The silver lining

iles-de-la-madeleine-uid-1038990I do view myself as an optimist . I bounce back, choose to see the good in other people, hope for the best outcome and try to spend my time, effort and energy on the stuff that makes life better. I do however, keep my feet firmly on the ground and refrain from taking an overly optimistic point of view. I can’t recall the number of times I have been told to ‘think positive’ about my health and that would be the cure to my genetic problems or to ‘think positive’ and the chronic pain will cease to be. That type of well-meant but misplaced advice has tainted my idea of what it means to accentuate the positive.

According to an article published by the National Women’s Health Resource Centre, “[p]essimists may create more distress for themselves by distorting, denying and avoiding the situation” and “[o]ptimists … try to manage, reduce or eliminate the stressor or problem being faced.” That is a definition that I can fully support.

It is an easy out to live in the moment of symptoms, but whilst I think about how awful I feel and how much it affects my quality of life, I miss out on the good stuff that I could be doing instead. There are always steps that can be taken to manage, reduce and eliminate problems as there are always steps that can be taken to distort, deny and avoid problems. Which steps I choose to take is entirely up to me.

I can’t fix my health, but I can handle the consequences better with a little positive thought and proactive action. The silver lining may be silver iodide used as cloud condensation to increase precipitation, but it’s still a silver lining. Sort of. I think irony is an integral part of healthy optimism. Having a positive attitude does not a maniacal fanatic make. I can be an optimist without being overly and obsessively optimistic.