The word of the day is ‘Sanguine.’
It’s a beautiful, exotic word to me. It conjures up pictures in my head of deserts at dusk, sand blowing lightly in the air; of emerald and ruby jewels; of calm, peaceful waters with potential for ferocity lurking below.
In actuality, while it can mean, ‘blood-red or ruddy’ in colour (my subconscious must remember this – hence the rubies); it’s more commonly used to behaviour that is cheerful, confident and optimistic. Thesaurus.com (“Oh how did I live, or write, before you?!“) provides other synonyms such as: byouant, enthusiastic, hopeful, upbeat, positive, animated, lively, secure, self-assured, spirited, undoubtful.
Admittedly, as a Brit, I’m naturally programmed to be cynical towards words like ‘positive.’ Moaning is part of the culture here. Everywhere you look, people are complaining at each other about the weather/jobs/council over tea and biscuits.
Brits react to overt happiness and cheerfulness in the following ways:
- They eye you with suspicion, wondering what you’re hiding. A secret lottery win? Pills? A Mars bar under your jacket?!
- They get angry, assuming that you’re laughing at their expense secretly. “Are you taking the piss?!”
- They think you’re a naive, Pollyanna-like idiot that doesn’t know enough to be accurately miserable like them.
I’ve said before that I feel like an optimist in a pessimists’ body. And despite ingesting a huge amount of self-help over the years, this inner-conflict between wanting to see the best in people and situations vs skeptical mistrust is still at work. But maybe this is just life right? Remembering that our brain’s job is to keep us safe, it’s actually a lot more natural for us to mistrust than to trust initially. To me though, this just doesn’t feel very good as a way to live.
Luckily, we can adopt a sanguine attitude, taking a happy seat in the middle ground.
Regardless of how others react (we can’t control other people’s opinions anyway), approaching life with an optimistic attitude; with spirit, fire and enthusiasm; choosing to trust before you mistrust; looking for the best rather than the worst; feels really good.
So sod what anyone thinks!
Having a sanguine attitude doesn’t mean you’re a naive idiot or a pushover. If people give you reason to mistrust them, then you can mistrust them! It just means that you choose to focus on better things each day, knowing that this will make you feel better and happier.
And of course, you’re still allowed tea and biscuits, along with the occasional rant about the weather!