Stuck in Optimism:
A few weeks ago, my sister and I were chatting about emotional intelligence and regulation, and decided to take a series of psychology tests to explore our own behavioral patterns. We got to talking about key areas of growth, and this conversation came up:
Me: What do you think is the #1 realization I need to make?
Sister (after some thought): Your unwavering optimism is one of your most admirable qualities, but maybe it could do you some good to venture beyond it.
Her saying this encouraged me to explore optimism from a new perspective—particularly, how it can act as a protective or defense mechanism if unregulated. Sometimes, we’re so comfortable in a state of optimism that we reject (and frankly, miss) the things that don’t fit into it. For example, the recognition and acceptance of occasional failure. Let me explain.
What it Means
Optimism and gratitude are so deeply embedded in my core that even on the bad days, I’m almost always able to walk away with a heart full of gratitude and hope. Although a powerful trait on its own, this mindset not only runs the risk of keeping me content in the status quo, but also puts me in the very real danger of dismissing the occasional failure too quickly.
Failure and optimism can co-exist. In fact, true optimism means making the most of each failure by fully accepting and learning from it.
If optimism is a defense mechanism, venturing beyond it requires a new level of vulnerability.
Being more intentional about how I measure success at the end of each day. The failure / lessons I learn along the way are just as important as the mindset I leave the day with.
I’m the luckiest sister alive.
Sister (n): the person who holds up your life mirror as you apply your life “make-up”
This conversation made me realize that maybe the parts of me that I’m most proud of are also the parts that are holding me back from who/where I could be. Grateful for this new perspective and excited to see where it takes my journey.