Eternal Optimism

I recently read an old passage in my journal, and it hit me how–even in the toughest of life’s challenges–I seem to be able to find the silver lining in the situation.  The journal entry was more about me complaining that I couldn’t seem to let myself get into the deep funk of depression.  I really wanted to be upset and depressed at that moment, and the little silver lining I saw and wrote about made me so angry because I couldn’t let myself “wallow” in the crappy feelings.

I actually laughed at my younger me when I re-read that, because we all have our “don’t try to cheer me up!” moments, and there I was doing it to myself.

Now, I’m not someone who sees the world through rose-colored glasses (at least, I don’t think I do).  I realize there are horrible atrocities that go on in this world; children starving, homeless pets, abused individuals, etc.  These things are even happening in our own neighborhoods, let alone the world at large.  But for some reason, I’m able to accept them as a necessary balance in this world, and can even see potential “good” things that come from “bad” situations or experiences.

Not always at first, mind you.  I do totally believe in allowing yourself to feel the crappy emotions fully.  It’s the only way you can truly move on to better feelings, in my opinion, and it’s something I strive to achieve; fully feel whatever emotion might be coursing through me, then release it and move on.  Sometimes, the releasing is faster than others, but I find that I’m able to see the positive side of a situation quicker once I’ve done so.

However, if someone sees I’m in a bad mood, and tries to cheer me out of it, I can often become upset further and even get angry with them, as I did with myself in the journal entry.  I think many of us do that, and it’s because we feel like we’re not being allowed to fully express our displeasure or sorrow.  People try to cheer us up because they’re not comfortable with negative emotions, and because we, as a society, are led to believe that we have to always “put on a happy face,” or “turn our frown upside down,” or many other cliches.  But I contest that you can’t really put on said happy face until you’ve experienced the “negative” emotions to their fullest extent.

There is a caveat to that, though, because there are some people who experience depression due to a chemical imbalance in their bodies.  Or there are those who are sad sacks, either because they crave the attention of people feeling sorry for them, or they truly aren’t able to see the silver linings in experiences.

But thankfully, I’m not one of those people.  I might seem like one if you catch me a split second after I’ve had a “bad” experience, and I need to vent my frustrations, but come back and talk to me the next day, and I guarantee you that I’ll be back to seeing the possible positive outcome of the situation.  Or heck, I might even be able to see the upside in the situation within half an hour of it happening.

So, some might say my ability (or penchant) to do that is “seeing the world through rose-colored glasses,” while I call it optimism, but those are just more labels that are based on perceptions.  One person might call him/her self a realist, while someone else might say s/he is a pessimist.  AND, we all don those hats at various points in our lives anyway, so to use the label and try to make it stick to someone 24/7 isn’t going to be accurate.  I know that I have “pessimistic” thoughts, just as I have “realistic” and “optimistic” ones, but I do think my overall thoughts tend to lean toward optimism.  As saccharine as it sounds, I’ve had a Pollyanna-ish type outlook most of my life . . . except that I don’t try to make others play The Glad Game with me.  I have fun playing it all by myself.

What about you?  How long does it take you to see the positive side of a negative situation?

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana Fredsti
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 10:09:05

    I call it making lemonades from lemons… and while I also need the time to process the depression/anger, I definitely find seeing the silver lining helps me process the negative part more quickly and make something positive out of it.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Apr 19, 2013 @ 13:34:57

      That’s an interesting thought, Dana . . . that finding the silver lining helps you work through the negative. Maybe it’s another of those chicken/egg scenarios, where you don’t always know which begets what.

      Thanks for stopping by today.

      Reply

  2. Kathy
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 16:26:16

    I tend to look at the more optimistic side of things. My grandmother said you catch more flies with honey, so I try not to inflict my negative thoughts on other people. Doesn’t mean I don’t have them, just don’t see the need to put more vitriol in the world.

    Reply

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