Life can be tough and troubles often comprise its content. The resounding lament of "Why Me?" can be heard from many a troubled sojourner as they encounter each trial and tribulation along the well-worn path of living. The better question should be, "Why not me?" Given the fact that we live in a fallen world where heartache and pain are the common currency, shouldn't we be surprised when we don't suffer?
The pessimist sees the sufferings associated with human life and adopts negativity in the guise of just being a realist. Their "realism" sours their approach to life and lessens the likelihood of their being able to prevail when pain arrives. The right attitude that looks for the joy in the midst of sorrow allows for greater meaning in living and is the more realistic approach, in spite of what the pessimists might say. It's easy to understand the pessimist's pessimism, but how can we become positive, having a more profitable attitude?
Dr. Victor E. Frankl, a man who experienced three years at Auschwitz, as well as other Nazi prison camps, writes of his observations in those sanctuaries of horrors:
"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstance, to choose one's own way."
The choice of attitude is our own. Circumstances or the actions of others cannot alter our view of life without our consent.
Success and significance come to those who will accept the responsibility for choosing the right attitude. To give when it seems everyone else is taking; to love when it seems like hate is the way to go. This approach may seem naive to some and foolish to many, but I believe it makes sense and has within it the greater potential for making us better, sparing us from the awful consequence of becoming bitter.
Being a servant, a giver, someone who really cares, opens the doors of opportunity and closes the doors of energy depleting, self-defeating pessimism. Life is too short to be a whiner when we were created to be winners.