Posts Tagged ‘optimism’

“You can have it all, but not at the same time.” I’m not sure when I first heard that phrase but it’s stuck with me for years.

“You can have it all” being the main point I choose to focus on. Knowing that all of my goals may not come to fruition at once.

I’m an unapologetically optimistic person. And this year one of my goals is to do some research on optimistic. How to be optimistic. Why some of us are, some of us aren’t, and how practicing optimism could change our lives. So when Frost Bank reached out to see if I wanted to partner with them and share their Opt for Optimism initiative as well as some of how I put my optimism into action I nearly burst into tears at how fitting this partnership was.

Here’s the thing. Personally I think optimism is brave. These days it’s easier to be skeptical. To doubt that good things will come. To suppress belief. It takes courage to believe that better days are ahead.

Sometimes I think optimists get a bad rap. As if we’re walking around in some kind of fantasyland with blinders on, oblivious to reality. But I understand simply thinking good thoughts isn’t going to get me where I want to be. I also have to put in the work, and address any issues that may be in my way.

Being a positive person doesn’t mean I’m ignoring life’s stressors. I just try to approach hardships in a more productive way.

Dreams come true. How this selfie with Oprah came to be during Disney's A Wrinkle in Time Premiere

I attribute a lot of my success to optimistic techniques and hard work. From saving to put 51% down on our dream home, to meeting my idol. There was a lot of preparation, hard work, and positive thinking.

Frost Bank’s study found that optimists are 7Xs more likely to experience more financial health than pessimists. If that’s not motivation to give optimism a try I’m not sure what is. We are also more likely to take the taboo out of money discussions, and we tend to seek for progress rather than perfection.

Optimists generally view setbacks as temporary. They believe that if they take steps to fix the problem, they can improve their circumstances.

Whether you’re an optimist at heart, or wanting to give it a try, I think there are ways you cna act on optimism to uplift you from day to day. Here are five ways to put optimism in action.

How to be more optimistic

1. Look for the good

Sometimes when things are less than pleasant I try to find any silver lining in the situation, no matter how small. Or I reframe the scenario into a positive. This doesn’t work for every situation but it works wonders for my day to day gripes. When Lee Lee is having a rough day, and is acting cranky and clingy I remind myself how it felt these days would never end with my older two, yet they’re big kids now. And I hold on to the fact that though it’s a challenge in the moment, it’s just that… A moment.

2. Focus on solutions, not problems

When I get frustrated about something that’s bothering me I make it a point to state my frustration out loud. It’s my way of releasing it then transitioning to a mindset of looking for an appropriate solution. Try shifting your focus from solutions to problems you can solve, instead of clinging to ones you can’t.

Service is another excellent way to do this. Serving others and helping them solve a specific problem can help uplift your spirits as well.

3. Take a step toward improving your situation

Dreams don’t typically come true overnight. But we usually can do something each day to improve our situation ever so slightly, or step towards those goals. You don’t need to make great strides every day. But you know the saying: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

When we were saving for our home I tried to do a little something every day to work towards that goal. Whether it was making a more frugal choice, or putting in another hour of work.

4. Visualize where you want to be

I like to do this through meditation, picturing how I want my day to go, or visualizing a bigger picture of my goals. Like imagining my new home and yard long before it was built. I also have a vision board I keep displayed in my office so I have a visual reminder of the goals I’m (read here on how to make a vision board) working towards.

5. Express gratitude

When we have family prayers at night I just love hearing our children’s prayers filled with gratitude. They rarely ask for much but boy do they express all of the things they were thankful for that day.

This year we also started a family gratitude jar. We contribute to it whenever there’s something we’re especially grateful for in a moment. The idea is that we’ll take them all out and read them together at the end of the year.

Recognizing what you’re grateful for and noting it in some way, whether in a journal, prayer, or stating it out loud can improve your well-being, health and relationships. Even your income!

gratitude journal

Frost Bank believes optimism is a powerful tool you can use on the path toward better financial health. If you want to learn more about their project and ways you can use optimism to turn around your finances visit optinforoptimism.org.

As for me, I plan to continue to share my findings here on my blog as I delve into this topic all year. Feel free to shoot quotes, articles, stories, books and podcasts my way if you find something juicy.

“You can do anything.” I mumbled as I started out the car window in half a trance.

“What?” My husband asked.

“You can do anything. I really believe that. And I want our kids to know that.”

“Yes, well…” he started. I wanted to dare him to debate me. “You can do anything you’re good at,” he specified.

“There’s no need for conditions,” I insisted. “Anything is possible.”

My husband considers himself a realist, but sometimes I think he can be downright pessimistic. I, on the other hand, will proudly state my claim as an extreme optimist. I’m not sure if I was born that way, or if something triggered it growing up. My parents aren’t sure where it came from, and out of my four siblings and me, I’m by far the most assured.

My husband went on to say that no matter how good he was at basketball, he’d never have a shot in the NBA. Ok, at his age, he’s probably right. But I don’t think it would have been completely out of the question a decade ago had that been his goal his entire life. Either way, that’s an extreme example. But to a degree, still relevant.

Admittedly this isn’t always easy for me to stick to my claim. When my daughter was in kindergarten at public school they followed a 7 Mindsets Academy program. The kids were instructed to write down “everything is possible” and share their BIG dream of what they wanted to do when they grew up. My sweet five year old said she wanted to be a mermaid fairy princess. Imagine my plastered smile as I read that.

