Today I have a question for you – would you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because it would have been very easy for me to slip into pessimistic thinking these last few years, so I feel quite pleased with myself that I retained my optimism – although some days / weeks / months were shaky. The reality is, I was born optimistic and I hope my boys are too – although I’ll love them if they’re pessimists equally, I just hope they’re not.
With that said, while I am definitely an optimist, I don’t think being a pessimist is a bad thing, it’s just not what I choose to be. Typically, a pessimist is a person who expects the worst – or the “wrong” outcome – but they are excited when proven wrong. An optimist will expect the “right” outcome and of course, are devastated when it doesn’t turn out as planned. If you look through the meaning of both words, there are various aspects that contribute to us being one or the other, and of course, many people sit somewhere in the middle, or switch during the journey we call life.
So I’m an optimist. My glass is pretty much always half-full, and even when life gets hard, I still hold onto my optimistic tendency. I know I can be annoyingly optimistic, but I like living my life expecting the best of everyone and everything. It’s a good mindset for me. For example, everyone I meet gets the benefit of the doubt, and if they prove to be a dick along the way, that can be disappointing but it is what it is. I’m also rarely surprised when people are dicks. It’s important for me to always start from a place of liking people, trusting that we can make a connection, because ultimately, I believe everyone is good.
I find it challenging when I meet people who demand that I earn their trust first, mainly because it’s not the way I operate, so it’s hard not to be offended when it happens. Most of the time I seem to pass the pessimists “test” and when I don’t, I move on. I know who I am and that’s life – you can’t get on with everyone.
I also believe that things work out for the best, and while I don’t always appreciate the “best” that eventuates, I have a tendency to go with the flow (usually after having it’s a not fair tantrum) and focus on improving my lot from there. The idea that every aspect of my life is as it’s meant to be appeals to me. As such, even when stuff gets really shithouse, I dig deep, trying to understand what it is I’m supposed to learn so I can move forward and change my reality. That’s just the way I see things. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we’re all so different.
Reading up on optimists and pessimists while writing this blog, I found this great link with lots of insightful quotes on both. It appears that some pessimists believe optimists are stupid, and vice versa. You know, we are who we are and I choose to be an optimist when all of the evidence points otherwise. I’ve seen and experienced lots of bad stuff, but I still prefer to be an optimist, because, as a general rule, I reckon life is bloody great. I see optimism as a very clear choice and definitely not an indication of stupidity. In fact, considering some of the horrendous stuff I’ve witnessed around our world, it’s amazing I choose to remain an optimist, but it sits well “within” me.
So which one are you and why? Or have you been one and then became the other because something happened? I just find it an interesting question and I’d love to know how you see yourself? But please, let’s not bag each other. We’re all such deep and complex creatures, each with our own experiences and interpretations of those experiences (that others are never able to understand), so can I ask that we be sweet to each other – pretty please?
Yours, without the bollocks
PS: if you’re interested, I found this test “Are you a Defensive Pessimist?” Check it out and see if you are…