I recently opened a fortune cookie and read this:

“An optimist is the human personification of spring”

It got me to thinking, because it gives the word ‘optimist’ a broader and more inclusive meaning.

The main criticism of optimism, or it’s more active partner ‘positive thinking’, is that these ways of being can encourage a blindness to the harsh reality of the world. A more derogatory way to put this is to call someone a “Polyanna”, for thinking that everything is going to be sunshine and roses. In my mind these characterizations unfairly narrow optimism and, in fact, encourage a pessimism that constricts potential future realities.

Optimism is, to my mind, the belief that things are generally going in the right direction…that the universe is by and large a good place and that it is unfolding in a way that is positive. Certainly ‘bad’ things will happen (I would rather say ‘painful’ or ‘unpleasant’ things), but optimists believe that in the end everything will turn out in a good way.

Now, you can challenge this notion by pointing out all of the ‘bad’ outcomes you have seen. You can tell the optimist not to believe all this woo-woo nonsense. But in the end optimism has nothing to do with facts or ‘realities’. Optimism is not a way of thinking but is instead a state of being. Optimism is the way you hold your own internal reality!!

You choose how to see the world, and this reflects how you see yourself. The reference to ‘spring’ is very accurate: When you bloom inside you see a world that is blooming along with you. The world you see is a projection of your internal state. When you see in the beauty of yourself, the world becomes beautiful. When you believe in your own possibility, everything in the world becomes possible. When you come to know your own goodness, then you see a good world around you.

To be optimistic is to feel positive and uplifted and expansive…and to project that feeling onto the world.

Endeavor to become a ‘human personification of spring’! See how it changes your reality!

-KC Hildreth