The mind is a strange place. It's so odd how you can look at a person, see the clothes they wear, how they interact with others, hear what they say and form an opinion about who they are. But that's all it really is -- an opinion. We have no idea what goes on inside of each other's brains, or what each other's thoughts and inner worlds are made up of. We think so many thoughts a day, and only say a fraction of them. There's so much more to a person than what we see or can gather from the external characteristics.
It's so easy to get caught up in ourselves. And it's so easy to become so engrossed in our own thoughts, ideas, problems, worries, successes and failures, that we forget the world and people around us. So much of life is out of our hands, even though we like to think that we have control over it. Simply put, life happens. Sometimes there's nothing we can do about whatever situation we're in. It's in situations like those where optimism is crucial. We have no idea what each other's inner worlds are made up of, or what kind of struggles or experiences have shaped everyone we meet into the person that they are. The truth of the matter is that everyone has experienced suffering in different forms -- life’s hard, no one gets out without bearing a few scars.
This brings me back to optimism. Optimists get a bad rap because people are often misled into believing that optimism means only seeing the positive side of things, and refusing to see the negative. Many people believe that optimism is an unrealistic view to have on the world, but I beg to differ. It's possible to see both the positive and negative sides of things, but optimism means trying to view life from the positive side. Optimism, to me, means hope. It means I experience sadness and disappointment and negative emotions, but continue to search for the light at the end of the tunnel. I believe in the goodness of people and the idea that life can always get better, no matter how good or bad it is at the moment.
While maintaining this optimist mentality, I like to also have a touch of realism, because life isn’t always painted with sunshine and rainbows. It’s a hard balance, trying to keep my feet on the ground while my head tends to float in the clouds. And I’m not always successful in doing so, but I do genuinely try. I know that not all stories have a happy ending, that not all battles are won, but that doesn't mean I'll stop hoping and fighting.
Life gets hard, and we lose touch with what and who is most important in our lives. We lose sight of our purpose. We get stuck in a rut and have no idea how to dig ourselves out. We doubt ourselves and sometimes set up camp in that very rut, accepting that we’ll be there for a little while. But I encourage you to brush off the negativity, find a shovel and start digging your way out. You’ve got this.
It happens too often that this world turns people cynical, but I simply refuse to be that person. Life happens and hearts harden. It’s important to guard your heart, but don’t let it turn to stone. Optimism isn’t always easy, but I choose it over and over again because it’s sometimes the only way to get through whatever’s got me down. Happiness is different for everyone and will come and go at different points in one's life, but I just want to encourage everyone to keep a little sunshine in their back pocket to take out for when life gets a little dark.