“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Helen Keller

People who have been transformed by some significant experience can be so inspiring.  I wonder why they can also annoy us. We have all been around someone who has made an alter call, been on a spiritual adventure or who has found new life in recovery from addiction.  We have encountered those ignited by a self-help course, heard a speech that was life changing or just returned from a retreat.

They want so much to tell us their story and bring us with them on the new-found path.  But they also can transmit a kind of overwhelming morality and seriousness which can make us want to get away from them as soon as possible.  We want what they have found but hesitate in the face of their cheerfulness.  Perhaps it’s because we are afraid to change.

It is easier to accept the challenge of change when we recognize it as a gift.  When received as a gift, change will necessarily lead us to cheerful action.  Helen Keller’s directive to ‘be of good cheer’ is incredibly important.  They call us to do good in the world with a cheerful spirit.

The indomitable Helen Keller.

Cheerful people leave a lasting impact. The joy, mirth and laughter that follow a cheerful soul bring gifts of optimism and a sort of sunrise to the spirit of others. We have a choice. We can be determined to be cheerful or we can be restrained, unremarkable and boring.

When we are unselfish, generous without expectation of paybacks, and welcoming of strangers, people will begin to believe in the truth of our own transformation.  When we treat those who can’t fight back with mercy, love those who don’t love us and forgive those who have harmed us, our new character will shine.

Something beautiful will happen.  The cheerful person with opened arms will soon find them filled with those who have been waiting for our embrace.

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Robert Kenneth Jones

Robert Kenneth Jones

Columnist

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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