pollyanna ideas

September 21, 2010

i love the quote by Sir Winston Churchill that “an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty and a pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity”.

as a self-confessed optimist, i always try to look at the brighter side of things..though there were times when reality bites (and stings hard too) but somehow bouncing back had always been at the forefront of my agenda..don’t get me wrong though as i had my share of really bad days to the point that i was lying on the floor in a fetal position wracking with tears over a major failure of a life goal..though i was back on my feet the next day.

how?

by simply thinking of all the blessings that i had in my life so far and how inconsequential my troubles are compared to the majority of the people in the world…some people do not even have food or  water or walk days to get it..others are lost in mind and spirit..most are living their lives in denial of the responsibilities they have..some people do not see the blessings that they have while others choose to waste their life away…indeed the way we live our lives lies mainly in our decision to simply be happy with what we have and striving to achieve what we want..

though it helps that i read a lot of inspiring quotes, poems and essays..

why?

because i choose to be happy.

i would rather focus on how i can make someone feel better about the things that are bothering him or her rather than wallow in misery with that person. it is a conscious decision that i make each day and most of the time i actually succeed at being happy inspite and despite everything that is going on right now.

We are sad and angered  too…and the fact that this seems to escape people who write hate mail against  Filipinos.Some people were killed in cold blood. It was one of the worst things that can happen to somebody else in a foreign land…to be killed by a complete stranger for such a petty cause. However, this event DOES NOT DEFINE who we are as a nation.

I am still proud to be a Filipino and feel pity for people who write articles against us. People like those who write such articles are know-it-alls who were not raised in the Philippines.

They have no idea how hard it is to struggle over poverty, fight government corruption in your day-to-day transactions, deal with natural calamities, provide for your family, and try to have the best life has to offer, all with the resiliency of the Filipino spirit. They did not have to grow up with three hundred years history of Spanish, Japanese, and American oppression. Their culture did not give them the opportunity to rise over every adversity life can imagine to throw to my 90 million countrymen all over the world. They did not need to undo hundreds of years of brainwashing, that we are good-for-nothing, even unable to manage our own country.

BUT, they do not have the indomitable nature of each Filipino who still manages to smile, to be cheerful in each mundane task.

Regardless of race, people are innately good and it takes a combination of factors to turn into an evil person. Yes, we are the ones who clean your house, clean your toilets, take care of your children and parents in their old age. Yes, we are the one who toil in silence in the hot and humid deserts, with a smile at the thought of our families back home in the Philippines. Yes, we are the smiling waitresses, bellboys, secretaries, and in every possible service-oriented job you can find.

Because Filipinos are caring, nurturing, and the most sympathetic people you may meet in your entire life. We are the ones who smile in spite and despite the MAJOR MAJOR problems we wake up to each day.

We are a land of happy people who go through several natural, physical, mental, psychological and spiritual typhoons a year…We go through life in spite and despite the realities we face because Filipinos are resilient, sweet, and good-natured regardless of status in life.

What one Filipino did and the failure of the few to rise up to a challenge, should not define the nameless millions, who make the world a better place every day in every way.

If people let their prejudice against us define who we are;  If all they see is idiocy and stupidity without doing anything to help improve the situation; If they see the mistakes but not the beauty of my country…then I pity them because they will never see how wonderful life is with the cheerful Filipino character in their midst. In and out of the Philippines, Filipinos provide the warmth and care the world needs..the positive attitude we all strive to achieve.

i had always been frugal..maybe not in the sense that there are really noticeable differences with my quality of life but somehow i reached a point where i thought: there has got to be more to life than acquiring “stuff”..be it tangible or not.

at the forefront of simple living is the mental state of the person. you have to identify at what point you can say that you have enough to satisfy your definition of “contentment” with what you have.  i came across several concepts that i really find interesting and will try some one of these days..for now, let me start by defining what is a “simple life” for me.

a simple life is one where your needs are met. knowing what you need is paramount.

after basic necessities, then it is easier to enjoy some wants. but it is more important to keep in mind that as long as you have enough for your needs…your wants can probably wait. until next payday.next month.next year…maybe.

a simple life is enjoying the best things in life while seeing what you have rather than wishing for the things you can never have…or may have at a high cost: physical, emotional or mental…and hopefully never at a spiritual  level…or wishing for things you can have but will pay for more later…

a simple life is being with the people you love..and enjoying their company, without being guilty you have to say no to other people..Sunday family lunch and picnics on the beach…holding hands while watching movies..the touch of a new-born baby..some things in life really do not cost anything but can mean the whole world.

maybe there will be a cohesive definition at one point..after all, i am just starting…but i hope this journey will be a beacon to the things that really matter in life..living life like you mean it. simply be.

whatever happens in our lives, there are certain things that are constant..things that inevitably matter to us whether we are on top of the world or in the ruins of broken dreams and promises.. to keep my perspective through the years, three years ago i started my gratitude list.though a lot had been added already, the basics are:

1) faith in God..or whoever one believes in (Allah,Jehovah, Buddha, Krishna etc..) i am not religious but i believe that the early Christian upbringing gave a significant influence in the positive outlook that i have..this faith gave me the strength to enjoy and endure whatever life throws my way.

2) good family. both my parents guided me through the years and supported me in all the endeavors that I set my mind to…my extended family may be critical at times and harsh on some occasions but the love among us is the bond that keeps us strong. our family may not be perfect but it is always a cohesive unit that i feel like i belong to wherever i may go..

3) good education. though i may not be utilizing it at the moment but i am applying the principles of equity, justice, and fairness in my day-to-day living..which i believe is more important than any degree.

4) life partner that i can depend on. i am getting married to one of my best friends from high school, so basically we have the same values and hopefully the same goals in life.. (the fact that he is very patient and understanding helps a whole lot =op)

5) all my mental and physical faculties..blessed to be sane (until now despite everything) and in full control of my physical faculties so at the end of the day, when i am tired from all the stress life is giving me..i take refuge in the thought that I can handle it. no worries..or at least i try not to worry.

there are several things more ( my nephew and niece, lifelong friends, having a job, being debt-free due to living within my means,a boss who actually likes me, etc…) but these are the most important things i am grateful in my life. so when “the going gets tough”..I get going!

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