Imagine you’ve got a food bag filled with energy bars. The energy bars are made of your thoughts and feelings. Now imagine you have two hungry critters living inside you who can only be fed by your energy bars. The first critter is Fear. He’s a hungry little bugger and he is constantly pestering you to give him more energy bars. Fear is never satisfied. He’s like a teenager or something in there. You keep feeding him, but he keeps wanting more! He’s relentless and he drains your energy bar supply until it’s gone!
The second little critter inside you to feed is Optimism – which is really Love in disguise – but we’ll just call her Optimism. She is hungry too, but she is much more patient. She sits back and lets you decide if you want to feed her. After all, she knows that they are your hard-earned energy bars and you should be the one to decide who you give them to. Optimism is a lot quieter and definitely more peaceful than fear. But, sometimes, she is so quiet that you forget to feed her. Whoops!
One day, you are doing your usual administering of your energy bars and you realize that you only have two energy bars left. You decide that you want to give them to Optimism. Fear is pissed. He gets in your face demanding to get your last two energy bars. But for some reason, you just say no. You open your food bag and give your last two energy bars to Optimism. She is so grateful. She smiles at you kindly while she fills up with your energy.
You are about to call it a day when you realize the bag isn’t empty. You look inside and there are now four energy bars left. What is going on? You just gave your last two energy bars to Optimism, and now there are four left! How is this possible? You think it’s a fluke, so you decide to try an experiment. You give two more energy bars to Optimism. She beams at you while filling up happily on your energy. She’s so grateful. You open your bag again and this time there are four new energy bars again. You calculate that for every two energy bars you give to Optimism, she gives you FOUR in return! Wow! You realize what this means: if you just keep feeding Optimism, you’ll have endless energy bars for yourself and for her. This is such an outstanding deal!
You make an important decision that day. You decide to kick Fear out of the house to go find someone else to feed him. You aren’t worried about him. There are 7 billion other people on the planet and you’re sure one of them will take him in. You decide that from this day forward, you are only going to feed Optimism.
And the two of you live happily ever after.
Emily Hine teaches mindfulness, peace and compassion. She is the CEO of HineSight Consulting, and the host of The Global Compassion Summit. She is a Certified Compassion Cultivation Training™ Teacher from the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford University. She is also an inspirational writer and public speaker. For more information, see About Emily Hine.