Almost everybody would surely agree that being an optimist and having a positive outlook results in a much happier person than a person who is pessimistic. But saying we should be positive is often much easier said than done.
Often we cannot change our circumstances, but we do control how we interpret them (think positive) and how we react to them. We sometimes have control or responsibility over our circumstances and other times we do not. And often we confuse which is the cause and which is the effect – did the chicken or the egg come first? For example, when a person is successful in school or business and has a high self esteem, are they successful because they have high self esteem? Or do they have high self esteem because they are successful? Does an alcoholic drink because he hates himself, or does he hate himself because he drinks?
The self esteem, or lack thereof, and self hate, are related to the circumstances, but the thing that has one hundred percent control over them are the person’s thoughts. The proper thoughts and interpretation of circumstances leads to behaviors that reinforce the positive and guide positive actions.
There is the idea that our thoughts come from our heart. So when we say we want to follow our heart, we have to be careful to pick the thoughts that are on a positive path to follow. Proverbs 4:23 says Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. We should indeed guard our hearts, especially the part consisting of our thoughts.
One specific action my wife and I are taking is to read some positive affirmations every morning and every night. This month they are based on the first (of seven) decision from the book The Traveler’s Gift, and the companion book Mastering the Seven Decisions. I talked about these books here and here. How will you guard your heart and interpret and react positively to your circumstances?