Shake Pessimism Off

It's so easy to be happy when things are going well in your life. But it's much easier to be negative when life gets challenging. While there are those who are gifted with optimism, not everyone is as blessed. I, for one, have always struggled with maintaining a positive outlook when things get a bit rough. Changing my mindset during trying times always calls for deliberate effort on my part.

I remember when I was younger I posted a motivational quote in my room that reads: "Life is a matter of perspective. It's either you complain because roses have thorns or you rejoice because thorns have roses." Posting the quote and wanting to live by optimism weren't enough to stop me from complaining about the thorns. Often, I unconsciously, almost automatically, worry when something doesn't go the way I want it.

Disappointments and failures usually place me in the pit of despair. Today, I revisited the dreaded pit. Fortunately, the visit was brief, thanks to the Facebook application God Wants You to Know and Kerwin Rae's inspirational post that I came across.
It's fascinating how this application sends me the messages I need at the right time and circumstances. God indeed works in mysterious ways.
God's message for me today reminded me that although there are things that are beyond my control, my emotions, thoughts, and mood can be not among those if I choose so. 

A very beautiful story shared by Kerwin Rae (an international speaker) on his Facebook page contributed another dose of optimism.
One day, a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

All of us have our own hopeless moments in the well.

At present, the well that I need to step up from is law school. Every single day, all kinds of dirt are thrown at me. The dirt comes in the form of readings, cases, case digests, recitations, exams, frightful professors, limited time. These things might appear trivial for some, especially those unfamiliar with the demanding design of law school. I can't blame them because how can obtaining a passing grade compete with fighting for your country in war, for example. Nevertheless, I still believe that law school is important, at least for me, because it does a very good job in forming one's character.

The worst dirt that I deal with is actually thrown by me; it includes my doubts, fears, hesitations, and self-defeating thoughts. From the time my alarm rings in the morning up to my bedtime, I'm in this constant battle with my myself -- to wake up or to snooze my alarm, to continue reading or to give in to my tired eyes, to go to class or not, to study or to sleep, to believe in or to doubt myself, to keep on fighting or to give up. For every positive thought, a voice in my head contradicts. Because I have a record of giving in to the negative pull, I often doubt my ability to improve and sustain the improvement. By thinking that way, I'm not doing myself a favor. Actually, I'm getting in my own way. I need to shake every bit of pessimism I have if I desire to get out of this well emotionally and psychologically intact.

I can do it. I just need to believe in my abilities and persevere. Mindset is very powerful. Self-defeating thoughts must have no place in my life but under my feet; I've let them long enough to negatively impact the way I treat and carry myself. Challenges exist not to damage us but to strengthen and mold us so that we may reach our full potential. From now on, I will welcome the challenges and derive motivation from them.

I'm through tormenting my mind with worry; I'm done depreciating my self-esteem. I'm just gonna shake pessimism off my life, as hard as possible! 

P.S. I've been singing to Taylor Swift's fun tune Shake It Off for some extra good vibes. Here's her equally fun music video:

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