optimism vs pessimism

There are 2 kinds of people (well actually there’s millions but for now, lets talk about 2). They can be identified by the question, “is the glass half full or half empty”. These 2 types of people approach both everyday and big life moments in the opposite way. Take for example the run for the bus.

 What they’re thinking  Optimist Pesimist
As they’re running  If I run, I might just make that bus  I’ll run but sod’s law says it’ll pull away just as I get there
 If they make make the bus  I love today Wasn’t expecting that…won’t happen tomorrow
 If they don’t make the bus Nevermind, there’ll be another one in a minute  Told you so, will have to wait ages now

This is obviously pretty trivial, and isn’t going to make a massive difference in life, but depending on how you approach that scenario probably tells a lot about how you approach life in general.

Now, which is the way you should be? The bible tells us not to worry, Monty Python tells us to always look on the bright side of life, and Churchill once said “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.

I’ve written before about how we get on better in life if we don’t moan, and how seeing the best in ourselves, in others and in life’s situations makes us happier and nicer to be around.

But I would put myself in the pessimist bracket. I take an umbrella out with me in my bag everyday, even (especially!) in summer. “Just in case”. I take the view that this means I’m just being realistic, and I end up disappointed less. I’d rather think I was getting nothing for my birthday and get a nice surprise when something turned up, than hope for the the world and be disappointed with socks. (n.b. I love socks).

The real tricky thing is mixing optimists and pessimists. The optimist says “I’ll be there in 10 mins”, arrives in 20 mins and leaves the pessimist disappointed. The pessimist drains the optimist with all the reasons why the journey may well take more than 10 mins.

What’s the answer? I’m not sure! Perhaps pessimists need to take Monty Python’s advice once in a while and optimists need to be a bit more realistic sometimes? I think the main thing to remember is that not everyone is like us, so lets be aware of who we’re talking to when we’re either singing from the roof tops about the half full glass or moaning about it being half empty. And cut each other some slack when we get it “wrong”!


About bethanywheeler

I'm Bethany, a thirtysomething wife and mum. I love my family, my friends and my church, and I'm passionate about being part of them becoming all they were created to be. I'm a talker. Hopefully I listen in equal measure. I love a good debate about real stuff, but only if it results in a list of actions!
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