“Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad.” ~Norm Papernick
It’s the night before a midterm, an econ midterm, to be exact. I’ve hardly studied during the semester, being too busy with other things, and econ has traditionally been a difficult subject for me to master.
Yet, as I walked home from school today, I couldn’t help but smile. As a matter of fact, I was walking home, twirling, laughing, and singing. It was fun :). I felt a tremendous surge of love, gratitude, and happiness, and I wanted to express it! Why hold in the love, right?! 🙂 So I spread it, smiling at the world around me, giving thanks for all the blessings in my world! The sky, the trees, my friends, my family, my past, present, and future. All of it.
I’m still riding off of the euphoria I was feeling.
How did I get here? Well, the short answer is a few days, the long answer is a few years, but the shortest answer, and the point of power, is…one moment.
*clears my throat* I’m going to shock the world that only knows the Amparo of now: I used to be a staunch pessimist. Amazing how life can turn out :).
I started shifting towards optimism during college, without much conscious effort. I just naturally started believing more and more in myself, feeling empowered by the wonderful people around me.
During my junior year, I had an experience that forced me to confront, head on, my thought patterns and their effect on my world.
I was on a service trip, during Spring Break – “Alternative Spring Break” (ASB) – and was in New Jersey, standing before a man that was soon to become one of my heroes. Mayor Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, had welcomed a group of Stanford students, including myself, into his abode to speak with him about public service and leadership. I was floored. He was a genuinely nice, smart public servant who identified as just that – a servant for the people of his community.
When we left his home, I was miserable. All I could think about was how I was never going to see him again. My classmates tried to console me and convince me otherwise, but there was no point. No one could change my mind.
When I got home and reflected back on the entire ASB experience, a series of lessons hit me. When I say “hit me”, I mean hit me, as in, smacked me in the head to wake up. It was eerie. I literally felt as if I was seeing the world from a different set of eyes. My conception of the world – my world – had changed, and now even my physical perception of it seemed altered.
Some of the questions that forced this change was…why had I been so miserable after that experience? Why hadn’t I allowed myself to savor the experience of having met him? Why had I been so…pessimistic, automatically accepting that life would not go how I wanted?
Wow, I remember how debilitating and exhilarating that was at the same time. To stand before my new set of eyes, with my mind and ego laid bare, asking and answering tough questions about the very core of who I thought I was.
I dug and dug and dug, questioning once-solid thought patterns, questioning why I believed them and how they related to who I thought I was. I continued digging for years, even until today, asking myself over and over, “what thought patterns are limiting me?”
It’s had a dramatic effect on my life.
When your thoughts revolve around how big a problem is, on why you are not good enough, on why life will not go your way…you lose confidence (a lot) and become overwhelmed, stressed, irritable, angry, depressed, etc. With this state of mind, you only perform at a fraction of your true capacity. A fraction.
If, instead, you keep a calm mind, focus on the good in your life, and continue to be positive about a situation…oh boy, let me tell you. Your ability to effectively handle any situation skyrockets. You BELIEVE you can handle it and turn it into a workable situation, so it clears your mind and allows you to give it your all. You suddenly see solutions where your stressed/unconfident mind simply could not.
Nothing stands in your way because you no longer do. Everything else becomes manageable. And you don’t make excuses for why something can’t happen – you figure out how it can.
And then something spectacular happens…
You realize how smart and talented you really are. How beautiful you really are. How capable you really are. How truly amazing you really are (because you ARRREEE!!!!).
It changes everything.
You become you without all the junk that had been holding you down. 🙂 Well, this is me without all the junk holding me down. This moment. Now.
… Econ midterm – you’re going down. 😀
Hope you have a wonderful day!!! Go out and kick butt, walking confidently and thinking positively!! Your mind dictates your world – take charge and make it great ;).
Reflective Challenge of the Post*: Challenge yourself to start becoming aware of your own thought patterns and ask yourself a million times over, “what thoughts are limiting me?” SHINE YOUR LIGHT!!! 🙂 And remember to always, always be patient and loving with yourself. I was initially overwhelmed by how many thoughts were limiting me. It takes time to identify them and deal with them. Do it with love – knowing that you are simply clearing the way for your best self to shine through. 🙂 There’s not anything “wrong” with you! You’re amazing! Don’t forget it! Now know it, live it, and let yourself shine!!!
* I decided to add this in ;). lol why not?