SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does being sincerely enthusiastic mean to you? Can you share an experience where, inspite of a strong temptation to criticize, you allowed yourself to be sincerely enthusiastic? What is a practice that helps you develop the social courage to be sincerely enthusiastic?
How often do we see the negative side of things! Even though we don't really want to add more negativity to the world, we seem to do it. How foreign it seems to look for things to be positive about. The media is filled to the brim with bleak news, global warming, failing economies, GMO's, chem trails, war, killings and murde, child abuse... ...listening to it evokes fear, anger, self righteous indignation in us, is it any wonder that we look at the negative when we are constantly bombarded with how bad things are? We are taught, from the start, to look for the negative, to react negatively. How can we change this? The world is full to the brim with positive things, but for some strange reason we gloss over those things. We fail to celebrate the sheer joy of existence, which if embraced, would be something that would add so much to our lives. Nature teaches us the lesson of beauty, of abundance, of birth, of renewal, of grace yet we ignore those lessons in our hast to criticize, condemn and complain. If we do not learn to embrace these lessons, if we don't somehow replace negative thinking with positive, it is not only we who suffer, but the whole of humanity. The whole Earth cries out for our joyful embrace. Enough of our criticizing, condemning and complaining! Let us look for and find that joy, together, moment by moment, let us embrace what is good, both in ourselves and in others.[Hide Full Comment]
I have always been one of those "over the top" enthusiastic people who love easily, trust easily, but face difficulty when it is time to hold back and disengage. So it was reassuring to read that others find enthusiasm to be life-affirming. I do notice that "opposites attract" so that often more "low-key" or even critical individuals are attracted to my joyful approach. At the same time, people can be threatened by it and seem suspicious of the genuineness of my enthusiasm. Particularly when I was young, I was met with the reaction, "You can't really feel so loving -- you must be a fake" -- and in fact, when I was young, my enthusiasm tended to blind me to the perspective of others. Those who have not been loved well and generously are often the ones who turn to criticism as a mode of social survival.
I just loved the Barry Manilow story! Here's to enthusiasm for every human enterprise that celebrates what is good and loving and joyful in life!
A few yrs ago I caught myself in this exact negative mindset after taking a trip with an acquaintance who found fault with absolutely everything. I suddenly became aware that I surely bring others down on occasion in much the same way. I now make the effort to follow criticism with praise. You can find the positive in everything and everyone if you stop and think. And thinking positively has definitely improved all aspects of my life.
Wonderful article! I strive to be sincere and come from a place of truth and love in everything I do and say... Frequently i fall short and slide into the group of venting-a.k.a-hate speech. It is easy to do. And if I stay sincere and positive, I have been shunned or mocked. But over time, I get stronger and persevere and those people who get it, stick around and the others just seem to fade into the background. Stay Sincerely Enthusiastic People!! Spread the LOVE!!!!
I loved the line about how enthusiasm and embracing something is riskier...and harder...because I really feel the truth of this....receiving gifts wholeheartedly means opening ourselves to the moment and expressing our joy and love...
Not strangely but actually accurately, the root of Enthusiasm is En + theos -- from God....apt, no?!
For me, being sincerely enthusiastic means being genuinely enthusiastic. I'm sad to say I've often been critical, negative, and judgmental in my life -- it's never occurred to me that such people be it myself of others are more intelligent or discerning or perceptive. I have thought such people be it myself or others are unhappy and angry. I'm happy to say I have become more accepting and positive. I can be genuinely enthusiastic about some aspects of what a person is doing, for example their enthusiasm, their hard work, their success, and not comment on aspects that I don't like or agree with. What's helped me become more sincerely enthusiastic is for me to remind myself of what my wife says to her fifth grade students and to me, ie, "say the best and save the rest." Realizing that we are one and becoming more compassionate has helped me to be more sincerely enthusiastic. Learning that being positive is a happier way to live also helps me be sincerely enthusiastic. I don't think it takes courage for me to be more sincerely enthusiastic -- I think it takes becoming a little wiser.[Hide Full Comment]
I feel fortunate to live in this world every day. Friends have termed me "slightly exuberant" and I am grateful to be in such a space. I have always somehow retained a childlike sense of wonder, that is not to be confused with childish; big difference. Being sincerely enthusiastic means embracing the world around us, seeing with childlike eyes the beauty and wonder that is everywhere. It is being excited about sidewalk chalk hopscotch and leaping in and playing it when you see it. It is blowing bubbles and sharing them with strangers (which I do every week somewhere) It is carrying a Free Hugs sign everywhere you go and using it. Being sincerely enthusiastic means watching a group of people play music in a temporary band they formed with whom they rehearsed 4 or 5 times and singing praises to them and enjoying their courage to share their music in a passionate way even if it is slightly out of tune. It is loving Barry Manilow because he's Barry Manilow; so funny you used that reference, I am a huge fan! Please allow yourselves to be sincerely enthusiastic for those around you and for yourself. Hugs from my heart to yours as I fly off to perform at a Storytelling Festival in Iran where yes, I will be sharing bubbles :)[Hide Full Comment]