I know people frequently lament that the good old days are gone, and I feel that way a lot of times and about a lot of things. On the other hand, I do love the way new words are constantly being coined and new concepts are being recognized and named.
For example, I just found out that I have a “girl crush”. I have to believe this is a relatively new name. It has nothing to do with a first crush or puppy love or anything like that. One definition I found said, “Girl crushes are when you admire or envy some quality about another female.”
So let me tell you about my girl crush. Her name is Kate Bowler, and she wrote a book called Good Enough. It is funny, poignant, insightful, profound, and down-to-earth all at the same time. The author is an associate professor of the history of Christianity at Duke Divinity School, and her credentials and accomplishments only go on from there. And while all of those things are very impressive, it’s not what I admire most or am drawn to.
I signed up for the emails and short videos she sends out periodically, and at the top, right under her name it says:
Author. Professor. Incurable Optimist.
And there it is. Incurable Optimist. That is the intangible quality that draws me to her work. Well, in actuality there are two reasons within that one. First, the fact that she is an optimist; it is such an amazing quality to have and to share with a world that desperately needs more. But second, that she owns it. She states it. She doesn’t hem-haw around, “Well, I TRY to be optimistic when I can.” In fact, Bowler doesn’t even just say “Optimist”. She declares INCURABLE OPTIMIST. I Love it.
Psychology Today claims that optimists have better pain management, improved immune and cardiovascular function; it helps mitigate the negative effects of physical illness and helps find meaning in adversity which in turn makes us more resilient. Amazing benefits from a mere mindset.
So that means we need to be careful about what we expose ourselves to. Several friends of mine have aging parents who have begun to spend their days watching the news. And while staying informed is a very admirable quality, constant absorption of all that negativity can be detrimental to our outlook.
Paul and I have recently started watching the world news every night, and we noticed that of the 30-minute-program, 8 minutes are commercials. Of the 22 minutes devoted to news, twenty minutes are devoted to war, plague, natural disasters and violence. It is all nicely capped off with a 2-minute-segment devoted to something pleasant to balance it out. Not exactly filling the well with positivity.
To counterbalance this deluge of negativity I signed up for NiceNews.com. I get an email each morning with several news stories. And while it does talk about climate change, it focuses on the new strides being made in solar energy conservation; while talking about the war, it focuses on the strength and resilience of people who are making good things happen DESPITE the war. It’s a revolutionary way of keeping up with what’s going on but looking at the bright side.
Activist Peace Pilgrim may have said it best when she said, “If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”
The newest incurable optimist!