Optimism 1. Disposition to hope for the best, tendency to look on the bright side of things, 2. Belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.
Faith 1. Confidence in a person or a thing. 2. Belief which is not based on proof
(definitions taken from the Macquarie dictionary)
It is generally accepted that having an optimistic outlook on life is a positive thing. It supports resilience, and helps you see the good in things.
Faith is not talked about so much. However religious aspects aside, having confidence in yourself, another person, or just life itself sounds pretty good. I think where some people wonder about faith is where definition 2 comes in – belief which is not based on proof. However when you look at the definitions for optimism – there is no proof that good ultimately predominates over evil. Optimism and faith I believe are linked, but that is another story.
Are you someone who needs proof to believe
Here is where I hope to convince those of you who need proof for everything that proof can hold you that back. Now I am not saying that you need to go blindly off after some ideal or running off a cliff because you believe you can fly.
Needing proof is a need for control over aspects of your life. Now I know you all like to have some level of control in your life (I do). However I also believe it is when you can let go of control that things can happen that you never thought possible.
Developing your optimism and faith is then, at least in part, about letting go and letting go of the need for proof
How do you let go?
How do you let go? It seems like a bit of a chicken an egg story – to really let go you need to have faith and to be optimistic. To have faith is letting go.
It is really hard to let go if you think everything will turn out terribly if you don’t keep holding on. It certainly helps if you were brought up in a household that was optimistic, but you don’t have to have come from an optimistic background to be an optimistic person and to have faith.
I do believe however that you need to get to know you, to challenge you, to connect with you – for that is where faith and optimism can be found. Get to know you! Build faith and optimism through trying new things, setting yourself challenges, doing things that scare you, developing a yoga or meditation practice.
Still need proof? – Here are some other things to try!
Start a things always turn out better then I expect journal. Draw two columns on your page, on one side write down something you are concerned about and how at this stage you think it is going to turn out….. revisit your journal and record in the other column how things actually turned out. You might be surprised. Sometimes you need to wait a bit longer to fully appreciate how things have worked out better so give it time.
Writing a list of all the things / people / events that you are thankful for in your life can help build an attitude of thanks and get you feeling more positive - more optimistic
Write down some intentions for things you would like to create in your life, make sure they are things that you really connect with. Write down some big and some smaller intentions as well (this helps to ensure that you get some early wins which will give your optimism a boost). Check back in a few months to see how you are progressing – some you may no longer wish for – that is fine – others you will see you have progressed or even achieved what you had hoped for.
I’d love people to share any stories they have of how they created more faith and optimism within themselves.