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Trust your hopes, not your fears

Posted Mar 03 2009 2:20pm

That is the definition of “faith” according to my morning tea mug. I like to be greeted by this reminder first thing because I’m a learned optimist. I used to be a shocking pessimist who availed of every opportunity to worry. But now I know that worry is such a waste of time!

But still, the habits of a lifetime are hard to kill. So, I need to constantly remind myself to be hopeful rather than fearful.

You see I now believe in the power of optimism. I believe it is more helpful to focus on what I want rather than what I don’t want. I subscribe to the adage that energy flows where attention goes, so I pay attention to where I put my attention. And if I notice that it’s a little on the negative side, I immediately reframe my thoughts in a more positive light.

"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy." ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

If you’ve been a worrier all your life, you’re not doomed to continue that way until the end of your days. Even if things appear to be catastrophic to you right now, there is always the possibility that they will get better. Anything is possible, so do yourself a favour and stop focussing on what seems to be probable right now (unless probable is good). Improbabilities become reality all the time.

Besides, what you feel has nothing to do with what is. It’s your thoughts about events in your life that’s causing you to feel the way you do, and not the events themselves. The circumstance may be beyond your control, but your response to it is not. So you can be in the midst of a traumatic experience and still hope for a good outcome – trust in your ability to come through it and be stronger for it.

Worry, on the other hand, reduces your capacity to deal with your challenges in a creative, constructive manner. The more depleted your inner resources are the more difficult it will be for you to cope with the situation, find solutions and move beyond it.

When you focus on how you hope things will turn out instead, your mind relaxes giving you the immediate benefit of feeling better. But another wonderful benefit is that your relaxed mind is better able to be creative and inspired. A relaxed mind is much better placed to send you a solution out of nowhere than one that is focussed on how awful things are now and are how much worse they’re likely to get.

"Fear is nothing except a drain of energy and not a power unto itself. Trust in yourself, for therein lies the true power." ~ Lori Hard

Being optimistic and realistic aren’t mutually exclusive outlooks. Optimism not only has room for accepting the reality as it is, but it is also the best starting point. Accept what is right now, and hope for improvements to come. And notice how you stretch and grow as you discover ways to overcome your challenges.

Your alternative is to accept what is right now and expect things to continue as they are or get worse. What’s that going to do for your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well-being? Nothing good, I can guarantee you! It will destroy your ability to find any joy in the present, and the present is all you really have anyway. You’re not even guaranteed to wake up tomorrow morning at all – and if anything makes a nonsense of worry it’s that reality!

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