I’ve been telling one of my girls a lot lately to put on some rose-colored glasses.
The last four months really have her in a funk. She is a cup 1/2 empty kinda girl to begin with but strip away her routine, her extra curriculars, her ability to socialize and add a 3/5 virtual school year and now the world most certainly hates her.
I know she’s not alone. I’ve noticed the grim perspective in my family members, co-workers, and friends too. More so than usual I should say. I have also felt consumed by negativity in recent years. When I feel stuck and trapped in my work or when I feel I have no options. Sound familiar? Do you feel that now? Stuck and trapped at home with more restrictions than options?
But that isn’t me. I am an eternal optimist by nature. People have always commented on my “pretty smile” and asked me how come I am always smiling. I didn’t know why so I didn’t answer the question. I just smiled back. Nothing has me really reflecting on the question like trying to figure out how to help my daughter. I want to all my kids, my family, my friends and you to be strong and resilient as we continue to navigate uncharted waters. So I’ve been asking myself where is that optimism? What is the root of it, how do I talk about it with my daughter and why do we want it anyway?
I’ve realized that I’ve always felt connected to “the good”. Even when I’m not experiencing goodness or good things, I always know there are better things to come and that there is good in the world. Even when I was depressed and grieving those were thoughts that came into my mind and kept me going. What is the good that I feel connected to? The spirit of goodness derived from being and knowing I am loved. For me this has always been grounded in my faith. I have always known that no matter how hard or bad something got the spirit of love is available to me. It surrounds me. If this feels far away or foreign to you, I’ll suggest a place to start in a min.
Ya’ll, I know what I need to do for my daughter. I need to love on my daughter more, go out of my way to love on her more. I see more hugs in her future. I will give her the gift of my time; intentional time. I will encourage her to make lists (I love lists!) of her blessings and keep a gratitude journal. I will keep telling her, for now, to put on some rose-colored glasses.
There are lots of theories about the origin of the phrase, “rose-colored glasses”. I like and resonate with the one about map makers. Map makers had special glasses because they spent hours focusing on small details. The lenses were easily scratched and it is said that mapmakers would use rose petals to clean those lenses. Over time, the oils from the rose petals would permanently tint the lenses rose-colored. So one meaning to saying someone looks at the world with rose-colored glasses is that you are focused on the details and ignoring the larger world around you.
Generally, this is a negative comparison. It is used to say that people aren’t living in and seeing reality. I’m saying that when we are exhausted by the world around us we need to take a break from it. "Rose-colored glasses” might just help us get that break.
Seeing the world differently, gaining a new perspective is going to take intentional effort and time. So, how do you get started? Put on some “rose-colored glasses”, look around at the details of your life for the love. Write down what you see. Give love to others.
There is no need to wear the glasses forever. Even the map makers took them off. Those “glasses” will act as a magnifier for now. When you feel refreshed, take them off. Continue to be intentional about noticing the good and connecting with the good amidst the larger world. It will be easier.
One last question to answer. Why do we want an optimistic perspective? Because it is easier to claim our joy!
Seek Joy; Find Happiness