I Am Happy Today and Probably Will Be Tomorrow

I sometimes receive comments on my writing that express admiration for my “positive outlook on life.” I feel a bit dishonest accepting those comments as praise. I don’t mean that I am putting on a false front in my writing. Rather, I know that, initially, I don’t react to situations, feelings and life in a purely positive way, and my writing follows my thought process as I move toward a positive outlook.

My three happy kids I took some time off from writing for the past few days. A friend and I drove a long distance, shared conversation in the car and participated together in religious worship. I also gave service—both mundane, get-it-done service and emotion-filled, meaningful service. I stepped back into a setting with old friends whom I won’t see assembled in the same way ever again. I enjoyed a quiet family celebration. I spent two hours alone without any mental stimulation or distraction. And, I watched a speech on Positive Psychology by Martin Seligmann.

None of these presented big drama, but the combination showed me a unique perspective of my recent past and my future. I saw how I’ve changed. My goal to “illuminate every day” is no longer just a goal, but a practical approach to how I’m now handling life.

How can I not be happy with these three happy kids growing so well? (But that’s my next post, about being happy as a mom.)

I didn’t know of Seligmann’s research until a few days ago, but my own anecdotal experience is proving that authentic happiness, as he calls it, can come into our lives, regardless of circumstances. He and his research team have developed free questionnaires at their website that measure character strengths and aspects of happiness. I’m interested!

What about you? Are you a natural optimist, a born pessimist, or do you move toward the positive in a prcoess? What do you do to gain perspective of how you have changed? Have you found authentic happiness in life? How?

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3 Comments

  1. Michelle at Scribbit
    Apr 13, 2009

    Me too–optimistic. In fact I get frustrated with people who insist on the opposite though I do tend to be very realistic as well. A “skeptical empiricist” I hope.

  2. TJ
    Apr 13, 2009

    I’ve wondered at times if I can be a realist and an idealist at the same time. I’m an idealist at heart, knowing the principles that are going to bring about what I want, but then I always have a hiccup moment when put them into practice and get a negative outcome. That’s when I have to follow through that outcome to the end. Only after I’ve let it play out fully can I see the results are going to eventually lead to a good end, as I thought. My struggle is maintaining happiness in the interim period when I face the hiccup.

  3. Rebecca
    Apr 14, 2009

    I’m an optimist for other people. That annoying girl who sees sunshine in everyone else’s rainstorm. My husband just had an MRI because his shoulder has been giving him excruciating pain. And this is what I said: “You have to have surgery on your shoulder, miss work, deal with a painful recovery, be in a sling for a month, and be unable to do regular tasks because they found a tear? Well, at least they didn’t find a tumor! Let’s be grateful!” Luckily, he appreciates my outlook!

    In my own life, though, I see the negatives first. I come to the positives as I cope with the negatives! And ridiculously, if anybody tries to see the sunshine in my storm, they’re going to get an earful from me!

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