“You’re living in a bubble, Janine.”
I was 16 and had just shared my interpretation of a song’s meaning, seeing the usual magic and mystery in its lyrics. She made me feel like I was naïve and needed a reality check. Her comment told me that I needed to be less hopeful. That I should tone it down a notch. That growing up would require me to be more like her and less like me.
And I believed her. Because we tend to believe what our teachers tell us.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, that moment did become pivotal for me. I started to hear her words from different sources and in different ways over the course of the next 10-15 years. I still do. The investigator/palaeontologist that is my mind took it upon itself to suss out evidence to support her opinion wherever it could find it. And when your mind takes on a mission (particularly if your mind is as stubborn as mine), your mind becomes unstoppable.
So, over time, I made just about every effort to change. I viewed my optimism as naïvité; my sensitivity as weakness; my romanticism as an unrealistic view of the world.
Because, truth be told, most of the places we hang out and form an opinion of the acceptable “mainstream” – be it the office, political forums, media – they don’t exactly encourage us to see the best in situations. In fact, we don’t tend to look for the best in each other either.
So, after years of playing the role of the critical thinker, I honed my ability to see what was broken. To focus on what was wrong and place all sorts of attention on that. I felt smart because I was praised and rewarded for my efforts. And, that felt good…on the surface.
But, on a deeper level, it was depleting me. It was just too much work to try to operate that way, when every bone in my body CRAVED something lighter.
Something lighter came along when – years later – a fabulous public service manager reminded me that all I needed to do was “be more Janine.”
Wow, that felt easier.
That’s the kind of pivotal moment I want to focus on.
And so, these days, my mind has a new assignment: find the evidence to support THIS new theory. Dig for it in ditches. Hear it in the quietest of voices. Uncover pieces of this truth wherever you can.
It’s a good one, girl. It makes you feel like you’re enough.
You are enough.
Be the optimist. Be the dreamer. Be the romantic who prefers to see life through
rose-coloured glasses. It doesn’t mean you aren’t informed of what’s going on in the world. It doesn’t mean you don’t care and want to make a difference. You want to make a tremendous difference.
What it means is that you feel a hell of a lot better and are boatloads more impactful when you choose to allow yourself to be hopeful. When you create space for optimism. When you step back inside that bubble.
The world needs the hopeful, the romantics and the optimists. It needs pessimists sometimes too. But, I don’t want to be the pessimist anymore. It’s just not me.
Janine Hogg is a keynote speaker, certified life coach, yoga teacher and poetry addict with a 15-year background in journalism and public communications.