Look on the Bright Side…?

Optimism can seem like a dead end or even a harmful delusion. But it’s not about slapping a filter over bleak reality; it’s about allowing yourself to see life’s full range of colors.

Illustrations by Federica Bordoni

Antoine had cut himself on the broken glass coaster we’d left on top of the refrigerator. My husband was whispering the details as I walked through the door. “I think he’s going to be fine,” he said quietly, “but we should give him some money.”

Antoine worked for the service that came to clean our friend’s apartment while we were staying there. When I went upstairs to find him, he said his hand was probably going to be OK, but he mentioned a past event when a tree branch had punctured his skin, causing an infection in his arm. I glanced at the small see-through bandage on his index finger and saw no evidence of anything serious, yet I sensed that Antoine felt vulnerable. I offered to take him to the emergency room, which he declined. He seemed fine, but how did I know? As he left I pressed some cash into his hand and gave him my phone number, inviting him to call me if anything terrible came from this mishap.

I could have been suspicious and self-protective, careful not to appear too responsible lest it bite me in the hindsight, but this just isn’t how I want to…

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About the author

Elaine Smookler

Elaine Smookler has been a mindful practitioner for over 20 years and is on the faculty at The Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto. She is a Registered Psychotherapist and teaches mindfulness to corporate clients through eMindful. She's also a comedic writer and performer and is the singing host of Mindful Martinis, a cabaret/mindfulness class mash up.