We often think of optimism and pessimism as personality traits that we’re born with, or at least inclinations or predispositions. Optimism is often falsely believed to be a mindset of being unrealistic and wearing “rose colored glasses” oblivious to “reality.” We like to say we’re “realists” which is really just a nice way of saying “pessimists.”
Once we understand that nothing has meaning until we give it meaning, and everything can be assigned many different meanings, we understand better what it really means to be an optimist. To be an optimist means that we are true “realists” which means that we see the reality that all meaning is our choice and we choose to give everything that happens in our lives a positive meaning instead of a negative one. The positive meaning is always there if we look for it (and so is the negative), and that is what optimists learn to do- look for and focus on the positive meaning in everything instead of the negative.
Looking for the positive aspects of anything is NOT the same as the inaccurate and naïve belief that “Everything turns out for the best.” Not everything necessarily turns out for the best, but no matter how awful or tragic a situation (like an airplane crash, or an earthquake or a divorce) there is always some good that can come out of it- and an optimist isn’t blind to tragedy or unmoved by it. An optimist sees and feels it, but deliberately and sometimes by the force of great will, chooses to focus their spotlight of attention on the positive aspects that can be found.
Those who choose to find and focus on the positive aspects of any situation will be blessed and receive more blessings. Those who choose to find and focus on the negative aspects of any situation will be cursed and receive more cursings. One of the most often repeated statements of Truth in the Bible (and many other ancient wisdom teachings) is “Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” When something happens, let your asking be “Help me see the good I can draw from this!” or “Given that this has happened, how can I create something good?”
Optimism is an innate quality of the Soul. Pessimism is a common quality of the protective personality who is always trying to control things it can’t control. Choosing to let the natural Soul quality of optimism guide you is a choice the personality has to make by getting out of the way
Questions to Ponder
-What are some of my least favorite things that have ever happened to me? What positive aspects can I now see about those happenings?
-What situations or people are bothering me or worrying me right now? What positive aspects can I see about that situation or person?