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.