Close your eyes for a moment. Wait. No, read this first and THEN close your eyes. I want you to think about how you viewed life and it’s possibilities when you were a child. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you believe in Santa Claus? Did you read fairy tales, and believe the happy endings? Did you think that life was full of endless possibilities, that people were innately good, and that everything always ended up working out in the end? Did you see the world through rose-colored glasses?
Alright, have you tapped in to who you were as a child? Into how you viewed the world as you knew it? You haven’t? I’ll wait…..
That’s enough waiting. Now I need to ask you a question: What the hell happened to you? Where did your childlike wonder go? How did you let yourself become this jaded? Would your six-year-old self even recognize you now?
Sure, you grew up. You became an adult, and as your brain grew and changed (I didn’t research this, so I’m just guessing that this is what happens), how you think, and how you behave changed as well. Your life experiences have shown you that things don’t always work out, or that sometimes life is just unfair. You became jaded, pessimistic, and allowed reality to shape your outlook on the world around you. So… how is this working out for you? Are you happy? Does it seem as though realism has stolen your sense of wonder, and probably a lot of your happiness?
In adulthood, optimism gets a bad rap. How can someone seriously see the world as a beautiful place, where people are kind and good, and where things always work out in the end? Take a look around: murders, terrorism, divorce, sickness, violence, and racism are happening every minute of every day. The world isn’t what we thought it to be when we were children. Why allow this to change your hopefulness? Your optimism about people, and the world at large?
I’m currently on the wrong-side of thirty. I have experienced more than my fair share of upset, trauma, and loss. I should be a jaded realist; I’m not. I believe that people are good. I believe that no matter what happens, everything will work out in the end. I believe in happy endings. I believe that we are all on the same boat of life, each trying to do our best to leave something of purpose behind. I believe that people want to help each other, and that we are all connected in this way.
The only place in life where this type of thinking has negatively impacted me is in relationships. While I am a terribly complicated woman, my optimistic view of relationships is simple: two people love each other and everything else works out because of this. I subscribe to the ‘true love lasts forever’ school of thought, and while I know it isn’t realistic, it does make my world a little brighter to believe it and seek it out. And is there really anything wrong with that? Absolutely not.
I have made my optimism my armor in life. Maybe believing that people always have good intentions, and trusting strangers will get me killed by a serial killer one of these days (although I really hope not, that would sort of negate everything I’ve just said here).