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Katherine Moon
Katherine Isabella Moon
Meow, hello there, my name is Katherine, but you can call me Kat; because I basically am a cat. Anyways, I am a 26-year-old, lifestyle blogger, with an INFP-T personality type, from the United States. I love fashion, the color pink, cats, dogs, and spending all my time on my computer. I'm often seen wearing cat ears headbands.
The Kat Life
The Kat Life

how I'm choosing to live my best life

Friday, March 6, 2020

How To Be An Optimist In A Pessimistic World

I will sing until the miracle comes - optimist quote
Photo courtesy of Andre Gorham II on Unsplash

I like to consider myself to be an optimist, as I am sure that most dreamers do. I always believe that things will work out as they should, and even if they don't pan out exactly as I'd like them to, I still try to look for the positive in the situation. I can't always say that this is easy, and sometimes the good can still be a hard pill to swallow. Admittedly, I'm also a little bit of an idealist, so it can be hard to accept when not everyone is happy, and things didn't pan out the way that they would in a movie. I also have to admit that when bad things happen, whether to me or in the world, it can also get me down quite a bit. I am quick to become emotionally invested in something, whether it directly involved me or not. Heck, it doesn't even have to affect me, or anyone I know personally, at all, and I can still be emotionally invested in it. It's actually a bit of a mood-killing habit for me because if you haven't noticed, things in the world aren't exactly great right now, and the realist in me knows that, unfortunately, it isn't going to all change by tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year. But the thing is, being an optimist doesn't necessarily mean always being happy. Nor does it mean that you never have negative thoughts.

Being an optimist doesn't mean being oblivious to the negative. Nor does it mean ignorantly believing that everything in the world is just peachy and that tomorrow everyone will wake up wanting to be the best versions of themselves, and everyone in the world will all join hands singing Kumbaya, figuratively speaking. It doesn't mean believing that everything will have a fairy tale ending or that there won't be any hardships along the way. Optimism isn't the belief that life is perfect, or even can be perfect. Optimism is recognizing the negative and acknowledging it but choosing to look at the positives. It is choosing to continuously work towards living your goals and not throwing in the towel at the first sign of trouble. Optimism is making an effort to create a positive life for yourself and those around you.

Unfortunately, but understandably, not everyone is an optimist. For the longest time, I was more of a pessimist myself. I'll be honest, I still have pessimistic thoughts from time to time. It's only human. Especially when you're constantly being bombarded with negativity. But it is possible to be an optimist, no matter what your situation may be. And it is possible to change your mindset if you sincerely want to.

How To Be An Optimist In A Pessimistic World

Minimize your exposure to external negativity

Woman laying in a bed of flowers
Photo courtesy of Darrell Fraser on Pexels

Although it's impossible to totally avoid all external negatively (even if you're a homebody), there are still ways to minimize your exposure to it, such as limiting the amount of time spent watching or reading the news and minimizing contact with toxic people. Notice that I didn't say that you should fully nix either of these things from your life, because, for one, you probably can't. Unless you go completely off the grid, and never pick up a smartphone again; or make any human contact. Unfortunately, for many of us, there are toxic people that we have to deal with. If they are our coworkers, classmates, neighbors, or anyone we basically have to see regularly, we won't be able to avoid them altogether. Not without taking any drastic measures like changing jobs, schools, moving, or whatever else that we may not have the means to do. Or perhaps it's someone we care about and don't want to shut out of our lives, like a friend or family member. Whatever the case may be, there are still ways to minimize your contact with negative people or anyone who makes you feel like poo.

As for the news, it can also be nearly impossible to avoid, unless you never turn on the TV or go on the internet. But even then, you still might not be able to dodge it, as it's not unlikely that you'll hear other people talking about it somewhere. And honestly, I feel that it's actually necessary to stay informed. I also don't believe that it's a bad thing to have an emotional reaction to the things that you see in the news. Perhaps you could use this emotional reaction to take action, in one way or another, to help make a positive change. You could choose to donate to a cause that you care about; you don't necessarily have to give money, you could also volunteer your time. Perhaps you could become an activist, or even start your own movement! Or, if you're an eligible voter in your country, you can say how you feel by voting for candidates who support the same causes that you do, which is a part of why it's necessary to stay informed. But I do believe that there should be a balance between staying informed and being overly informed to the point that it's emotionally draining.

So, all of that being said, I would like to share a few ways that I am minimizing my exposure to external negativity...

How To Minimize Your Exposure To External Negativity

To be honest, the best and easiest way to minimize your exposure to negativity would be to cut back on your use of social media. Not to sound like a Boomer, but if you haven't noticed, there is a lot of negativity on social media. You'll come across some pretty pessimistic (or straight up rude) people in real life too, but people tend to use even less discretion when it comes to spewing out negativity online than they would in real life. So perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to spend a little less time on social media. Or at the very least, not click on negative hashtags, and be picky about who you follow or interact with. To be clear, I am not saying that social media is a bad thing; it has both a negative side and a positive side. As a matter of fact, you can actually use modern technology for self-care if you use it in the right way.

