The Paw Print

Being raised an optimist

Olivia Price, Staff Writer

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“Think about the glass half full, not half empty”

This a familiar phrase in my life. It has more meaning to me than just being one of those things you say. It is a phrase I constantly heard growing up. Often I was encouraged to have a “half full” outlook on life. I credit my parents mostly for engraining optimism in me, but it wasn’t just them. I had to (and still have to)choose every day to be an optimist.

To be totally honest, there was a period in my life that I got kind of annoyed at the word. I know, it sounds kind of ridiculous to be frustrated with positivity. I guess it wasn’t that I was frustrated with positivity, it was more that I was frustrated at not getting sympathy. When I would complain, my family would say back that I needed to keep a good attitude, and that I was being kind of negative.

I remember one time I had just come home from school, and I was talking to my mom. I was complaining, and kind of acting like a brat. So my mom said to me in the most loving way possible that I was being really negative. Obviously, I didn’t take it as her trying to help me because I was too busy whining about my issues. I was actually kind of offended.I was thinking, “Wait something awful just happened, where is my sympathy?”

But the truth is, what I needed was different than what I wanted.

I wanted sympathy and justification for my wallowing in self pity. What I needed though was just what my parents gave me: a reminder of how minuscule this problem actually was in the grand scheme of things. I needed a push to get up and do something about my problems, not just sit there and wish for a solution. I needed to be reminded that life is still good, and I need to move on.

Sometimes it’s really easy for me get caught up in negative things, especially if they just pile on top of one another. I don’t know why it’s my natural instinct to focus on the negative, maybe it’s the part of me that wants to draw attention to myself. Maybe I connected complaining and negativity with sympathy and attention. Throughout my life I‘ve had to work every day to fight that tendency. I’ve had to learn that when I’m positive and encouraging, I may not get immediate attention. But in the long run I’ll get a more positive attention. I’ll also get a happier life.

What my parents taught me though is to keep my head up. They taught that even though life can be painful, there is always good. And the key to getting through the hard things, even just everyday life, is focusing on those good things. There is always gonna be another day, and another reason to smile.

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