How I’m Learning to Be an Optimist

There are two types of people: those who see the glass half-empty, and those who see the glass half-full.  I used to be the former, almost always seeing a half-empty glass.  But now, I’m at this weird in-between, trying to appreciate what’s left in the glass, while also reminding myself not to worry that it’ll soon be gone.  I’m learning, slowly but surely, to be an optimist.

For most of my life I was always the worrier, the one thinking of the worst case scenario.  Being an anxious person just seemed to be in my DNA, and I had pretty much resolved myself to accept that it was just my personality.  If you needed someone to be cautious and hesitant, I was your girl.  But to be honest, my role as a pessimist wasn’t allowing me to live my life to the fullest.  Hard to believe, right?

So I decided I needed to have a more positive outlook on life, which ultimately meant changing the way I thought, and being willing to feel somewhat out of control.  Worrying about the things I couldn’t control was the main source of my pessimistic attitude, because I spent more energy being anxious about the future than I did just enjoying the little moments of my life.  I had to realize that there’s no use contemplating whether it’s going to rain, or whether or not I passed that test I took last week, because these are things beyond my control.  For me, letting go of some of this worry and negative baggage was the first step to living a more optimistic life. 

The second step on my road to optimism and positivity was taking stock of all the things I had to be thankful for, from the big moments to the little ones.  Instead of recounting all the hiccups and mishaps from day to day, I would focus on the positives.  If I had a particularly lovely day, I’d go home and write down all the things that had made me happy, even if it was something as minimal as having good hair.  Surprisingly enough - for all my fellow glass-half-empty thinkers - there’s usually more good you can find in your days than you would think.  Whether it was a fun dinner with my friends, a good grade on an assignment, or simply treating myself to dessert, it became the little things that gave me the most joy.

The last, and probably most important, measure I look in my transformation to optimism could be summed up in this simple cliché: fake it til’ you make it.  As someone who has often been diagnosed with RBF (aka Resting Bitch Face), I realized how I appeared to others, and how they reacted in turn, which might actually have a lot to do with my pessimistic perspective.  So, I began to make a conscience effort to smile a little more, and put a little pep in my step.  Surprisingly, I found that the more I smiled, the more I laughed, and the more positive vibes I sent out, the more people sent them back.  It seemed that something as simple as acting positive made me feel more positive, too. 

On my journey to becoming an optimist, I found that the world is a much better place when seen through a positive lens. Assuming the best of everything and finding positives in even the dimmest or most disappointing situations are the most rewarding things you can do for yourself - and honestly, for those around you.  So got out, put a smile on your face and remember that the glass is always half-full.