This I Believe

Theresa - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on November 2, 2006

A Beginner’s Guide to Being an Optimist

Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? How you view little things like that, and the big things, in you life can make all the difference in the world. You could spend your whole life only seeing what you don’t have and constantly wishing for more. Or, you can look at what you have, smile, and thank God for all that you have been given. That is how you find happiness.

I have four younger siblings, one sister and three brothers. The eldest of the boys is Michael. Michael loves Bionicles, geography, and video games. He makes the biggest and most complex Lego ships you’ve ever seen. He is extremely creative. He is also very sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells and sights. He has a form of Autism called Asperger syndrome. He has tendencies to be obsessive and controlling, even a little bit of change in his life messes up his whole day. He has trouble with many social situations and often does things that are embarrassing. It’s not easy for my parents and us to try to deal with him every day. Sometimes I’ll find myself wishing he was normal.

I believe there is a reason that Michael is the way he is. He may have many trials in his everyday life, but he is extremely gifted in certain areas. He has had a positive impact on me. If he was normal I’d be a more selfish and far less understanding person. Having Michael for a brother has made me a better person today. I never view him as a burden, he is a gift.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the bright side of the situation. But even if I don’t understand now, I know that it happened for a reason. And when something good happens I stay focused on it, and it helps me through the tough spots. When you’re feeling your worst, remember that things will always get better. You can only be happy if you choose to be, start everyday with an optimistic attitude and keep it. It is important to always stay focused and never give up.