How To Be Optimistic, But Not Annoying

Do you want to know how to be optimistic, but not be annoyingly so? I meet with people in a very intimate space. They show me their hearts, share with me things they do not tell anyone else. It is truly an honor and privilege to be invited into another life in this way. I am so happy doing what I do.

“I love my job, I get to show people how wonderful they are all day long!”

I am optimistically optimistic

If you have been following my blog, you might have pegged me as optimistic. Well, you nailed that one on the head. Perhaps it is one of the benefits of my profession. People always wonder how I could hear other peoples’ problems all day long. “Well,” I tell them. “I listen for how they resist them and I am inspired and uplifted rather than bogged down.”

Here is my secret on how to be optimistic: I operate under the assumption that no matter what oppresses people, they enact some resistance somewhere, even if it is in their mind. We hear a story the way we experience the world. I hear the resistance, the skills, and the hope. And then I hold up a mirror for my clients to see it, too. This instigates an immediate change in their perceptions and feelings. And it is not annoying. (Maybe they are just being polite.)

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I also get to see people in many stages of their problem. Some just days after experiencing a tragic loss, and others many years later.  I have seen people not comprehend how they could take another step and then experience peace about it somewhere down the line. Witness these transformation gives me faith that the next client can do it too. This hope is contagious. I catch it from someone feeling better who is standing strong for what she believes in. The next person I meet catches it from me. I have confidence in them and in turn they find it for themselves. (Having confidence helps people through hard times.)

This would be annoying

It would only be annoying, if I didn’t take them along with me. If I barely listened, nor allowed their pain, playing devils advocate and invalidating them. This would be annoying, hurtful, and mean.

Optimism is seeing the good in a situation. It is an attitude. There is always so many things to notice in a situation, if you are saturated in a problem, it is hard to see anything but the problem.  A good friend, a partner, a loving relative, a coach, a therapist, or a spiritual director, etc, can help you get some distance to see good things about yourself despite the bad.

How to be optimistic

Optimism is not just a way you are born. You can develop optimism! To hone these skills, everyday, think of things you are grateful for. Big and small. After a few weeks of doing this, you will see that throughout the day, you’ll begin to notice ever more things that are good around you. Instead of depressing things sticking out like sore thumbs, the good, happy things will stand out. Eventually you won’t be able to hear any hard story without noticing something redeeming–something loving in it. Then–the best part comes–you’ll stop being so scared of the bad things that might happen. You’ll stop expecting the worst and begin accepting the good with the bad.

Try it and tell me about it!

Please share!

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32 thoughts on “How To Be Optimistic, But Not Annoying”

  1. I wonder if this is why I usually take the “I can laugh or I can cry” approach when something goes wrong. I usually convince myself to laugh, especially if it’s something I don’t feel I can control because at least I CAN control my reaction.
    Kelly Hashway recently posted..Announcement!!My Profile

  2. Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer

    Wonderfully explained Jodi!

    Yes indeed, optimism is an attitude – and a positive one. 🙂

    It is what I most connect with as I prefer seeing the good in things around me, even when I know they aren’t all that good. But just as they say, there is always a good in everything. So, if we have that kind of a mindset, we will always remain optimistic and see the positives, rather than the negatives.

    Thanks for sharing and making all of us realize to be optimistic. 🙂

    1. It is important to distinguish that it is not about sugar coating, just about seeing both! great point. Thanks for sharing Harleena!

    1. It is always easier to see someone else’s life. In our life we are too close. So that is why we must try to take a step back. the view is always different!

  3. Good post Jodi

    I always try and be positive in what I do and I firmly believe that irrespective of how something turns out be it good or bad I can always learn something from the experience.

    People who seem to think negative of whatever they do or plan to do annoy me it is a deftest attitude and that’s not me and not how I do business.

  4. I think this paragraph is most key:

    “It would only be annoying, if I didn’t take them along with me. If I barely listened, nor allowed their pain, playing devils advocate and invalidating them. This would be annoying, hurtful, and mean.”

    It’s a tricky balance. When we are feeling hopeless, we need the optimism of others to get us through until we can find our own hope. At the same time, we need validation of our feelings…and boy oh boy, when we get that, how quickly our troubles can melt away!
    Nadine Feldman recently posted..Taking a Blog BreakMy Profile

    1. Too true. I feel like validation and acknowledgment is one of the most important ways to healing. We can even do this for ourselves, but it is nice when it is from someone else, too!

