Acceptance and Optimism: Kay Clancy on "This is Me"

Today, Kay Clancy, in her music for Optimism series, shared "This Is Me" by The Greatest Showman Cast.

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Kay wrote, "Today is International Day of Acceptance. Whenever we, as kids, fell out, my grandmother used to remind us that everyone brings different, beautiful colour to the blanket of life and without it life would be black and white. Consciously embrace the colour you and others bring to your life today. Create a RIPPLE."

The essence of "This Is Me" aligns perfectly with Kay's message, as the song is a bold declaration of self-acceptance and the courage to be seen for who we are. It's an empowering call to drown out the noise of criticism, to stand brave and undeterred, and to march forward to the beat of our drums optimistically and unapologetically.

In the context of my research, the melody of acceptance and optimism plays a vital role in the human capacity to thrive. Social psychologists Lise Solberg and Suzanne Segerstrom have illustrated that optimists, armed with acceptance, are proactive in their approach to life's adversities. They choose strategies like seeking emotional support or becoming more accepting of their situation, which allows them not to run from their problems but to face them with a resilient mindset.

Leadership coach Chris Reddy succinctly captured the spirit of optimism when he told me, "What makes me optimistic? It's pretty simple. It's all about appreciating the small things, accepting the setbacks, grasping opportunities and being grateful for the family and friends in my life. It's a reminder that optimism starts with recognising the good in our lives, no matter how small, and building upon it.

Dr. Tammra Warby's perspective turns the concept of a roadblock into an opportunity for growth. She sees optimism as a living expression of hope that can carry us through life's most challenging moments. Tammra told me, "Optimists firstly accept the reality of the situation and immediately begin workshopping the problem to solve it. They always ask, 'What's next?'."

It is this blend of acceptance and forward-thinking that embodies the very essence of optimism.

Gregory Scott Brown put forth fulfilment as a state of being that arises when we accept ourselves and are optimistic about our future. It is a contentment that comes not from external achievements but from an internal equilibrium between acceptance and anticipation of what is yet to come.

BBC's Fiona Lang finds inspiration in the everyday examples of leadership around us. She notes that it's often in times of hardship that authentic leadership emerges as individuals accept their circumstances and continue to move forward, thereby leading themselves and others through change.  As Fiona said to me, "What we accept or do not accept defines our leadership."

Laura Gordon emphasised that optimism is rooted in accepting the current reality while maintaining faith in a brighter outcome. It's not about feigning positivity but about holding onto a genuine belief that things can and will get better.  Laura said, "Instead of denying reality, optimism is about accepting things are tough but believing there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

James Montgomery of AFL SportsReady reflects on optimism as a reflective and sometimes learned disposition. He suggests that an optimistic outlook can take shape with time and reflection, allowing us to see past adversity and embrace a hopeful future. It's about unpacking experiences, accepting differences, and understanding why things happen, which dissipates pessimism and nurtures a growing sense of optimism.

Each perspective weaves into the narrative that optimism, fueled by acceptance, is not just an abstract concept but a tangible force for good. As we embrace the varied colours of our experiences and the diversity around us, we create a life that is not just lived but celebrated. Acceptance and optimism converge in this celebration, creating a life-affirming harmony that propels us forward.




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