I’m a complete optimist. Inherently, I believe that everything will always work out for the best, tough times will always transition to better days, and hard work and intelligent planning will always lead to success. I credit my glass-half-full way of thinking to both a natural personality trait and my even more optimistic mother. Call her a Pollyanna; I’ll take her rainbows and sunshine way of thinking any day.
Somehow, however, I ended up marrying and creating two children with a total pessimist, the kind of guy who sees clouds coming in (literally and figuratively) and assumes hailstorms and tornadoes are sure to follow. While we’ll probably never have the same reaction to a given situation (you’ll often find me trying to convince him that everything’s going to be fine while he argues that it most certainly will not be), we do agree on one thing: we both hope our children inherit my all’s-good outlook. If you similarly want to raise hopeful little optimists, especially given the often pessimistic nature of the world, here’s how to start.
- Stop complaining, and focus on the positive. If your children constantly hear you talking about all the negative things that happened during your day, it’s more likely that they’ll also focus on the bad things in their own lives. Instead, lead with the best parts of your day, and they’ll learn to give those positive experiences more mental weight as well.
- Work on eliminating absolutes from your vocabulary. Pessimism stems from thinking things are always going to go wrong, and using phrases like “I can never get that right” or “I always mess up” reinforces that thinking. Instead, work on replacing absolutes with “sometimes,” which suggests the potential for future success.
– Katharine Stahl
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