Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Nothing great was achieved without enthusiasm”. Maybe you know someone grumpy and gloomy, who is rarely enthusiastic about anything, always complaining. Doesn’t it sometimes seem like Life keeps giving him more to complain about?
In my work I often meet people who are full of complaints about their vision. They can’t read (or drive a car) without getting eyestrain, and when they wake up in the morning their eyes already feel tired. It’s a challenge for me to get these folks to realize that some of the time their eyes feel fine and they can see pretty well — as Dr. Bates advised they forget about their vision then and just use it naturally. Maybe they’re playing catch in the back yard with a child, or fishing or riding a bike, or looking out the car window while someone else is driving. The common theme is that they are relaxed, not trying to see.
Think about the challenges in your life you’ve faced and overcome, maybe getting through school, or raising a family, or starting a business. If you didn’t expect to succeed, it would be like driving with the brakes on — your full energy would not be behind your actions. Optimism and enthusiasm feel like fuel to me, positive energy to propel you forward in the direction of your goal.
Of course “blind optimism” (that phrase makes me me cringe) is foolhardy. You do have to keep paying attention to the signs around you that tell you whether or not you’re on track, then course-correct if necessary. Yet look for the subtle indications that your vision is improving. Maybe the eye chart isn’t much clearer yet, but colors are appearing brighter, and you’re straining less to see when it starts getting dark. Great — celebrate that!
One thing that can really sap your enthusiasm about your vision is other people’s unwanted negative input, like “You’re 40 now. Soon you’ll need reading glasses.” Well, not necessarily! Or they’ll start telling you about their own age-related troubles, and you can just feel your life-force draining away. Excuse yourself politely, and leave! This is not good for you. You have chosen to be healthy, so surround yourself with healthy people as much as possible.
To some degree, to do this vision improvement work which is still against the mainstream, you have to be your own cheerleader. Too much of the culture still believes in “a pill for every ill”, and that simple natural ageing means automatic decline. If your other skills can get stronger as you get older, why not your vision, too? Take good care of your eyes and learn how to use them properly, and enjoy everything you see. And surround yourself with people who are optimistic. We are changing the culture, one pair of eyes at a time, and isn’t that exciting?
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