    1. It is a delicate balance, but all of life is. We are walking contradictions, but it is in those contradiction that life is lived!

  5. Jodi, in a way, you’re preaching to the choir. Perhaps, I got it from watching the Pollyanna film one too many times. But I just love the Glad Game she’d play, which was just that. She’d take the meanest grumpiest people in town and turn them into kind-hearted individuals simply by asking them to look for reasons to be glad. Sappy as it is, maybe, I’m a Pollyanna at heart. 😉
    Monica recently posted..The Hills are Alive!My Profile

  6. My dear Jodi, only you can talk about optimism in such a way that you have your readers mentally picturing all the things they are grateful for and discovering they can be optimistic almost instantly! What an insightful post, my friend. I will confess that while I tend to be quite optimistic, this hasn’t always been the case. In the past, I have caved to uncertainty, guilt, and worry. These have negated the possibility of seeing the glass half full. Thankfully, aging has brought with it maturity (if that isn’t optimism, I don’t know what is! hee hee!) and I have realized that life doesn’t come to an end when I don’t get my way. This in turn has helped me realize that there is more of the lesson that needs to be learned. It’s good to be back! I have missed you! 🙂
    Bella recently posted..Why is it so hard to say goodbye?My Profile

  7. This post…talk about shifting my perception. Early in life, I always looked at the glass half-empty because I was convinced that I was also half-empty. Later, I learned to see the glass as half-full because I “needed” to be more positive.

    After some years as an engineer, I learned to see the glass as 2x bigger than it “needed” to be.

    And after 10 seconds looking at the picture on your post…I learn the glass was full the whole time. As if that’s not enough, reading the post several times to make sure I’m not missing something in the elegant simplicity…

    …I am grateful for your insights Jodi. I think this is one I “needed”.
    Greg at Tiny Bit Better recently posted..A Tiny Bit More ReleasyMy Profile

    1. Greg, You bring up a good point about seeing yourself as half empty. We do see the world as a reflection of ourselves. We judge harsher, when we judge ourselves harsher. We fear fear when we are afraid of ourselves.

  8. I love that you saying optimism is something that can be cultivated. For too long we thought that people were either optimists or pessimists. But now we know how we can choose to be either. Optimism is truly a habit – and one we should acquire for life, Jodi!

  9. I love this post! One of the big blocks we put up against our own joy is the idea that we shouldn’t be happy (or optimistic) when people around us are not. But you have described the nature of true optimism. It is not isolating, it is connecting. It connects us through compassion and allows us to offer the healing light that shines through us to others. It is a balm, not a bludgeon! Well said, my friend.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Welcome to The Joy Book Club!My Profile

  10. Great piece, and love Galen’s comment as well. I practice ‘the pivot,’ so that when I have awareness of a sub-optimal thought or approach, I try to turn it around. I think of myself as an optimist, but everybody has their down days, and so sometimes those just have to come and go, too.
    Laura Zera recently posted..Don’t Be a Walt WawraMy Profile

  11. I was reading again all the latest posts. I think this one is my favorite. I’m not optimistic, and not very pessimisict, but I have always admired optimistic persons who can see something good through any bad situation. There is absolutely nothing annoying about it. It’s the opposite. The persons that might be annoying are those who completely ignore the bad side of life and act as it is not real. It annoys me when someone tries to tell me that i shouldn’t feel hurt, I shouldn’t worry or be scared. Everything has a positive side. Being a positive person is to manage and find something nice in any painful situation, not by denying the negative.
    Nikky44 recently posted..I died at the age of 44My Profile

    1. Thanks Nikky, I agree. Acting if the bad side is not happening is the annoying part! Life is multistoried, it has all kinds of sides, we live more fully when we see the many sides! xoxox

  12. Solid gold creativity

    Great points about optimism and how it’s received.

    I think there’s a confusion in this area about being “positive”. Some people have it that it’s about putting a spin on something, kind of like plastering on a happy face, that it’s by definition phoney. And this is what can annoy people.

    I think it comes of conflating “what we feel” with “what we be”.

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