Sometimes you will notice them right away, and sometimes it takes time to spot this person. They look different. They always look calm and confident, maybe not too confident but definitely hopeful. These people preserve the hope for a better future within themselves. They still believe that people are good, and that every challenges is an opportunity and every change leads to a better outcome. These are the people that kept their inner light, inner fire on since they were children. They still remember all the good things that happened to them, all the good people that helped them along the way. You can call these people optimists but it is more than that. These people bring light to the room, they make others feel better because they never give up.
Everyone is born with the inner light, inner fire. However, as life takes place, everyone experiences disappointments, mistakes, losses and betrayals. It is just the way life is. As a result, some people become more cynical than they should be, some focus on barriers rather than opportunities, some focus on their fears or become anxious about the things they can’t control, others become more calculative, some begin looking for other remedies or try to keep themselves busy to avoid dealing with themselves, while others create their own imaginary world and see everything through “pink lens”. It is sad to see the people you thought you knew so well give up on life, become depressed, or make more mistakes than you keep a count on. However, some people keep true to themselves. Sometimes you walk outside and you see an old grandma. She is so old that she barely walks but her eyes are bright, youthful and maybe even sly. I agree with the saying that eyes are “the doors to the soul”. They reveal whether the inner light is on, they reveal person’s approach to life, the lessons one learned and how one perceives the world to be working (or not).
There are ways to bring the inner light back. The inner light is strongly connected to the person you were when you were a child, and it is also linked to empathy you have toward others. Some of the ways to bring a positive outlook on life include:
Keeping a diary to reflect your thoughts. This is a healthy way to learn about yourself, reason with yourself when you are anxious about something and just organise your thoughts. Keeping a regular diary would also allow you to see how your thinking has evolved over time – perhaps every experience taught you something
- Listen to music that makes you happy and reminds of good moments you want to cherish
- Look through old photos, mentally go back in time and try recalling what you felt when the picture was taken – what were the fears, the concerns, the troubles then? For example, now that I know what happened after the picture was taken, I can tell that all my worries were ill-founded and I shouldn’t have spent so much time getting anxious about things that do not matter anymore
- Keep a list of good things you do for others until it becomes a habit to help people without a second thought
- Create a roadmap of the special events and milestones in your life that helped you grow as a person
- Keep a notebook where you will record your thoughts, ideas and quotes that motivate you or make you smile. This notebook will help you keep your thoughts organised. I can’t tell you how many times I had amazing ideas and they were lost because I did not have a notebook to write them down. My first manager taught me this trick – to always write ideas down at the end of the notebook. Some ideas come to you at a wrong time or maybe the conditions are not right at the time – but it does not mean that your ideas are bad or that they couldn’t have worked later.
- Walk around and think what things around you steal your mental energy. Those are the things that you think you should have done when you go to sleep – that’s when you suddenly remember how you wanted to organize your closet or sort the photos on the computer. One woman I worked with told me that she created this kind of list of all the things she wanted to do and placed it on the fridge. Now, every time she has 10 free minutes or more, she goes back to the fridge and sees what she can work on/fix to remove it from the list.
- Be the change you want to see in the world! Yesterday I learned that one of the women I worked with suffered through a tragedy and lost her brother to illness and doctors’ negligence. In the beginning she wanted to sue the doctors but her mother told her to direct her energy to making a difference – after all, winning the case would not bring her brother back, but her energy could be invested in helping others. While he was sick she spent about a year looking after him and noticed a lot of gaps – from the quality of food that was provided to terminally ill people, to the quality of service, lack of emotional support or empathy from medical personal as well as no support or help with the kids. Being an immigrant herself, she founded a not-for-profit organisation where they cook traditional Indian food, send volunteers to help around the house and babysit kids while ill people, most of them from poor immigrant families are going for treatment. The ill people often do not know anyone in Canada and do not have their families here to help them. What this woman is doing is the example of amazing kindness and a big heart. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to change the way we look at things but there is always something good that one can bring to the world.