“I would go back as early as I could and start teaching my younger self that there is nothing wrong with CHOOSING optimism.”

Episode 257

What I Wish I Knew Sooner, Part 3: The Truth About Optimism

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Hello, Gorgeous Soul.

All right, we are continuing this week with the things I would’ve told my younger self. We’re in part 3 of the series.

In parts 1 and 2 I said if I could go back I would tell my younger self to be aware that all the time you spend trying to make external changes, trying to change your body or your habits or your relationships without pausing to address the INTERNAL issues is a huge gigantic waste of time. Things will go SO much faster and will feel SO much easier when you pause the cosmetic changes so you can fix the foundation of the house.

Next I talked about what I would tell my younger self about feelings. I kind of feel like that episode is one that we all could listen to on repeat. I swear if we were taught how to feel our feelings and not take responsibility for everyone else’s feelings, the world would be a radically different place. Just imagine what might be different if you weren’t afraid of guilt or disappointment or other people’s opinions!!!

Today’s episode is a tiny bit different. Because this isn’t something I wish I would’ve known younger. It’s something I DID know as far back as I can remember, something that was like preprogrammed into my brain. But over time I started to believe it was something that was WRONG with me.

So here’s what I would say:

Younger self, there is NOTHING wrong with you for looking for the bright side of hard things.

There’s nothing wrong with looking for lessons in the pain, celebrations in the failures, wins in the losses.

Here’s what’s going to happen, though.

People are going to tell you that you are naive. Because you give people second chances.

People are going to tell you that you CAN hope for the best, but be responsible and prepare for the worst too, because THAT is safer than hope.

People are going to tell you that you can’t just throw pink paint on top of a problem, you can’t just live your whole life wearing rose colored glasses because you’re going to get hurt, you’re going to be taken advantage of, you’re going to be disappointed constantly.

One day in the future, you are going to be sitting with a big group of friends and you’ll be talking about some topic that’s obviously really bad and one of the women in the group is going to turn to you and say, “Welllll, silver lining girl…what do you say about this?”

And you will feel the shame flood through your body becasue you KNOW she means it in a condescending way. “All of us responsible adults live in the REAL world, we get that life is a dumpster fire…you don’t. You need to find the silver lining.

But guess what? Jokes on them.

Because what they are assuming is that you’re doing what THEY’re doing. Hyperfocusing on one side and ignoring the other.

Humans are wired for survival. They are DESIGNED to be hyper focused on what could go wrong, what is bad or dangerous because that is how humans have survived all these years.

If you zoom out and look at things fro what they really are, though,TRUE about the world, though, you’ll see that VERY rarely is anything ALL or NOTHING. VERY rarely does the absolute BEST thing happen or the absolute WORST thing.

THink of a bell curve.

The biggest part of a bell curve is between the extremes.

If one side of the bell curve is catastrophe and the other side is perfection, the MOST likely outcome happens somewhere in the middle.

There are a million options between perfection and catastrophe.

There are a gazillion options between totally good and totally bad.

How many shades of gray are there between black and white?

Because humans are wired for survival, we are programmed to hyperfocus on the catastrophe.

So, knowing that, wouldn’t it make sense to actively SEEK the silver lining? Actively FIND the good things that happen outside of the catastrophe? To nudge our way towards balance between the extremes?

Why yes, it WOULD make more sense.

Which is why, younger self, actively focusing on finding the GOOD is not delusional at all. In fact, what’s MORE delusional is NOT looking for what is happening outside the catastrophe.

Now, obviously if you have your head in the sand and refuse to see the BAD, that’s different. That IS delusional.

But finding the good in the bad? THAT is real.

By trusting people, You don’t actually believe that no one will ever hurt you you just don’t assume everyone will. There is a difference.

Believing things will work out doesn’t mean you’re oblivious to things NOT working out.

You aren’t naive because you look for the silver lining, you are resilient af.

Because you are going to spend MORE time outside of the catastrophe.

Listen if the catastrophe happens, you’re not going to have a choice to go in it. If it’s not happening now, though, you don’t have to sit there and wait. I promise it’s not actually protecting you.

Spending more time OUTSIDE of the catastrophe, will help you get through things easier. Not easy. Hard things are hard. But resilience makes it easier. you will bounce back quicker. You will be able to let go of things instead of holding on to them.

That party that you’re called, not in a nice way, silver lining girl? That is NOT going to take you down for weeks. That isn’t even going to take you down for an hour. You know why?

Because you’re resilient. BECAUSE you are the silver lining girl.

So there you have it.

What I would tell my younger self is to be proud of your ability to always find the good in the bad.

AND don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong.

In fact, you will be able to help A LOT of people by being EXACTLY who you are.

Silver lining girl.

– Kristen

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