Optimism Is A Happiness Magnet

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Friends, I'm learning what it means to be optimistic.

It doesn't always mean looking on the bright side. It doesn't always mean being able to discern a silver lining, however small. It doesn't always mean that your glass is half empty...or however that phrase goes.

It means having joy.

Usually, I am a self-proclaimed realist and I thrive on practicality, organization and structure.  But if all I can see is what's right in front of me, then I am missing the opportunity to cultivate a worldview of joyfulness, an attitude of thankfulness.

As we head into the holiday season, I am going to be continuing to share things I'm thankful for and I would encourage you to do the same.

1. Time spent with my wonderful mother!

I had someone ask if we were sisters. I'm not kidding. She is such a blessing in my life, always pointing me towards Christ with humble leadership, living out an example of what it means to be a woman of noble character.  I was so thankful to have her join me for Parents Weekend here in Chicago!



2. The chance to spend my summer in England.

I am thrilled to announce that I will have the opportunity to study abroad in Britain next summer! We will be spending time in London, Cambridge, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Stonehenge and all across the English countryside.  Studying Shakespeare and Jane Austen in England is definitely a dream come true for any writer.



3. Coffee. (But seriously.)

I don't think I could survive college without my two cups a day. Especially this week with exams flying around before the holidays. I savor the times I get to spend in my favorite indie coffee shop with a good novel and latte, or the warm sense of community that comes with sharing coffee with friends.



4. Small surprises that make my day.

Like that time I went to my mail box and had a package from Taylor Swift's record label in Nashville with a copy of her new album 1989. It's cool to have networking connections. And thanks to that small little package, we now have regular dance parties on our floor to de-stress. It's a lifesaver. 




5. The sweet gift of sisterhood.

I have been so thankful to room with these dear girls who are so loving.  From heartfelt conversations over tea to crazy photoshoots and adventures, my roommates continue to make such an impression on my life. 


Optimism doesn't equal happiness. But if you're joyful, chances are you're more inclined be positive and content, which I believe leads to happiness.  Being happy means being satisfied where you are, feeling confident and showing a sense of thankful pleasure.  Optimism, therefore, is like a happiness magnet.  If you are hopeful and joyful, then not only will you attract similar people but you'll attract a sort of peace and cheer that few have.  Just imagine what our world could be like if we all strove to apply joy!

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

-Ciera

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12 comments

  1. Very true. Too many people confuse happiness with joy, but it's important to know the difference. I always say, "Happiness is a feeling. Joyfulness is an editing quality wothin your heart."
    Congratulations on getting to study abroad next summer! That's so awesome. I love Jane Austen. I also love coffee... ;)
    I'm thankful for so many things, but the first things that came to my mind were my writing, my boyfriend, and the revelations God's given me lately.

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    1. Absolutely. I love that quote about joyfulness is an editing quality. That's so true! Thanks for sharing. :)

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    2. Lol. Well, I meant to say "enduring" quality, but my phone apparently corrected it...

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    3. Oh...haha that makes more sense! I thought you were speaking metaphorically about "editing" your reaction to things. Well, either way it was a great point!

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  2. So true! It reminds me of a tough time I went through a couple years ago, and I made what seemed like such a small lifestyle change to help pull myself out of it. Now I don't go a single day without thinking of one thing I'm grateful for before I go to bed. Practicing gratitude every day can work wonders on your attitude as well as your outlook on life.

    Congrats on the study abroad opportunity! That should be absolutely AMAZING, especially since it's England. I may not be in college anymore, but don't mind me saying I'm a teensy bit jealous. ;)

    I'm thankful for a lot of things this holiday season, so it's hard to pick one thing. But if I had to type up tonight's gratitude exercise, I'd say... I'm grateful for having a warm place to live and sleep.

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    1. I feel quite the same. Recently, I was going through a rough patch with a lot of personal conflict and I felt justified in my bitterness - but only once I started trying to align my heart in a posture of thankfulness did I begin to feel the joy again. And it's so freeing!

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  3. I know what you mean, I'm generally a pessimist, which only brings me and others around me down :/ Definitely love this, though. It's a nice reminder, especially during the holiday season. I really need to focus on the happier moments. Studying abroad in Britain is my dream! Hope you get to go and have a blast :D

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    1. I'm so excited! Thanks! And I totally understand what you mean. I think we could all use the reminder every now and then to be joyful. :)

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  4. The theologian Karl Barth did some great thinking on the matter of joy. The essence of his view was that joy does not require a denial of our real circumstances. Rather is is "a defiant 'Nevertheless'!" in the midst of them. It is our response to the reality of the Gospel - that regardless of the now, we will go "further up and further in".

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    1. I love that way of putting it, that it does not require denial. Our pain is still legitimate and a situation can still be trying, but we are called to summon up that defiant "nevertheless" only through strength in Christ. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  5. Good for you! I'm an eternal optimist myself, but I struggle with the joy thing lately. That is so cool that you get to live in England!

    I'm thankful for my family. That means something different this year, but it's still true. I'm thankful for all of the time we get to spend together.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Molly! This is something I have really needed to be reminded of recently - I find that I sometimes write things that I need to be told. And I feel so thankful for my family, too, especially now that I'm living away from home at college!

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