Watch how you speak to yourself

Woman looking into mirror
Photo courtesy of Gustavo Almeida on Pexels

When it comes to your outlook on life, the way that you speak to yourself is everything. Take it from me, it is nearly impossible to sincerely be an optimist when your internal dialogue is almost entirely negative. Not if you're not doing anything to combat those negative thoughts anyway. If you keep telling yourself that you can't do something or that you can't achieve something, you're going to have a harder time doing it, as your mind has already given up. If you're only thinking about the "what-ifs" or worst-case scenarios, or just whatever could go wrong, you might unintentionally manifest it. I don't even know how many times I've actually started to feel nauseous because I was afraid I'd get sick when going out to eat. And even if nothing goes wrong, you won't be able to fully enjoy a moment, as you'll be stressing over every possible bad thing that might happen. Especially when the chances of any of those things happening are extremely low. Let's be real, the worst shit that we envision in our heads rarely actually happens. So why stress out over it?

I'm not saying that you shouldn't consider the "what ifs" at all, especially when taking risks, but perhaps try changing the narrative to "even if" instead. Then see how your mindset changes. Try to envision the best outcome possible. Imagine yourself succeeding. Tell yourself that you can do it. Think positive thoughts, even if the odds don't seem to be in your favor. But also be kind to yourself if things don't go as planned, and don't be afraid to either try again or to just see what you learned from it. Speak kindly and positively to yourself. Don't fill yourself with negative thoughts!

Never stop working to be your best self

Photo courtesy of Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

As an optimist, I recognize my strengths. However, I also acknowledge my weaknesses and where I can do better; hello, upper body. I also always want to work on making my strengths stronger and continue to work to be the best person that I can be. Seriously, don't be afraid to admit to your faults and be honest with yourself about where you can improve, and don't be scared of improvement. You don't have to aim for perfection. You shouldn't aim for perfection, as there is no such thing. Just strive to be the best version of yourself that you can be and be better than you were yesterday, and believe in yourself enough to know that you can grow.

Never give up!

You got this, never give up
Photo courtesy of Content Pixie on Unsplash

If you want something badly enough, and you're passionate about it, fight for it; don't give up on it. Find a way to make it a reality, and turn your dream into an achievable goal. Be realistic with yourself about what you can do, and what your timeline should be, but don't be afraid to dream big. Just about anything is possible if you're willing to put in the effort. It might not be easy, but they do that say nothing worth having comes easy. Or at least, it's extraordinarily rare that those things worth having will come easy. But even if luck is on your side, keep working hard and see how much further you can go! Like I said though, it is rather unlikely that you'll achieve your goals overnight, and that your dreams will come easy, or that you won't fail a few times along the way. Optimists recognize that it'll take a lot of hard work and that they could fail, but they choose to give it a go anyway.

Optimists don't allow the fear of failure to stop them from going for what they want, because while they know that there is a chance of failure, they also know that there is a chance for success. As a matter of fact, the only way you have a chance of success is if you try. If you don't even make an attempt at it, you are sure to fail, and then you won't even know what you're capable of. Seriously, it's better to try and fail than to not try at all. Besides, if you don't succeed the first (or second, third, fourth, fifth, etc.) time, or even if you flat out fail, you can always try again. If you want it bad enough, don't stay down, take what you learned from the experience, and keep going. Just don't give up! Believe that you can achieve your goal if you keep trying, even if you have to reevaluate some of the specifics.

Let go of things that you can't change

Quote about letting go: Sometimes you need to let go and see what happens
Photo courtesy of Dmitry Zvolskiy on Pexels

For the longest time, I've had issues with letting anything (or anyone) go. Honestly, not that long ago, I felt that by letting go, I was contradicting the idea that I shouldn't give up on something (or someone) that I truly cared about. Aren't I literally giving up and throwing in the towel by letting go? I mean, by letting go, I'm actively choosing to stop trying. How is it optimistic to admit that I can't change something? For the longest time, I viewed letting go as giving up, and as a pessimistic approach. But the thing is, there are some things that we have no control over, and the more we allow these things (or people) to disappoint or hurt us, the more harm we do to our own wellbeing, and the less optimistic we become.

Rather than thinking of it as giving up, try to think of it this way; you've done all that you could, and what you've done is enough. You are not responsible for the choices that other people make, all you can do is try to lead them in the right direction. You are not responsible for external factors that you have no control over. The only thing that you are responsible for is your own actions and how you decide to react to these situations. You can choose to continue allowing it to drain you, or you can free yourself from it and focus your energy elsewhere. If you're a spiritual person and it helps, you can always pray about it, and hand it off to your higher power or the universe, whatever that may mean to you, and allow yourself to be free from it.

If you're anything like me, I know that this is probably the last thing that you wanted to hear. You might have even scrolled right past this section after reading the first two words of the heading or instantly closed the tab the second you saw those two words, and you're not even reading this right now. You may be thinking "easy for you to say" or that I don't know your situation, which is true. Ultimately, the choice of whether you choose to hold on or let go is up to you. But just know that I've been there. Even if you opt to take what I'm saying with a grain of salt.

