Abundant Optimism

Helping people regain and keep an optimistic outlook in challenging circumstances and improve their creativity, mind, and skills.

Thanksgiving Toward Optimism

by Tamara Martfeld

One of the easiest ways to be more optimistic is to recognize and be thankful for what you have. Too many times we focus on everything bad in our lives and do not look at the blessings and good things in our lives. We complain about the bills, the housework, the job, etc. Even those who do not have any bills, housework, job, or even money have things for which to be thankful.

If you are lucky enough to have the bills, housework, job, etc., be thankful. The bills generally mean you have utilities, clothes, food, and other items which can be purchased for money. One really canít have housework without a house or home of some sort. A job, even a lousy job, means there is income. Take everything you complain about and look for the blessing within in the complaint. The blessings are not always easy to find, especially if the situation is truly bad, but they are there. By focusing on the blessings related to the complaints the complaints will sometimes not seem so bad after all. There is also a theory that if you focus on the blessings that more of those same type of blessings will come into your life.

If you are having trouble finding anything in your life for which to be thankful, pretend that you will lose anything for which you are not thankful and try again. Do you want to keep your employment at least until you find something better? Do you like your running water and electricity? Do you like your shelter from the weather? How about your dominant hand, your feet, your eyes, or any other part of your body? Is the air you breathe able to provide you with the oxygen your body needs? Do you want your family and/or friends in your life? Think of everything you would miss if it left your life and you will see many things for which to be thankful.

Another way to find the things in your life for which to be thankful is to compare yourself to someone less fortunate than yourself. I donít think there is a person in the world who cannot make this comparison favorably simply because we all value different things. For example, if you had to lose either your eyes or your legs, which would you prefer? A runner is likely to chose the eyes so the running as he/she knows it can continue. A photographer or reader might choose is likely to chose the legs because photography and reading is easier to do with eyesight. Note that I did qualify my examples Ė I am sure that one without legs can find a way to run even if it is not as it is generally known, and I know reading and photography can be done without eyes.

If you live in a country which is not a third world country you probably have a lot of luxuries you take for granted such as indoor plumbing, fresh water, food, and electricity. I generally laugh when people complain that their electricity has been out for a whole day. There are so many places without any electricity Ė ever! It is truly a luxury. Yes it is one I do not enjoy doing without, but I can do without when needed and I am very thankful to have electricity.

If you live in the United States (I am not sure about which other countries to which this applies, but I know there are some) your housing and almost any local building you will ever be in is more stable than that of several other countries. Just look at the differences between the damage and deaths in the United States for an earthquake in a largely populated area as compared to some other countries. In the United Stated the deaths are generally in the low hundreds as opposed to the thousands elsewhere and the buildings are still standing.

I think you get the idea. Take this Thanksgiving to be truly thankful for all the blessings and joys in your life.. Concentrate on these blessings and joys to become more optimistic about your overall situation.

Have a safe and thankful Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukah to those celebrating Hanukah.