Monday, November 15, 2010

Optimism in the Face of Fear

I've been in Vancouver for a week now and the experience here has not been the most pleasant one that I have ever had. My friend has been released from hospital and the transition back into the world after an 8 week stay in hospital has been a challenging one.

For myself, I have had to learn to detach and to not take things personally. When people are in pain and in fear, it is easy to fall into the same space. My challenge this week has been to remain optimistic in the face of what looks like insurmountable odds. Stepping back and being the observer I can see how the breakdown of relationships is one of the first things to happen when a person becomes seriously ill.

It is extremely difficult to remain civil, kind and reasonable when your body is wracked in pain and fear is your constant companion. Who wants to stick around or remain present in the face of the behaviour that results from this environment? In my observation, not many people can stick this one out.

Maturity is a progression of moving from dependence to independence – we all aspire to be that strong independent person who can do anything and maintain their equilibrium even when times are tough. There is a snag though with independence and I have seen it this past week with my friend; it keeps people at bay while maintaining the illusion to oneself that things under control.

It turns out that independence is not as important as being dependable. Who do I need to be dependable to –yes, once again myself. I need to be able to depend on me to do what needs to be done to maintain me as a viable entity. That means asking for help when I can no longer cope and doing it before it is a life threatening emergency.

Optimism is an attitude that is worth cultivating every minute of the day. For me, I know that as soon as I surrender to fear and defeatism, my life starts to spiral downward. It takes work to remain optimistic; it doesn't just happen by itself. It is, however, worth the effort. My feelings of health and well being depend on me keeping my spirits up.

Optimism is an attitude of hope and the anti-dote to fear.

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