"How do you maintain your positive outlook in life?"
Dear Sandy, for me personally, it started because I had no choice. I saw and felt too much. My love of Understanding and insight at a very early age led me to see way more than I could handle. I had to insist on developing Unrelenting Positivity. Or I would be dead now.
I do not mean to be melodramatic, but that really was the choice then. It was either maintain my immersion in "seeing things as they were," as I believed was sensible at the time, and drown in the sadness of it all, or develop some other Way-of-Being.
But, I could not just simply lie to myself and pretend I didn't see what I saw. So I was in a pickle. I realised I had a problem. I struggled along, doing my best until one day something profound happened.
There was a girl in my class, who for some reason always would fight with me. Whatever I said, she would take issue with, responding negatively to whatever I did. Somewhat of a mystery to me. I would get into it with her, giving back as good as I received.
But on that fateful wonderful day, right in the midst of a heated argument, I saw how Terese, that was her name, how Terese was responding to my beliefs about her.
In that moment inside the argument, what I saw shocked and horrified me. A most complex perception flashed at me in an instant. I realised that Terese was behaving as she believed she "Should" relative to me. My perceptions of her, triggered her behaviour. This affected me deeply. I realised I was responsible to a large measure for how Terese behaved towards me. My "accurate" and realistic perception of her was a self-fulfilling prophecy. At least in terms of how she behaved in relation to me.
To connect to your question, when I realised that if I was not Positive, it could and would result in me creating negativity. Well, there was no way I could allow that to happen and be so. In addition to drowning in sadness, I now had another reason to be Positive.
I changed then, I had to. Besides affecting others in how they related to me, as I thought it all through, I realised that not only were my perspectives, attitudes and beliefs making a difference in how others behaved towards me, but it also affected how they behaved towards others. I saw how negativity, and positivity, is like a contagious virus. If I was negative towards someone, even if only in belief, that affected them. They might not respond to me directly, as Terese had done, but that negativity found release somewhere, and was usually passed on to others in some way.
This Understanding really shook me up. How could I in good conscience add to the negativity of the world? I couldn't. I can't. Once we are fully aware of how we affect life, affect the world around us, and affect others simply with our outlook on things, it changes us. We have to change, or be complicit in infecting the world with negativity and contributing to its sadness and misery. No, that will not do in the least!
All this made me realise that my outlook was really not all that cut and dried as I had thought it to be. What I perceived was not fixed, or "out there," as it has seemed to be. Reality and me were intertwined. in my drive and desire to perceive the depths of reality, to understand and discern as much as I could, I had not initially realised how what I perceived and saw and witnessed, was intimately connected to me. To how I was as a person, to what I believed, to my Attitude and my Perspective.
Knowing how responsible I now was, I had to change to Positivity. As well as not drowning in sadness. I had no option really but to be Positive. But I knew the power of habit. So what I did, and still do, was I leveraged my Stubbornness. I used my stubbornness Positively. I resolved to be stubbornly insistent to find some good in everyone, in every situation. No matter what, no matter how, I insisted that I would stubbornly find that good and focus only on that!
Effect and Cause
That stubborn insistence on Unrelenting Positivity led to a major unexpected consequence. A life-long profound change. I realised that the World does not work the way we think it does. The world isn't this way or that. Rather its flexible, it changes, and how it very much depends on how we are.
Also, I had simply fallen into the default belief and perception that things are either one way or the opposite. Like it's either good or bad, positive or negative. The glass is either half full or half empty. But that is not so. Not everything is neatly opposite. That's just a convenience. Furthermore, we need to remember, that no matter the state of the glass, we still actually have the glass itself.
For instance, why is the glass not always full? Full of air and liquid. It's all a matter of perspective. There is no truth to what it actually is. That's our choice. This is huge, especially for honest people. We try to see the world for what it is, to see it honestly, accurately. But once we realise that what we see is affected by us, by how we are, and especially by the perspectives we can choose to have, then we suddenly live in a whole different World. A world of possibility, flexibility, change, and of course, responsibility. Especially Ethical Responsibility.
Extracting Value and Usefulness
To help maintain my positivity, besides constantly reminding myself not only that my perspective, and thus my mood and how I feel is purely my choice, I also remind myself that my perspective is likewise a choice. All Perspective is choice. How we see things is entirely up to us. We do not have to see anything in any particular way.
To constantly remind myself of my deliberate perspective I remember what the worst thing is good for. It is a good bad-example! It's a great reminder and stimulus to that Stubborn Insistence of mine. I use that to insist on finding some Usefulness and Value out of any situation. It might not always be nice but if I learn, there is always that Good in it.
The awesomeness of this focus is that the more we find that Good, that Value, that Usefulness, the more we extract that Good, the more we insist on finding it, the easier it becomes to not only find it, but to see it, to recognise the Good that is everywhere. We just have to make that effort to insist on looking and finding it.
The more I looked for Good, the more I found Good, the more I keep on seeing and finding and connecting to Good. Thus maintaining a Positive Outlook becomes easier and easier. And for me, the bonus of it all is that the more I look, the more I see. I see that the entire world, all of life, all of it is Good. Why, because in making every effort to look for and find Goodness, I came to see how I didn't really have to make any effort to find it, or extract it. All I had to do was Understand.
Once I realised that the point and purpose of it all was to assist us in Developing and Enhancing our Awareness, then it all started to Make Sense. It all fit. Everything was geared toward that assistance. We have to figure it out for ourselves, but we can get plenty hints and clues and suggestions and prompts along the way. If we don't learn willingly, well, we might get shoved a bit. And if we still don't learn, things might get unpleasant, as we are forced to learn, or suffer. The key here is to Understand that Good isn't always nice, but it's always Positive.
Once I realised this, and saw the Grand Sense of it all, well, from then on Positivity stopped being a choice really, but a simple fact of life. Once we connect to the incredible fantasticness that is this School of Awareness we call the World, how can it be anything else but Positive? Everything is there to in some way move us along the Path-of-Awareness.
To maintain our Positive Outlook, we simply have to insist in the beginning, then at some point it all changes and we end up living in a different world, because not only have we become different, but that world we find ourselves in, is nothing but Positive and Good, even if it is not always nice.
At least, that's what works for me. 🙂 <3
Ask Biella is a Gateway Gazette Feature Column provided by a Contemporary Philosopher and Writer. The purpose and intent of this feature is to provide readers with an opportunity to ask a wide variety of life-based questions. Think "Dear Abby," but with more emphasis on life than just relationships.
Biella is an amalgam of two Beings - Contemporary Philosophers and Writers, who exercises glorious intellectual minds which are most admirable for their profundity and sharpness. Often offering multiple sides of an issue, and provoking self-introspection. Their aim is to uncover Appropriateness, Awareness, Attention, Application, Attunement, and more, with a unique, high-level understanding of the profound intricacies that interlace these concepts.