Choosing Optimism in Dark Times


Cynicism is my first language. The glass is half empty. My life is over every other day. The world is probably ending. Change is never good.

My therapist calls it “unrelenting crisis.” The best way to explain this is what I found here: “… inhibited grieving involves avoiding or escaping your emotions, unrelenting crisis is like living within the chaos of your emotions, doing what your emotions are telling you to do, and ending up in difficult, overwhelming and stressful situations.”

The tricky thing about unrelenting crisis is that in my case, it’s often subconscious. I don’t realize I’m doing it until I get called out for it, and in a lot of situations I truly have no control.

I have been through a lot of really difficult things in my short 22 years. I’ve been told I could have a TV show with some of the chaos that surrounds me. I haven’t quite figured out why exactly I attract some of the things I do into my life, but in the things I have learned that tidbit about, I have actively made changes in order to do better for myself. In return the chaos has calmed down in those areas.

As I’m writing this, I’m walking through a pretty dark season. My anxiety is high. My depression is debilitating. I’ve pulled the “Why me?” card a handful of times in the last few days.

Rewriting that script is NOT an overnight thing. It takes practice, practice, and more practice. I am the furthest from an expert in this area, but I will say this: I’m learning… and it feels good.

With what I’m walking through currently, I won’t lie to you and say I’m feeling optimistic (even though that’s literally the title of this post); but I am feeling like I’m going to be okay.

It’s a rollercoaster, and tomorrow I may read this post and think “You’re so full of s*!&.” but it also may help someone else walking through darkness and that’s a nice thought.

Here are some things I’ve done to change my mindset:

  • Find good friends

These aren’t the friends that join right in when you’re ranting (though I think on occasion that’s warranted). But a majority of the time, I find myself “going off” with this person, feeding off of one another, and leaving the conversation even more upset than when I started.

My church often preaches finding 4-7 Christian friends that you can do life with. While I haven’t quite found my “clique,” I do have some really great mentors and friends within my church that have walked along side some of the darkest times with me. These are the friends that when I am struggling, they validate me, they send me worship songs, podcasts, verses, devotionals etc., they pray for me, and then they demonstrate ways they can be there for me. They feed into my situation hope and care rather than anger and pity.

  • Make a habit of reading your Bible and devotionals

In the last 30 days, I’ve made it a habit and priority to read my Bible everyday. If it’s only for 5 minutes, it’s only for 5 minutes. If it’s for 30, it’s for 30. Regardless, opening up my Bible everyday isn’t something I’ve done before but I’ve seen a change in myself since I’ve started and been consistent with it.

Same with devotionals. I use The Bible App for these. The nice thing about this is you can look up plans in relation to whatever you’re walking through. They have just about everything on there. They have ones for situations, emotions, mindsets, different books of the Bible… I’ve found a lot of valuable devotionals from this app, and they’re low commitment. They can be as short as 3 days or as long as a year. Plus the ability to share your progress and even read plans with friends helps with accountability.

I find starting my day with a devotional and ending my day with my Bible has brought me a lot of comfort in this time.

When reading your Bible is the last thing you want to do… it’s probably the most important thing you can do.

  • Fake it ’til you make it

Don’t laugh. I mean it. This works. 

I pushed myself HARD recently to try being less cynical. It looked a little like this:

“I think I may not actually be okay from this.”

I then forced myself to say:

“But what if you are?”

I then sat down and listed ways that I could be okay in my particular situation. It was hard and it took me a hot minute, but I did it and it helped me.

  • Surrender

At the end of the day, there are very few things we have control over; and nothing we have COMPLETE control over. Learning to trust God has been valuable to me in this time. I’m giving it to Him and trusting that He will provide, protect, and help me grow in the ways I need to.

"The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you...'" 
-Psalms 32:8

This season has been hard for everyone. Times are strange, there are a lot of unknowns, and the struggles of everyday life haven’t slowed down.

Take it from this cynical 22 year old:

I think it might actually be okay. 

Comment down below what else you’d like to hear from me!

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