Shameless Manic Optimism

You get enough bad news, don’t you?

There are millions of blogs, websites, videos and TV channels you can access right now and read or watch until you absolutely shudder with fear, sadness, shock and regret.

We spend so much time with digital information and video, both at home and at work, and a good deal of that information is focused on things that are not positive or uplifting- such as constant judgment and criticism, violence, and even the exploitation of families’ horrific personal struggles and tragedies with cheesy banners and background music.

While I personally know and understand that there are bad things happening in the world, I also think that the media and society’s obvious focus on negativity is way out of control. It’s toxic and totally manic.

Just watch any news channel for an hour, and almost every story is about what is wrong, instead of what is right.   Why is that? Do you truly believe that more bad things are happening right at this moment than good things? With 7 billion people on the planet, can’t you see that the majority of us are okay, and that we can use our energy to lift up those who are not okay?

Since negativity is so insidious and strong in our society, why shouldn’t we be focusing just as much on the positive aspects of life? We do have that choice, you know.

Why shouldn’t we all stand in the perceived darkness with the brightest lights we can shine? Why not offset this with shameless, manic optimism shining like a lighthouse from the soul?

Even while recognizing the scary and painful things that happen to us, we can come together and create a shared focus on the more positive reality all around us. After all, we are surrounded by abundance. This isn’t a statement about your personal situation at the time you read this.

This is a positive truth about the fact that here in the United States and the world at large in 2013, we have more personal freedoms, more opportunities, more amazing medical advances, more food, less violence, less suffering, and just more material stuff and creature comforts than ever before in human history. *For an incredibly thoughtful, fact-based, and well-researched education on this idea, check out the book Abundance by Peter Diamandis.

There are countless truths that we can use to shift our mindsets…

For example, 150,000 people will die today on this planet. That’s a lot of pain and sorrow for a lot of families. We should be aware of this, and use it to remind us of how precious, mysterious, and temporary life really is.  But instead of just focusing on the sheer number of people that leave us on a given day,  let us remember that 350,000 babies will be born today, their little eyes absorbing light for the first time.

For every person who meets the end of their journey today,  7 billion people will sleep deeply and dream.

For every crime that happens in a city block, let’s remember that the majority of people on that block were not victims of a crime at all.

For every member of the U.S. military that is killed in combat today, let’s bow our heads in silence, and be thankful for their selfless service. Let us also be grateful that the vast majority of us who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have returned home to our families.

If there’s 10% unemployment, that’s hard for a lot of folks, but why can’t we also celebrate the other 90%?

For every news story today about a terrible violent murder, there are billions more untold stories about people who lived in peace and did not fear for their lives today.

For every feeling of fear, a glimpse of what’s possible.

For every broken heart, a chance to heal.

For every instance when someone does something you don’t like, a moment of silent compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance.

For every harsh judgment and criticism, a supportive comment.

For every tear, there will be countless snorts, smiles, and laughter.

We are not victims, but the inheritors of a fascinating and complex human story. Let’s paint the world and create a new setting for future history books with these types of positive truths.

Life is too fleeting to take it all so seriously.

Fear can be softened with optimism and hope.

Pain can eventually be seen as necessary for growth.

You can start to balance your thoughts and energy with a positive force that is far stronger than our constant focus on negativity.

You can look at the sun or the stars or your children or yourself or technology or the human brain, body and heart, or your own amazing spectrum of emotions, and no matter now those things coalesce and manifest as either fear or love, remind yourself that we live in a miraculous and mysterious world.

So today, let’s look past our media-influenced, externally programmed personalities, which can be recognized by the constant, unreasonable, and often negative voice inside our heads. And then, let’s listen closer for the deeper, wiser voice within, and turn our eyes toward a brighter day.