We have all heard the expression, is the glass half full or half empty. How you perceive it tells you something about your own perception on life.
Do you choose to be optimistic and feel gratitude for the half full glass or do you choose pessimism and feel disappointment that the glass is half empty. This glass can represent your career, your marriage and even your faith.
Optimism is more than just having a sunny disposition. It embodies an attitude of perseverance, patience and not giving up in the face of difficulty. An optimistic person will notice opportunities instead of focusing on the hardships.
This all describes positive thinking patterns which in turn makes your emotions more stable. This cycle of positive thought patterns and emotions will undoubtedly lead to better behaviors.
Can You Be Overly Optimistic?
Some will say that being optimistic opens people up for disappointment and greater let downs. While that can be true to an extent, if you actively try to bring optimism into your life it gives you more resilience when faced with hardship.
We know that even a test or difficulty can have great reward and outcomes in the end. Focusing on that end result and having patience is more beneficial than focusing on the hardship.
“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease” [Quran 94:5]
This is not to say that we should be unrealistic and always expect rainbows and kittens, sometimes hardships will come into your life. It is healthy to be logical and acknowledge risks associated with your actions.
Ideally you should strive for optimistic thought patterns that are also rational. I am not advocating for grandiose illusions that you will become a millionaire overnight and have the perfect marriage all because you chose to see the glass as half-full, that is not realistic.
Anxiety and Optimism
If we think about anxiety, we can summarize that as fear of the unknown which can hinder someone’s ability to function when not controlled. Anxiety disorders hold people back from going after their dreams because they are so afraid to fail that they don’t even try.
An optimist is more likely to pursue their ambitions because of their positive outlook; they see opportunity and believe they can achieve it.
We like to know we are right and often encounter self-fulfilling prophecies, which simply means we alter our behavior and thought patterns in order to cause those self-expectations to come true.
For example, an optimistic teacher expects a student to get an A on the exam so they spend extra time helping them study which results in them getting an A.
On the other side of that, a pessimistic teacher may expect a student to perform poorly so they don’t pay them much attention in class which results in a lower grade. We are not actually predicting anything; we are altering our own behaviors in order to make those expectations a reality.
Now imagine if you expected yourself to succeed at work, do you think this would cause you to work harder? What if you expected your marriage to fail, would you self-sabotage without realizing it just to prove yourself right?
Impact of Optimism
When someone decides to take steps forward to increase their optimism, they are choosing to bring more positivity and gratefulness into their life.
If you take on an optimistic perspective when failure happens, instead of becoming defeated you will have the power to see that as a temporary setback and even a lesson. If you have ever heard of failing forward, that is an optimistic mindset.Pages: 1 2