4 misconceptions about optimism (and harsh reality)
No one can doubt that optimism, in some situations, can be a key to success in some aspect of our lives. However, we live in times in which the obsession for happiness makes many people think that optimism is everything .
Being optimistic has its advantages, but as long as it is in tune with the environment and the reality in which we move. Like everything in this life, both excess and lack of optimism are negative.
What an Optimistic Person Looks Like
Each person has his own peculiarities and, obviously, being pessimistic is not good at all. In fact, people who are sensible and objective, and who are also optimistic, can be considered to be ahead of the game.
Optimists are people who look at the positive side of things instead of spending the whole day complaining, who don’t care how many times they fall, because from each experience they draw positive lessons. Now, the optimist is not the person who always has a smile on his face despite the adversities, but one with a high self-confidence and is realistic with the environment that surrounds him.
But, how are the optimistic people? These types of individuals have a number of characteristics:
They see in failure opportunities for growth and learning. Falling down means getting up.
They do not deceive themselves, but they have a great capacity for self-reflection and are sincere with themselves.
They are objective and realistic people, so they always pretend to be sensible and coherent in their actions.
They have good self-esteem and are valued positively.
They do not compare themselves to others, because they have found inner peace.
They have a great capacity for self-motivation despite the obstacles in their way.
They fight for what they want and for their own dreams.
They live in the here and now and enjoy the present.
They’re emotionally intelligent.
If you want to know more about these characteristics, you can read our article: “11 characteristics of optimistic people”
False beliefs about optimism
While being optimistic is beneficial, some people may hold false beliefs about this positive mentality.
1. Being optimistic will make you happy
Happiness depends on many factors, and to think that simply by adopting a positive mentality and being optimistic everything will go smoothly is a mistake . Optimism is not something you impose on yourself, but it is a way of thinking and behaving that has a lot to do with the level of self-confidence a person has and how this relates to the events that occur around him.
Optimism is not looking the other way when negative things happen, but it is facing reality as it is and accepting it. Once accepted, it is to get moving and work step by step to achieve what you want.
2. Optimism is an attitude
Optimism is not something that an individual can impose on himself, and as I have said, it has to do with building a strong personality and being a self-confident, realistic person. It’s not about seeing life as rosy and living oblivious to problems. It’s about analyzing them and accepting them. It’s about observing and detaching emotionally from some unpleasant situations.
It is about looking to the future, but always with your feet on the ground . Optimism is not living in irrational expectations. It is seeing things as they are and learning from them. Optimistic people also fail, but they understand that failure is part of life.
3. Problems are solved with optimism
Optimism alone does not solve problems. It can motivate us to get ahead, but we also have to do our part to make sure that everything goes as we wish . Therefore, self-confidence is key in this sense, because it is a psychological variable that refers to the perception of the skills and resources we have when carrying out a task. Belief in oneself does solve problems, not optimism alone.
4. You can be optimistic all the time
To think that you can be an optimist all the time and live with a smile on your face all the time is unrealistic, and in this case we would be talking about false optimism. As the humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “False optimism, sooner or later, disappoints, angers and despairs.
False optimism has to do with low self-esteem and an attempt to hide the insecurity one feels . In fact, false optimists do not achieve the goals they set, because they are not realistic. In the long run, and as Maslow explains, false optimism ends up frustrating the person.
In short, people with false optimism:
They do not value themselves
They do not live in the here and now or connect with themselves
They are not honest with themselves
False optimism is as bad as pessimism. If you want to know more about this, you can read our article: “False optimism: what is it and what are its negative effects?”