My not-so-optimistic optimism advice

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I don’t think I’ve ever been a silver-lining kind of person, even as a child. You know how kids always have that “pie-in-the-sky, everything-is-awesome” view of the world? That wasn’t me – at all. I was the Chicken Little, the doomsayer. I was the “OMG-we’re-going-to-get-in-trouble/we’re-all-gonna-die” kid. Try as might, I’m not a very good optimist. I am a highly skilled, ninja pessimist, although I reluctantly accept this dubious honor. I know that there are many benefits to having a positive state of mind, but I just can’t bridge that gap…and maybe that’s OK. If you can’t be a Pollyanna, aim for “optimistic pessimist.”

As an expert with an OP degree (Dr. Optimistic Pessimist, if you will), here’s my professional advice:

Try to find the good in everyone. Sometimes, people will show you their not so appealing side because they’re trying to protect themselves; after all, being ourselves, faults and all, requires a certain degree of comfort with vulnerability that not everyone is comfortable with.

That being said…

Don’t tolerate toxic people in your life. If you offer nothing but good will, honesty, respect, and kindness and the other person doesn’t reciprocate (and even takes advantage of your good nature), it’s time to cut your losses a move on.

Every struggle you go through offers a lesson…even if that lesson is “don’t EVER do that stupid thing again.” In every bad situation is the potential to grow tougher and wiser.

That being said…

Trying to find the positive in a really tough situation is nearly impossible when you’re in the mix of it. It’s like the people who tell you that there are “other fish in the sea” or “you’ll get over it” after you get dumped. No matter how many well-intentioned platitudes they may offer, it just won’t sink in when you’re feeling down. Allow yourself to feel your pain. Grieving is a process that can’t be rushed, no matter what anyone tells you.

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When times are tough seek out social support, whether it’s a friend, an online community, a pet, a pastor or a therapist. Help will always be there for those who have the courage to seek it.

That being said…

You can’t depend on others to constantly put you together when you feel broken. I mean, you can lean on other people’s strength but you can’t use it to prop up you up forever. Like a knife, resilience is developed by facing those grinding, tough experiences head-on. Even if a challenging experience breaks you, you will bounce back and use it to build you up stronger when the next storm hits.

If you’ve hit rock bottom, acknowledge that the only place left to go is up. Life won’t always be this tough. Don’t give up!

That being said…

It’s actually OK, if not better, to throw in the towel occasionally, if only to take a break from the situation. When your mind is obsessively focused on a problem, you don’t leave yourself much thinking room to come up with a solution. Stepping away from a situation for a little while can offer clarity. Plus, there’s something cathartic and freeing about giving up and letting the weight of an issue just slide away. The best thing to do when you don’t know what to do is to do nothing.

Prepare for your worst-case scenario, but hope for the best.

That being said…

Sometimes, it’s better not to create expectations but rather, go into a situation with a neutral attitude. As much as I would love to have everything turn out the way I want it to, the higher I get my hopes up the tougher the disappointment when things don’t quite work out. Note that I am not advocating a defeatist attitude – just a realistic one.

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Insightfully yours,

Queen D

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2 thoughts on “My not-so-optimistic optimism advice

  1. I totally agree! I usually prepare myself for the worst case scenario and that doesn’t get me anywhere. If you think positive then you do positive.

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