, fear, depression, frustration, guilt, shame, loneliness, hopelessness, and helplessness. Negative thinking only makes situations we believe to be “bad,” worse. Many people, including those who do not suffer from chronic pain, can ruminate on something by continuously and unproductively replaying it in their minds or magnify the negative aspects of it. Our thoughts have the capacity to make us miserable, and negative thinking can be especially insidious, feeding on itself, with the potential to become a self-fulfilling and self-defeating prophesy.

Keep perspective on things and be an icy cool optimist. That is 100% in your control.