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An Ode to Positivity: The Art of a Life Well-lived

I am by no means a philosopher, but I do believe that I have a philosophically-oriented mind. I like to think, reflect, and come up with my own theories about the world. For this profound inclination, I thank my most trusted and most wise confidante-my Mom. Many nights, after the completion of our daily tasks and settling in after our usual rush, we, like Socrates and his interlocutors, begin to talk about life. To be honest, I live for these moments; they make me realize what truly matters in life. They give me hope and inspire me to blossom into the best person I can possibly be.

My philosophy, formed by these life-affirming dialogues, amounts to this: living is an art form in itself. Instead of drawing a painting with watercolours, we paint our lives with our feelings, emotions, and thoughts. There is a famous by Norman Vincent Peale:  “change your thoughts and you can change your world”. I wholeheartedly agree. I strongly believe that the attitude we show the world has a direct influence on our lives. It affects how we feel, how we think, and ultimately how we act. I am an avid proponent of standing emotionally available in front of the world, with an open mind and heart. I embrace unquestioned positivity as my philosophy of life.

However, I admit: it took me a long time to attain this unfaltering attitude. After all, I am only human and when something does not go my way and throws my life out of balance, I customarily register this unfortunate occurrence as undesirable and hindering, and I struggle to maintain a positive demeanour. I confessed to my Mom in one of our dialogues that I liked structuring my life according to my aspirations, hopes, and plans. I passionately constructed vivid scenarios in my mind, where all my dreams came true. I told my Mom these secret longings gave my life meaning and they made me feel alive. I also confessed that when they didn’t materialize, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed, even sad.

To this, she replied: I think it is only natural and it is common to us all. If you were to ask anyone how they feel when his or her plans don’t work out, they will most likely feel the same way you do. It is a natural human reaction that reminds us how challenging it is to feel out of control and powerless, in a way. However, I also believe we can regain some of that power and turn this potentially disappointing experience around. I think in order to do that; we need to forego a divided schema for reading the world. If you think about it, you essentially resort to classification: when your ideal comes to life, you think ‘this is good’ and when it doesn’t, you can’t help but think ‘this is really bad’. You unintentionally subject your happiness to your expectations and you ultimately run the risk of taking more from life than you are willing to give. You forget to be grateful and this takes away your wonder and joy.

This was a defining moment for me. I’ve never realized that by expecting too much from the world, I’ve forgotten to give back and act out of kindness for no particular reason. By building my life around my plans, I’ve forgotten to take pleasure in the simpler things and ordinary moments, poignant with beauty and life. Every morning the sun rises over the earth and it blesses us with a new day and a new beginning. Every day is a new adventure, filled with meaningful lessons, unexpected surprises and endless opportunities to dream another dream. I’ve realized that without knowing, I’ve forgotten to be grateful for life.

Ultimately, there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ events happening in our life: we need to stop drawing that distinction. What life gives us, regardless of the form, is a gift and blessing;.  It’s a call to contribute to a better and brighter world. Whether your dreams come true or whether your luck strikes out, the end result is essentially always the same: we grow and we get a chance to be better, and this is the art of living a life.