By Loraine Debnam
We were discussing our plans and goals for the upcoming year when my daughter remarked I truly was a possibilitarian.
It was a term I had not heard before and questioned the source.
She told me it came from the writings of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. This author, minister (and founder of Guideposts magazine, which is non-denominational and inspirational) passed away nearly a quarter century ago but his philosophy continues to inspire new generations.
His book, “The Power of Positive Thinking” was written in 1952 and stayed on the best seller list for 186 weeks. Statistics reveal it has sold over five-million copies and has been translated into fifteen different languages.
My daughter’s reference was to his message, “no matter how dark things seem to be, or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities, always see them, for they are always there.”
I believe that and try to think that way, but it’s certainly not always easy.
My dictionary says a possibility is something that has the potential for favourable or interesting results, that it represents good future prospects and it presents a good outlook for opportunities yet to come.
I have a friend whose mantra seems to be, “it is what it is” but that implies nothing can be done to change the circumstance or issue. That is unacceptable to me, since that attitude guarantees the problem or difficulty will never be solved or fixed.
Even though there may be challenges we did not create or things that happen which are beyond our control, it is how we respond that fuels, nourishes and sustains a healthy attitude. Thinking positively takes practice and courage. Allowing your thoughts to be manipulated can be toxic.
It has been my experience noxious attitudes occur in a variety of places.
Firstly, the things we observe, read or hear (especially gossip) can influence our thoughts in negative ways. Do we really want a 60-second news clip, a headline on a tabloid magazine or an overheard conversation to define what is real for us? Can we let them disrupt our balance and destroy our centre of gravity with their “spin”?
People can do that to us as well, I have found. The expectations of others may cause us to erect emotional walls of protection because we are captive to their vision of how things ought to be.
Even though we may love them dearly, their judgmental, critical or close-minded attitudes cannot be allowed to divert us from who we really are, rather than what they think we are (or should be).
These individuals are not supportive or positive — too often the result is old patterns of responding or old self-imposed guilt being resurrected.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with asking for help when problems seem to be overwhelming but we have to be courageous in tangible ways, so we remain empowered when we are seeking more affirmative outcomes.
We all have grey spaces or days in our lives, but positive actions and deeds help us to change the focus and move forward.
Changes happen one choice at a time.
We have to believe there are options which hold promise and potential. If we change our approach or perspective, I am certain there are always possibilities.