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When I was a child myself, I had heard too many elders (father, mother, uncles, aunts, etc.) cribbing about how the world is getting worse day by day, how today’s children are not as good as they themselves were, how there is more corruption than before, how there is no hope for the new generation, more murders, more rapes, and a whole list of other things that are worse now than when they were kids. It felt like they did not have any hope for the future. They would just hang a sad face and essentially blame it on “Kaliyug.” Times have changed and many of my elders are no more, but I still generally find a lot of people cribbing about the same things.
I, on the other hand, never felt like cribbing about anything and felt great about living in this world. It is not like I was too naive to be able to see the darker shades of the world, it was just my attitude. In fact, I did face a lot of hard times during my childhood in terms of a dysfunctional family, just the general perils of growing up as a female, or even direct sexual harassment. I still grew up with a very optimistic mindset and also met a lot of other kids my age who felt the same way. It was when I had my own child that my mind all of a sudden starting gravitating towards negative and depressive thoughts. I was happy and ecstatic about becoming a mother, but I would also encounter a lot of negative feelings. To add to it, I started fiddling a lot with my newly acquired smartphone, and the newsfeed feature started popping up new stories every day regarding the crisis in Syria along with a plethora of other scary stuff happening around the world. Some stories of the victims were so horrific that it gradually started changing my entire thought process and wiped out any positive thoughts or hopes I ever had. Now all I could think was about murders, rapes, terrorism, natural calamities, etc. I felt very scared for my kid and felt like I was the worst mother to have brought him into this hopeless world. It was so intense that I almost forgot how it felt like to be happy, to be hopeful or to dream about stuff I had planned to do with my child. I was completely consumed by fear and hopelessness. Not just that, it also attracted more negative thoughts. For example, I really started feeling hatred towards some people I love the most. No matter what they said or did, I was always trying to find something bad about it. I felt jealous of just about anyone who was even remotely happy.
One day as I was having a casual conversation with my husband about my negative and fearful thoughts, he tried to calm me down by citing examples as to how these types of evils were always there in the past and the human race has managed to survive these and mentioned about a TED talk by Peter Diamandis titled “Abundance is our Future.” In his talk, Peter Diamandis so wonderfully explains the reason behind our pessimistic views about the world. Even though the talk itself was not directly related to how the whole negativity started, it did a great deal for me to defeat the sudden surge of it within me. It was like an extra dose of optimism, which gradually freed my mind from the shackles of negative thoughts.
A lesson I learned from this experience during my postpartum period is that after all, it is the attitude that matters. When I am positive, my mind is full of happy thoughts and the world feels like a great place for my kid to grow up, and then it does not feel so great when even a little negativity creeps in.
That we should keep our attitude always positive is a popular advice we hear from life coaches and other famous people, but then again, we also face times when we really struggle to think positive. Perhaps, we all need an extra dose of optimism from time to time.