Happy Optimism Month!
So apparently, March is ‘Optimism Month’. Did we need a month specifically for optimism? I don’t know. Perhaps after the January blues, but it still strikes me as quite odd for some reason. Do we celebrate it, discuss it, practice it? Seems a bit wishy washy to me.
See, I always have described myself as an optimistic, happy, positive person and I think most people who know me would as well. I just am like that and I always have been. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a ‘good’ or ‘better’ thing. I think we assume it is because generally positive things are good things. But I wonder how much the ‘glass half full/empty’ metaphor effected people, especially when we were younger. I feel like we talked about this a lot and it was a hot topic for many an assembly at school to highlight God knows what morals. Though it was definitely presented as positive vs negative and therefore good vs bad which I don’t know was necessarily helpful in anyway.
Yes, we’re recycling content from V day – no judgement team.
I guess I don’t think it was helpful because, at least in the discussions I had, positive and optimistic was often associated with the extroverted, loud, big personalities and vice versa. But introversion or quietness doesn’t mean that you’re down or any worse off, if anything you’re maybe more introspective (and this is coming from an expert extrovert). I think the human tendency to categorise and separate can be damaging particularly at a young age – to be taught that one thing is perhaps better than the other?
OPTing for OPTimism
At this point the question of happy vs optimistic comes into play because the two terms do seem synonymous. To me, happiness is a very much in the moment feeling that is natural and uncontrollable, uncontrollable being key here. Whereas optimism is much more a decision that we can control and consciously make an effort to have or not have. Whilst it seems that they crossover, aka deciding to be more positive gives you a greater chance to be happy, I don’t see this as being necessarily true. You can be happy without being optimistic and optimistic without being happy. I guess the expectation and surprise of the outcome is just different.
But none of these things makes optimism superior in anyway. It is so dependent on who you are, where you are and what your mindset is so I think trying to appeal optimism to people as something that will change them exponentially and selling it as the ‘right’ path to go down is misleading. It can help, but it’s not the salvation it’s sold as.
Having said all this, I do find optimism to be useful. Whether that’s to imagine what could be, what’s to come etc and it does greatly effect my positivity but it’s not a game changer. Rather, being realistic and understanding actually how I am feeling without kidding myself or trying to twist it to seem better or worse than it is – that’s what I’ve realised recently is how I can both efficiently and quickly deal with whatever’s going on. Feeling the emotion, whether that’s good or bad, is so much more important that attempting so be something else. Because until you comprehend and deal with what’s in front of you, you’re unlikely to be able to get over it.
Once again, little relevance but look how happy she is to be at a the beach !!
I hope this didn’t seem overwhelmingly negative although I have a feeling it was… lol. End note: YAY optimism, I do think it’s great, I do think it’s helpful but remember, it’s not the be all and end all and you OPT for it. What does optimism mean to you? How does it effect you? Let me know.
Have a happy march team x