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optimism, silver lining, look on the bright sideThis is a popular phrase often uttered by my mother, who truth-be-told is an eternal optimist (often infuriatingly so). It’s her standard response whenever she hears negative thoughts coming from her children, and it has spread its influence to the in-law branches of the family tree.

Sometimes I cringe when I hear it (or even before because I can always tell when it’s coming), but I think it has managed to tame an innate pessimism that, especially in the past two years, keeps threatening to take me over. Even throughout the month my father was in the hospital and in the dark months that followed his death, she always tried to look on the brighter side. In fact the few times that I saw her lose that penchant for the silver lining, it made me even sadder since it was so rare to witness. I know she knows this and is holding us together with her strength in overcoming her own negative thoughts.

Mom’s cheery outlook has undoubtedly influenced me, for the better I might optimistically add. Even though the past few years have brought many challenges, I cannot let myself sink into a pit of despair, for I believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the happenings definitely suck, for lack of a better term, but it’s our response to the present and our outlook on the future that determine our happiness.

Negativity breeds negativity. I see it happening with a friend who has endured her own loss and family challenges, and I am struck by the nego-ness that has pervaded her everyday life and relationships. I am hoping to convert her to the bright side through love, support and a little “nego, nego, nego” warning now and again.

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