When taking on a life-altering diagnosis every article, interview, television show and family member will tell us to be optimistic. They don’t always use that word. They may tell us to “keep the faith” or “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” or “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, easy for them to say. Overall I agree that optimism is important because our bodies know when we’re not on board with the mechanism for hope.
During those times when optimism seems like an overwhelming thought, allow someone else to hold the place of optimism for you. There are no definite rules about how this all works so let’s be creative. Individuals who climb great mountains like Everest have a Sherpa to help them with the journey. The Sherpa knows the route and will carry the load that may be too cumbersome for the climber.
As we climb our own Everest it’s fine to let a Sherpa of our choice carry the optimism. It’s important that we find someone we trust with this responsibility. It needs to be someone we trust and will tell us the “caring truth” when necessary. It also needs to be someone who is not holding false hope, but a genuine hope that serves as a beacon for us to follow.
How will you give yourself the gift of optimism even when it seems to big a task? Who can you recruit to be the surrogate optimist in your life? What gifts does this person possess that let’s you know they are up to serving as your optimism surrogate? This is a huge honor we bestow on these optimism Sherpas and hopefully when we can resume holding the optimism we acknowledge these surrogates for their support, bravery and love.