The concept of optimism is a simple but very deep one, something that affects all aspects of our life. Basically, everything in life has a good side and a bad side, a positive side and a negative side. But when the person has that optimism, he would be able to see the positive side.
Now it doesn’t mean being distracted from the reality, but it would help you go on through life much more easily. And Allah Almighty said even about the false accusation of Aisha:
… think it not to be an evil to you; On the contrary it is good for you.
So there was even some benefit in that story: the lessons that were learned and the process that has to be followed whenever a doubt is in there.
The basis actually of that optimism is the belief in Allah Almighty. But another thing which is very important as a basis for optimism is the belief in oneself, and the gift that Allah Almighty has given you in your abilities, in your capabilities, in your potentials.
Allah Almighty said in the Quran about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
The Messenger believed in what was revealed to him.
And one of the supplications of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for the person who goes to sleep, at the end of it, is “I believe in the book that You sent down and I believe in the Messenger or the Prophet You have sent”, meaning himself.
Commenting on the verse in Al-Imran when Allah Almighty says:
The only ones that will know the meaning of certain verses is Allah Almighty and those firmly established in knowledge.
Put me in charge of the treasury, I can do a good job.
This is the basis of the optimism, which is to believe in your own self and what you can do. It also includes believing in other people.
Now this doesn’t mean by the way that when you have that optimism that you be a pacifist, and that you would accept things the way they are without changing anything. But there is a big difference actually.
When you have that optimism it means that you maintain your tranquility in dealing with situations instead of freaking out.
Optimism with One Self
1. Enjoying life
This means believing in oneself, or the optimism in dealing with oneself. This includes actually loving life and enjoying the good things in life.
The Prophet mentioned in certain hadiths that there are certain things in life that were made beloved to him. And this doesn’t contradict with working for the hereafter.
And the Prophet used to like to be with his wives, he used to like to play with Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein and the kids. This is something that would help us tremendously in life.
2. Focus on One Self
To be optimistic you should focus on yourself instead of focusing on others. Whenever we look for shortcomings, we are always good at finding other people’s shortcomings but not our own.
This is not part of the optimism, why? Because when you are focusing on yourself that means that your are focusing on something you can change.
Sometimes you can’t change what other people do. But it is certain that you can change yourself. That’s why by focusing on yourself that attitude itself would result in something. It would be able to achieve something and not just criticizing for the sake of criticizing.
3. Set Personal Goals
Set a goal for yourself to have something to live for. Now, I’m not talking here about the general goal stated by Allah Almighty in the Quran:
I’ve only created man and jinn to worship Me.
This is the general goal. That should be every person’s goal. But sometimes based on our qualifications, certain qualities and the things that we like, we may be able to set a specific goal for ourselves. I want to serve Islam. But how? Be specific, as to how you can do that and what you can do in yourself.
And subhanallah, when you set a goal for yourself, then it would give a different meaning to your life because you can monitor actually how you are doing. There is a beautiful verse of poetry in Arabic that says:
“Be somebody that when they come after him they would say he was here and we can see the traces. He left something behind him.”
That’s why it’s good to have something that you can leave behind you, and that goal by the way can evolve, it doesn’t have to be set for life based on what you discover about life, based on what you discover about yourself, but having a goal for yourself is part of the optimism.
4. Be Achievement-Oriented
Try to look for achievements. Now of course we commonly say that Allah Almighty would judge us on the effort and not on the results.
This statement actually is partially true but partially not. Yes, Allah Almighty is the one that sets the results but we are required to worship Allah Almighty by trying to achieve the best results.
That’s why the result is something that should be taken into consideration, but at the end whatever happens comes from Allah Almighty, but be achievement-oriented.
5- Give Yourself Credit
Give yourself the credit for something good that you did. That’s good, it makes you feel good. It will motivate you to do something more.
Of course, all the blessings come from Allah Almighty, all the credit goes to Allah Almighty but it’s good actually to feel good about achieving something, that I did something Allah Almighty blessed me into doing something like that.
6. Learn New Things
Another aspect of the optimism with oneself is to learn new things in life. That’s why don’t stick with things like what I learned in school and that’s it, I’ll spend the rest of my life using them.
Subhanallah, especially technologically, it’s advancing so quickly. That’s why we have to keep up and when you learn certain things you feel that you are doing something and that it will help you out. It will motivate you to do even more.
7. Use Positive Language
Another aspect of optimism with oneself is the language that we use. Sometimes the language that we use would feedback actually on our own attitudes. That’s why subhanallah some people every time they open their mouth they ventilate complaints, something bad to say, and that would make it even worse on them.
That’s why if you maintain beautiful language, the optimistic language, it would affect your own attitude.