Monday, November 7, 2011

The Perks of Being an Optimist

I wrote this about a month ago when things all became a bit uncertain. They sorted themselves out in the end but I thought I'd post this anyway :)


I used to turn down my nose at optimists. ‘They are setting themselves up for disappointment’ I would think, shaking my head.  I prided myself on my negative world view. ‘If it turns out badly, I won’t be too upset because it was expected’, I said, ‘and if it turns out well, I will be pleasantly surprised. Being a pessimist is a win-win.’

You see, I used to believe that optimists were those that always believed that good things were going to happen, no matter the odds. But now I see, by looking at the people around me who are always cheerful and always smiling, that optimists are really those that make the best out of any situation.

Which is an amazing trait to have. Because I often find myself unable to cope when things don’t turn out that well, unable to see how it could possibly be a good thing. But lately I have made a concerted effort to see the silver lining.

Right now life is sort of ‘up-in-the-air’ for me. Things may be changing suddenly; things that we have built up over the years may fall down into a mess of dust and rubble. And when I first heard, all I could think of was all of the horrible things that may come out of this. Granted, it is not a good situation, but nowhere near to that catastrophe that it could be were I simply to make it so.

But here’s the thing: A pessimist would look at this as a disaster, as I did initially. But an optimist would see this as an exciting new opportunity. So I have decided to join their camp. Because if I think about it as an opportunity I am lucky to have, well then I am so much more likely to turn it into something wonderful, rather than sitting in a puddle of self-pity until it all magically fixes itself again.

Optimism means making the most of what you have. It means looking around at all of the wonderful things in life and being thankful that they are still there, rather than drowning under the weight of losses that is inevitable in life. It is approaching change with smile, and a sunny up-beat attitude, ready to turn whatever you are handed into the very best that you can.

I am not sure what is going to happen over the next few weeks. But I know that no matter what it is, I am going to approach it with the most positive attitude I have, and make the most out of the changes that are sometimes forced on us.

An optimist is one that relies on themselves, and knows that that life will always be good because they will always make it so. A pessimist is someone who expects the worst, and makes no effort to change it or take any responsibility for it when it does.

After looking at it that way, I see my earlier thinking was flawed. From now on it’s optimism for me all the way. 

17 comments:

Kacey said...

Like like like! Your attitude is inspiring.

nancy said...

your posts always seem to befit my current state of mind!

I love this post. I think it's easy to dismiss optimists as naive or hopelessly idealistic... but I view optimism like you - as something that should be encouraged and celebrated. learning to be happy with whatever situation you've gotten yourself into is so much easier and more helpful than the usual pity party!

Tuesdai Noelle said...

"Optimism means making the most of what you have. It means looking around at all of the wonderful things in life and being thankful that they are still there, rather than drowning under the weight of losses that is inevitable in life."

Now THAT is good thinking and praciting! I use to feel the exact same way about Optimist as well. They were like the ones "always smiling through many tears." And though I might not always be out of my pessimistic-mindset as much as I'd like to be...I'm learning to give myself a chance to expect something great. Because hey, I mean, you never know. It's possible; things are happening every day!

Kari said...

I'm so happy things have worked themselves out. This is so genius, and something I definitely need to be better at.

demie said...

my husband is the ultimate optimist! it took me some years to realise, what you are writting now. there is always something good coming from something bad. and if things look really bad , then you night have to look at them from a different place...
but i also believe that one must be :
expecting the best, prepared for the worst ; )

Teresa said...

Funny. When I started reading your post I thought we were so alike... but for a small detail - I'm the optimistic emotional coward you were the pessimist.

Many people say that it's not cowardice at all, just a mechanism of defence we develop early by our life experiences and environment. Knowing which helps you turn the tide or smooth the path...

You know what's the number ONE human instinct? I always thought it was sexual. It isn't! It's the self-preservation instintic. Before everything humans develop survival - phisical, emotional, intellectual - mechanisms.

I don't think an optimist thinks that ALL is fine or will be fine, but as a person who celebrates those little tiny poaches of happiness and wallows in them. An optimist is also a hoarder of those tiny moments and by keeping everybit close the feel-good-factor is always there.

Instead of thinking that someone might never return an optimist thinks it was here... for that brief moment, was mine brighting and warming my world.

Wishing you a colourful optimistic week,
Teresa

ellie said...

Such a heartfelt post. I'm glad I read this on an early Monday morning. Wishing you all the positive energy I can.

New Life in Spain said...

Love it! It's so easy to dump into the dark hole of the pessimist when something potencially bad turns up in our lives, and equally hard to confront change and challenges with an optimistic attitude. (If you are a pessimist that is...) But when making a deliberate choice to try to see it with positive eyes can (will?) be such a wonderful experience! I have plenty of experience with the pessimist glasses, but am more and more trying to change them for optimistic ones. They are heaps better!

Love love this:
"An optimist is one that relies on themselves, and knows that that life will always be good because they will always make it so. A pessimist is someone who expects the worst, and makes no effort to change it or take any responsibility for it when it does."

lucy and sarah said...

Very inspiring. And I need to do more with what I have. Great post!

molly said...

I have to admit I'm of that myth of being a pessimist too. Its sometimes, hard to get out of that funk.

Thanks for writing this.

Bonnie said...

I call myself a realist. For the most part, I am fairly optimistic, but I am by no means a rose-colored glasses type of person. I try to take a realistic, objective point of view to things. However, I am definitely more of an optimist than a pessimist.

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Kunal said...

I have no qualms in calling myself that I am super duper optimist person. There are very few days...when I am sad, depressed or I just sit in self pity and do nothing. Even yesterday, I have lost all my documents (work permits, bank cards, Debit cards, credit cards), phone and some cash...and you know what I told my friend...well..I was anyway planning to buy the brand new Samsung Galaxy S II...haha :)

I know....it isn't the best example...but..you got my point...I hope! :P

Best Wishes

Ashley said...

hear hear!

Now if only I could implement this way of thinking into my daily life...

a!k0 said...

I am definitely not an optimist but my bf is and we clash opinions. Reading this makes me thing that being an optimist have its perks. I should really try it sometimes :) Thank you for sharing. I shall try to be a lil optimistic next time :D

x0x0

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Deidre said...

I think I'm probably an optimist in the long run, but initially when things get rough my process to get to optimism is often quite pessimistic.

Katie said...

Haha, I needed a post like this today!

Poppies and Sunshine said...

What a great view on optimism! Love love love this!!!