“Ooh, well, that’s nice…” I tried to hide my disappointment.

As parents we were encouraged to resist the urge to give our kids reality checks, no matter what their dream is. The idea is to not be a pessimist or doubt their dreams.

A couple years later her dreams have evolved, as has my ability to encourage her to keep dreaming bigger.

When we are kids we believe anything is obtainable. Our dreams are limitless. The window of possibilities is wide open. Then as the years go by, events change our vantage point. A classmate laughs at your artwork. Your crush shoots you down. A professor criticizes your work. Your parent tells you you’re not good enough. Each little loss pushes that window down bit by bit. By the time you finish college what you once saw as a big breezy window of opportunity only seems to be open half a foot. You don’t believe nearly as much is achievable and you’ve learned to play it safe.

The thing is that window is still the same size. We just don’t see it the way we used to. Imagine how much we could pull off if we let go of our fear of failure and jumped through the window, believing we could fly.

Teaching yourself to dream big, encouraging your children to dream big.

I recently wrote about one of my new big dreams. But something that’s been an ambition of mine for as long as I can remember is to bring people together. People who wouldn’t ordinarily find common ground. Bring them together to listen to and empathize with one another, and solve problems. Yea, ok I guess if I were to give this a name it would be a form of world peace. But it seems as though many of us have all but given up on that idea. I don’t want to let go just yet.

Are our children going to believe they can achieve anything if we don’t even believe in ourselves? When we dream big, they can dream bigger.

I look at my two sweet, beautiful brown children with eyes full of wonder and hope, and I pray that blissful optimism never leaves them.

I catch my reflection in the window of my car and I pray I never let go of mine.

Dream big so they can dream bigger than you.

Since my last post I’ve been out of words and full of tears. Happy tears because of the overwhelming amount of people who understand or want to understand. Sad tears because things haven’t gotten better. Not yet. But these sort of things take time.

So where do we go from here?

Collaborations are in the works. My cry for unity was met with a loud response from others wanting to help bridge a divide between law enforcement families and Black Lives Matter supporters. It’s a great start and we are going to do something. What exactly? I don’t know yet, but when this news cycle is over and gone know that we’ll still be working to make a difference.

We shouldn’t have to live with this fear.

Meanwhile, something awesomely crazy that’s happened over the last couple of months. I’ve had a renewed sense of clarity. So much clarity and so many answers to questions I’ve been praying about.

A producer from a religious television network reached out to me a few months back about presenting on a motivational speaking show. I was honored but completely caught off guard. Why me? What do I have to offer that could possibly inspire others?

After several conversations and lots of prayer I had a very clear message nailed down, something I was passionate about and could talk about at length, something I didn’t realize other’s struggled with: Compassion and positivity.

That opportunity didn’t wind up panning out but I can’t help but feel like that experience didn’t happen by chance. Even though the show didn’t happen, taking that time to hash out my passions and emotions on these topics, and discussing them with friends has me realize this is something I should explore more.

I joke about my extreme sense of optimism all of the time. I call myself a “hopelessly optimistic” but maybe it’s something we all need more of. Maybe it’s something I need to study and talk about.

I dismiss the fact that I try to find a middle ground in every argument as being a part of my time spent as a journalist, but maybe it’s just in my nature to strive for peace.

Bunmi Laditan is the woman behind Honest Toddler. She’s amazing and I’ve loved her from afar for years. Something she said in a recent Instagram post spoke to my heart:

“I want promise you this: I’m not going to hate you. I don’t care what color you are, how you vote, or what your occupation is. I’m not going to hate you. Hatred is not my destiny. It’s not my birthright. It’s not my portion. You can say bad things about me, hate me, even kill me, and I won’t hate you. Not because of who you are, but because of who I am.”

Because of who I am.

This is who I am.

Where do we go from here: Motherhood, parenting natural hair

I spend so much time introducing my kids to new topics and subjects. I’m constantly trying to see what may spark an interest or passion inside them. (It’s a huge reason I’m so excited to be diving into homeschooling.) But who knew I’d still be discovering these things about myself at 30 (well, actually many extraordinary people discover their life’s calling in their 30s and beyond).

There’s a picture hanging in our playroom–I bought it on a whim during one of my expensive visits to Hobby Lobby. It’s a canvas that says “Someday you will change the world.” As a mantra not only for my children, but our whole family… Or anyone else who sees it and feels inspired. My husband jokingly looks at it and says “For the better I hope…” Yes! For the better. Most definitely for the better! Let’s change the world for the better.

I’m a hopeless optimist but I don’t consider that a bad thing. It allows me to dream bigger dreams and believe they are possible. I want that for my children, for my friends, for you.

I’ve reorganized my blog to reflect this realization. Up at the top, instead of a dozen different ways to document family life, I’ve organized it down to a photography and video category. All of that lives under the Leave a Legacy section where I am excited to continue to share those tips and my photo series.

The other sections are as their names describe–meant to inspire action. To make a difference, whether in our children’s lives or our communities. Love the world through travel, nature, food, culture and study. Cherish the moments and milestones with our families. And leave a legacy our families will be proud of.

My blog has been through a LOT of changes in its eight year existence. From my journey towards motherhood to beginning motherhood, and now that I’m getting a grasp on my new role and duty as a woman raising two children who I hope will grow up to change the world… It seemed fitting I refocus my blog to aline with this mission I’m being so strongly pulled to.

So I hope you’ll join me as I continue to make memories with my babies but also work to make a difference with them, for them, for all of us.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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