Lemons, Pebbles, and Optimism 3


I recently was asked to speak about “When Life Gives You Lemons” by a friend to a group of women in her church group. She wanted the focus to be on how we can find happiness and peace even in the midst of difficulty. I remember thinking: “Sure, I can do that!” But, then came the preparation. I procrastinated…and procrastinated. I found myself caught in the mire of pessimism.

There were not any big events that created this in me; no terrible trial or difficulty. It was a build-up of little things.

Pessimism A half-empty bucket

Pessimism is sneaky. It creeps in a little at a time, and pretends to protect you — keeping you safe from the big, bad world. But, I have found pessimism prevents me from feeling happiness; from finding and keeping joy in my life. So, when the irritations of life come — those little pebbles in your shoe — pessimism makes pebbles into mountains.

The first pebble was small, and I didn’t stop to shake it out. Then a few more. I put a bandaid on and kept on walking. Another pebble gets stuck. This one breaks the skin a little bit. And suddenly it feels overwhelming.

Stupid pebbles! Why do I always get pebbles in my shoes?!

This is so hard! I can’t handle this today.

 I think many of us question, “Why me?” when little irritations enter our lives. But, pessimism truly does have an effect on your mindset, your well-being, and your progress. I loved this quote by Winston Churchill:

The pessimist sess difficulty in every opportunity Winston Churchill

As the time came closer to give the talk, I decided I needed to buckle down and stop procrastinating. I found myself drawn to constants that I know to be true: gratitude, service, self-care, and living a Christ-centered life.

You see, I know those things make me feel better. I know it, but sometimes the pebbles just become so irritating, distracting and overwhelming that I forget to practice truths. In the midst of the distractions of life, the busyness that keeps me from remembering what really matters, I lost track of the peace and gratitude that keeps my head above water, and holes out of my shoes.

Sometimes when the pebbles come, I forget to check for holes. And, that is the trouble with pessimism. Pessimism rarely helps you solve a problem, because pessimism is focused on finding problems…everywhere. That is truly the gift of pessimism: you can find a problem wherever you look. But, pessimism’s focus is on finding problems, not solving them. And, an unresolved problem is exactly that: a problem.

Pessimism's focus is finding problems, not solving them. Click To Tweet

So, I looked pessimism straight in the eye and said, “What can I do to make this better?” I had to start by looking for holes in my shoes. There were a few small ones that were allowing the irritations of life to become bigger than what they were. I needed a few patches; a little self-care, a little gratitude, and some help from others around me.

When a pebble gets stuck in your shoe for a very long time, it creates unnecessary wounds, and I needed a little healing.

It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it's the pebble in your shoe. Muhammad Ali

When you feel the pebbles of life’s irritations in your shoes, make sure you check for holes!

 

Our world today is more and more focused on the negative: the disagreements, the offenses, the evils, the terrors and horrors of life. I am not saying we cannot and should not grieve or feel sadness. We must have both happy and sad, light and dark, joy and sorrow, to appreciate its opposite. But, I don’t want to sit in a bathtub of negativity until my fingers get all wrinkly. I want to choose joy, hope and light. 

I have always loved the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. I love that we all get to choose our own path in this life. We all have opportunity to fight for and make our own way. I hope that as I grow older and wiser that I can teach my own children that I took the path less traveled by. I hope I can show them that I chose goodness, optimism and strength even in the very face of negativity, distraction, and evil disguised as good.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
 
I hope that each of us can take a minute and drop-kick pessimism out of our lives. I hope we can choose a path that brings us peace, hope, and gratitude. 
 
And, if we find holes in our shoes, patch ’em up. We have some walking to do.
Follow me

Elizabeth

Wife, mother of twins, speaker, and creator of Balm to My Soul.I love to write, speak, sleep, snuggle and, if I really get lucky, inspire and help others. I am clearly imperfect but determined to be a little better every day. Some days are better than others! Thanks for stopping by!
Follow me

Latest posts by Elizabeth (see all)


About Elizabeth

Wife, mother of twins, speaker, and creator of Balm to My Soul. I love to write, speak, sleep, snuggle and, if I really get lucky, inspire and help others. I am clearly imperfect but determined to be a little better every day. Some days are better than others! Thanks for stopping by!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

3 thoughts on “Lemons, Pebbles, and Optimism