Of all that I’ve encountered and lived over the past year there are three key lessons that have repeated themselves over and over. Today I’m thankful for the combination of the three as they help me stay joyful daily. It’s funny, I don’t always think about them consciously, but they are always there, hanging out in the back of my brain and soul, reminding me occasionally that they are there with me, a part of me, and ready to support me.
Optimism can be defined as “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.” No matter what I encounter in life I know that the future has the potential to be the best possible future, regardless of what has happened in the past.
Stoicism is a little different twist on optimism. It’s essentially saying that there isn’t good or bad when it comes to external events, each specific event just is. We put the context to it, good or bad. Stoics believe that our happiness lies in our ability to respond appropriately and with the appropriate emotions to each event. The focus is on finding the right emotion to find the positive in the situation and find our happiness there. Marcus Aurelius said it best, “Objective judgement, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance – now at this very moment – of all external events. That’s all you need.”
Gratitude… ahh… my best buddy, gratitude. If there was one thing I would’ve asked Marcus to add to his quote above it would have been, “and be thankful for every moment and event you experience in life, it means you’re still alive.” Seriously, it’s amazing how my attitude changes when I am presented with something that could be taken as very bad but I find a way to be thankful for it. When I pause and find the reason to be grateful for it my attitude immediately changes and I smile. I’ve found that an ounce of gratitude can go a long way to healing the soul and bringing joy to my heart.
Today each of these three core values and key lessons have been in the forefront of my brain. I’m thankful for every difficult situation that has led me to embrace them as much as I have, they’ve been tremendous friends and allies to me today.