Choose kindness

sharing love
Photo courtesy of Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Not everyone is going to choose to be kind, and unfortunately, you can't influence everyone to choose kindness. There are always going to be people who are bullies or are just straight-up cruel, but you don't have to be one of them, not even towards the unkind people. As tempting as it can be to be rude right back, it's not productive for anyone involved to stoop to their level. Not only are you giving them precisely what they want by firing back at them, but you're not showing them any differently by fighting fire with fire. Plus, you'll only waste your energy by trying to argue with them, and you're definitely not going to change their mind by spewing negativity right back at them. A lot of the time, people choose to be cruel because something is bothering them somewhere in their life, or maybe they've been bullied themselves, and they want to feel some sort of power or control to temporarily boost their ego. So perhaps a little bit of kindness could go a long way for them. 

You don't have to pretend that you like them or their actions. But rather than trying to give them a taste of their own medicine, kill them with kindness. It may not influence their behavior, but it is more likely to have a positive impact on them than name-calling. As an optimist, I like to believe that everyone has a good side, even if they hide it well, and that perhaps a little bit of kindness could help to bring out that kinder side of them. And even if it doesn't, by choosing to take the high road, you're still one less person causing harm.

It takes grace to remain kind in cruel situations
Photo courtesy of Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

I know that choosing kindness can be difficult sometimes. Especially in heated situations where emotions are running high. Sometimes the kindest thing that you can do is give them the silent treatment or walk away, and that's okay too.

Practice gratitude

Enjoy the little things quote
Photo courtesy of Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Perhaps the quickest way to fill yourself with optimism is to remember what you already have. Whether it's something big or small, be grateful for it. I highly recommend writing down every little thing that you're thankful down somewhere; perhaps you could dedicate an entire notebook to gratitude journaling, or maybe just create a section for it in your bullet journal. Whatever you choose to do, keep a note of everything that you're grateful for, even if it seems silly, and when you need a little pick-me-up, read through some of them. You have a lot more going for you than you think you do, and there is plenty to be thankful for and to fuel your optimism.

Actively look for the good

Smiling happy puppy
Photo courtesy of Paje Victoria on Unsplash

Sometimes finding the good in something is easy. As much as I don't like winter, it isn't too hard for me to pick out a few things that I like about it so that I can make the most of it. There are a lot of unpleasant things that are easy to find the good in if we just take a moment to think about them. Hell, as much as I curse my "monthly friend" every month, I can still look on the bright side; I mean, among many other things, it's an indicator that my body is healthy. Even though it's still a major nuisance for me. Anyway, while some things are easy to find some positives in, some things are significantly harder. Especially when you're actively dealing with them, or when they're particularly challenging or emotionally taxing situations. Sometimes it may even seem impossible to find anything positive in the circumstance, but there is always something. For the longest time, I couldn't think of a single good thing that came out of being an outcast in school, not until years after graduation from high school.

There are several different places that you could look to find the good, and it definitely varies depending on the situation. Perhaps the positive thing that you get out of it is the lesson that you learned from it. Maybe you realized your strength, and what you can handle from the situation. Perhaps it would make a great story to tell when you do come out on the other side and reach your goals despite it. You could even turn it around and turn it into a positive by using it to help inspire other people to recognize their strengths. Or at least let them know that they aren't alone and that they'll get through it too. Seriously, there is always a way to find something positive in a situation, and if you can't find it, create it. You have the power to decide how you let something affect you, and what you choose to do with it.

Have faith

Standing in a field of flowers
Photo courtesy of Henri Pham on Unsplash

Optimism is literally the belief that the odds are in your favor, and that everything will work out as it should. You may not be where you want to be today or even tomorrow, but one day, it will all work out for the best. You will reach your goals. You will have everything you want in life, and then some. You just have to have hope and believe in what you want. Even when the finish line seems far away.

I'll be real with you, it's easy to be a pessimist. I still have pessimistic thoughts from time to time, but honestly, who doesn't? At least in adulthood. As an optimist, I'd like to believe that more children are optimists than aren't. Is that too idealist to believe? I hope not! But as I was saying, as we get older, it does get harder and harder to be an optimist. Especially if you've had to deal with anything particularly challenging. It's easy to believe that the odds aren't in your favor or to allow negativity to take over. I can completely understand the mindset that you either won't be disappointed if things don't go right, or you'll be pleasantly surprised if they do. Still, I'd have to say that it feels much better to be an optimist, as I'm no longer just waiting for everything to fall apart, or expecting to fail. I've also found that being optimistic also increases my chance for success, as I'm more likely to give everything my best effort so that I can manifest the best result. Even when I don't succeed, I have a better attitude about it now, because I know that I can try again. I also know that I can use pain as a learning experience, or use it to help myself grow, rather than stay down.

Do you consider yourself to be an optimist, or are you more of a pessimist? Be honest! Are you maybe a little of both? What do you like to do to boost your optimism?

How To Be An Optimist In A Pessimistic World
Thank you for reading, and I hope the rest of your day is wonderful!
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