Being Positive in Good Times and Bad Times
By Remez Sasson
Though there is so much talk about positive thinking, few really understand what it is. Being positive doesn't mean ignoring what is happening around you and living within some kind of a "positive bubble".
You cannot expect someone going through problems or disasters, or living in difficult circumstances, to ignore his/her present condition and start thinking positively right away.
It is easier to think positively when in comfortable situations, but not when in the midst of problems, disasters or a harsh situation, unless you are trained.
Being positive, like any other skill, requires gradual development and training. No one can speak a new foreign language, before studying and practicing for some time. A person, who is not trained, cannot lift heavy barbells or run or swim like an athlete.
Saying that everything is going to be all right, smiling with no reason or ignoring problems and difficulties, without trying to solve them, is not being positive. It is being unpractical.
Positive people expect the best and believe that a bad situation would improve, but they are also practical people. They act, not just daydream. They look for opportunities and for solutions, instead of doing nothing and blaming everybody for their troubles. They don't dwell on their problems, live in self-pity and believe that they are victims.
When going through bad times, faced by disasters, misfortune or hardships, what good can one gain by becoming despondent, negative and unhappy? Why let circumstances and situations affect your moods and state of mind? Being positive will not make circumstances and condition disappear, as if by magic, but with a positive attitude you can improve the situation and be more in control of your state of mind, your reactions and your behavior.
You can keep thinking of the problems that you face and keep suffering, but you can also refuse to let circumstances affect your mind too much. You cannot always control external circumstances, but you can change your attitude and the way you feel.
It is not easy for people in difficult situations to think positively. This idea might not arise in their mind, but some are positive. Some do not let the events they go through affect their mind, and they are therefore happier and suffer less. Even people living at a survival level need some positive thinking, so they can improve their situation, even if only in a small measure.
Even in the midst of war people can think of peace. Even in the midst of disasters people can see light and seek solace. Positive thinking is being hopeful, and hope brings light and happiness into the soul. One can dwell in fear and negative expectations, but and one can also try to do the best under the circumstances. It is a matter of choice.