I have been an eternal optimist all my life It started as a little girl growing up on a tobacco farm wild and free with an adventurous soul.
You see, growing up as an only child I had zero outside influences from anyone other than my parents for the most part. And yes, I longed for a brother or sister to play with so I didn't feel so all alone, but I wouldn't trade it for a million bucks.
What are outside-influences?
Have you ever had what you thought was an incredible or wonderful idea? Maybe it was for a new business venture, a big dream for your life, or just a different way of doing something? Imagine for just a moment (with your eyes closed after reading this next guidance) how it felt. How did it feel to be so fired up with inspiration and motivation that YOU came up with this idea?
Now open your eyes and ask yourself these next questions:
Have you ever shared your wonderful ideas only to be met with judgment or opinion?
Have you shared ideas with someone only to be told that they were horrible or unattainable?
How did it feel? How DOES it feel right now? Most of us can think of at least one example where the above was true and if I am, to be honest, it feels soul-shattering. You begin to question yourself, your divinity, your amazing-ness, and of course.. your ideas and dreams.
How were your outside influences? How are they NOW?
Who are the nay-sayers in your life? Can you identify them?
I was lucky. I had influences that supported me, allowed me to write, create, ride my horses, play with my animals, ride my bike all day long all over the farm so that I could be wild, free, and curious. My parents were eternal optimists. Hard-working, immigrants from Holland who shared labor and love. If my Dad was out irrigating the fields at all hours of the night, my Mom made sure the coffee was fresh and hot, that she was taking care of me, and stepping up whenever she needed to support the team.
When my Mom was busy cooking or running errands, my Dad would take me to the fields, show me how to work the tobacco, from delicate little seedling to strong tall towering-over-me plant.
But it wasn't just about this.. it was about the examples that were set - and I watched them observantly.
My parents didn't just tell me that hard work was important - they SHOWED me. Not only did I have two parents who were happy, healthy, and worked as a team together, but I also had ones who showed me too.
I can remember waking up in the morning, and smelling fresh coffee in the basement of our farmhouse. The basement was this really cool, (literally) area where we had a massive harvest table, a kitchen, cellar, fridge, freezer, and lots of laughs.
The gang or crew as we called them, would gather twice a day here to enjoy my Mom's cooking. That's where my love of cooking for lots of people started. She was up at the crack of crazy-making coffee in a huge urn, frying eggs, bacon, toasting bread, and providing for 12 + people - and this was just breakfast. We had so much fun, lots of great chats, laughs, and together-ness with our crew. Mostly from Holland, a few Canadians - but it didn't matter -we felt like family.
I saw how happy my Mom was seeing everyone enjoy, fuel up, and appreciate what she had provided. Although I always tried to sneak off when it was time for dish-cleaning, I loved seeing my Mom cook in our little basement area, with happiness all around us.
And you know what? She never complained. She always choose the positive, she always had a solution. She took action and she never let things get her down.
It's important at this point to let you know that my parents were not just some rich Dutch immigrants who decided to travel to Canada for a new and exciting farm-life. Nope - quite the opposite actually.
My parents grew up in the war ( WWII) every night they went to bed hearing bombs, guns, army tanks, and my Dad had to share his farm with British and Canadian soldiers, sharing their livestock and milk/eggs, etc as barter or bribe - just to keep the family safe. They barely had enough to eat and in those days, Dutch families were at least a pack of 10. ( big, farming families, anyway) My Dad's Dad (Opa) was captured in a concentration camp leaving him to die before they were freed by Canadians.
My Mom's Dad had to burn bridges and buildings of his colleagues and friends, in his own town just to keep his family and community safe. They salvaged everything, making use and reuse of anything that they could while they survived through.
When my Mom met my Dad years later, they tried having children. They had immigrated from Holland to Canada after they were married, and my Mom was completely alone - no family insight. Everyone was in Holland except for one sister-in-law here in Canada.
Imagine how that must have felt. Trying to make a family in a new country, on a farm, all alone. Scary comes to mind.
My Mom had a handful of miscarriages. Despite everything, she just couldn't conceive. I"m sure the pressure was on her - she came from a huge family and wanted the same for them. But, it just wasn't working.
Along came me, years later in her late 30's. No - she didn't carry me inside of her - she carried me in her heart. I was adopted in 1981, and have been blessed ever since.
I've seen the hard work and teamwork that is needed in life. I've seen my family's ENTIRE crop (and source of income) due to hail or insect infestation. Yet, they forged on.
I'm much the same. And yeah, I've had my share of darkness let me tell you! However, the eternal optimist in me tells me that despite that darkness, there is always light.
So how can you become an eternal optimist? It's not too late - no matter what age you are. The BIG question is: Do you WANT to change your thoughts and change your life?
Daily gratitude - have a wipe-off board, piece of paper, chalkboard and every day write down what you are grateful for.
Create an intention every day - when you are in the shower or sipping your morning coffee, create an intention for the day. " Though the worst may come before me, I will not allow my light to dim" ( as an example)
Surround yourself with positive influence - this may mean shaving a few (or a lot of) people out of your life. Are you ready for this?
Create goals and dreams and continue to work with them, and on them every day. EVEN if you just think about them - this is planting a seed within the depths of the Universe, and it WILL grow!
Fuel your mind, body, and soul - yoga, meditate, exercise, get physical, and create a healthy home for you to live in.
Explore and adventure - sharpen your child-like-wonder. Be curious, and train your brain to see the beauty wherever you go, wherever you are - because it is EVERYWHERE!
Dream! Daydream, create big dreams, envision the life you truly want, and imagine in your mind that you are living that dream. What are you wearing, what are you doing, who is with you, what colors and items do you see? Do this often. It's free.
Journal, write or scribble - and do a pro and con list for any situation. The con side will be what's up, what's showing up, what's bothering you or challenging, and the pros will be a positive solution or healthy action to counteract it. It works.
Check-in with your childhood. What stories are you continuing to believe? What stories do you actually WANT to believe now?
Practice. Every day, training your thoughts. Have a negative or hurtful thought - try to extract why it's happening, and how you can manage and thrive through it.