Friday, August 26, 2016

I Thought I Was an Optimist

We've all heard the comparison between an optimist and a pessimist.  A pessimist sees the glass as half empty.  The optimist sees half full.  What if there were a third option?  A realist.  They understand the glass is half empty...and that you can always put in more.

I used to think I was a relatively optimistic kind of person, but recently I've been feeling a bit more weight than normal with our very prolonged closing on the house we were selling (and the less than expected profit), and the culmination of a large project that I've been working on for a year...on top of the regular craziness that is our life. 

As I ruminated over this with my coach this week, we looked at these 3 life outlook styles: optimist, pessimist, and realist.  (The credit on these ideas goes to Viktor Frankl and then Hyrum W. Smith. Frankl was a holocaust survivor.  Smith studied prisoners of war.) The pessimist looks at the situation, sees that it's difficult and then lays down to die or give up.  The optimist sees the situation and thinks it will all be better very soon...and then when it's not, also lays down and gives up and dies--which was not the response I thought it would be.  The realist sees the difficult situation, understands the fight ahead, and still has hope as they press forward.  Life can be very hard sometimes, friends (Jesus told us it would be!), but we always have a choice in our response.  I'm borrowing from Viktor Frankl on this one to say it best:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
I want to offer one more example of a realist today: Jesus Christ.  He knew the difficulty he was facing as He headed toward an excruciating death on a Roman cross...but He did it anyway because of His love for me and you.  He had the hope that because of His sacrifice, we could then be in Heaven with Him when we come into relationship with Him.  So beautiful.  How does your outlook take shape today?

 color: UL mustard seed
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Make it a beautiful day, friends.

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