Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 3-19-12 |

Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 3-19-12

Do you know you can improve your outlook on life by surrounding yourself with optimists? And the opposite is true – when you find yourself complaining about everything, think back over the past few days. Did you spend any time with grousers, those who can’t find anything good to say? Either attitude quickly rubs off on you so be mindful of what you read and the company you keep. At least in my own case, I know this to be true. When I hang around someone who is always known as a griper, or in the vernacular of the day, a toxic person, it negatively affects me. It took me many years to realize how quickly being around a bad attitude person makes me pick up the stinkin’ thinkin’, too and now I severely limit my exposure to such people.

By the same token, optimists create positive attitudes within their circles. A happy outlook is likely learned from a young age from parents who are pleasant and generally pleased with life. That does not necessarily mean they had easy lives. Several of my older friends – I’m talking 88-96-years-old here – obviously lived through the Great Depression and had difficult times. Caroline who is 96 says, “We were poor but didn’t know it. There was always someone worse off than we were. We lived on a farm so we had food and we shared.”

What a change from the seemingly prevalent attitude of today. Many of the “younger” old people I know so enjoy talking about their latest health problems, often in quite detail. My optimistic friends, though, don’t do this. They may mention they have had surgery on their knee or some other part, but they do not dwell on it. It is just a fact and complaints and details are not forthcoming. If they give comments it will concern how good their care was. The continuous gripers are the ones who will talk loud and long about every small point of their treatment or hospitalization and rarely do they come across as satisfied.

It may need to be a conscious decision to think positively, if one is not accustomed to those thought processes. Envision yourself in a meeting when someone comes up with an idea. The concept will quickly be commented on, either negatively or positively. The negative remark would likely begin with, “Yes, but …” and a positive take on it could start out with, “Yes, and …”

Do you hear the difference not only in word but in tone? With the latter, you can still give your opinions yet frame them in a positive vein. This attitude will help you to consider ideas in a new light and with an open mind. One way to improve your own attitude is that every day is filled with choices; you can choose to be optimistic.

Peggy and her family farm in southwest South Dakota. Her internet latchstring it out at

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