Is It Realistic to Be an Optimist?
You know that life isn't sunshine and roses all the time, but you don't want to be Debbie Downer either. So, when is the glass less than half full and how positive is too positive? Dr. Joan Borysenko reveals how to become an optimistic realist and why it might just be the best way to live.I'm an abject failure when it comes to practicing the law of attraction. At 5'4" and somewhere in the vicinity of 120 pounds, I complain loudly and often about thunder thighs and the sad state of my once flat belly. Looking in the mirror and repeating affirmations about being svelte feels ridiculous. The shape of my nether regions affirms the naked truth. I am a pear with cellulite. Without miracle surgery, I will never be a model for either skinny jeans or, God forbid, swimwear.
Optimistic friends lecture me on the dangers of such negative thinking. But here's the bottom line: It works just fine for me. I still wear the same size jeans that I did in college. Rather than labeling my attitude negative, I call it realistic, and realism rocks because it makes the next necessary step more obvious. "You've gained 5 pounds, Joan, better cut down on those carbs. Now."
My favorite quote is by the mysterious William Arthur Ward, whom Google does not identify: "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." Realists who look circumstances in the eyeball without flinching—even if we're just talking about 5 pounds—take necessary action. Working with the forces of the moment, they consciously co-create their own best future.
Why it's good to be a realist