Know Thy Self

The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he’s an optimist after it he knows too little.” – Mark Twain

The other day I posted a picture of a Dove chocolate wrapper that said, “Embrace optimism” on Instagram. One of my friends from college commented, “I think it’s safe to say you’ve been giving optimism a bear hug for your whole life!

She’s right – I’m a congenital optimist. It took me 42 years to realize year to realize it’s a trick of the mind because I came with it installed. And then it’s taken me 10 more years to figure out what things I get wrong because of my outlook. That puts me a little behind the curve according to my Mark Twain quote, but I’m working on it. It’s the subject on my post for the Pointless Overthinking blog: Rose Colored Glasses.

25 thoughts on “Know Thy Self

  1. Hope your stomach is feeling better!

    I too am an optimist, although I label it “pragmatic optimist” to be specific. We really have two extreme choices to view life – half glass or half full. And I’d rather be optimistic than a pessimist, as I think it’s healthier for yourself and those around you.

    But gaining self awareness through life experiences is also a blessing. Helps us approach a rosy outlook with checks and balances in place.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pragmatic optimist – that sounds perfect. It reminds me of the quote, “People who wonder if the glass is half empty or full miss the point. The glass is refillable.” And you are so right – it’s the checks and balances I need! Thanks for weighing in with a wonderful approach to life!

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  2. I don’t think that I’m any one specific sort and I also can think of various times in life that I’ve been every one. Does that make me a flexible realist? I can honestly say at this point, given our social and world situations I am fully engaged in the pessimistic realm.

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    1. That is so interesting, Deb. Maybe flexible realist is a good way to put it. Maybe you put on the lens you need for any given situation – how useful is that! And the state of the world and this country…I hear you.

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  3. It’s in my genes

    When my father’s firm was struggling towards bankruptcy, a team of bankers flew down from London to meet him

    Over dinner, after hearing his earnest plans amidst a hopeless situation, one of the bankers was so moved that she got up and hugged him.

    My father never gave up. And he taught us all, long after he is done, to never give in

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow, Ananda – that is a powerful story and legacy. I love it!! Thank you for sharing. It seems my friend you have no choice but to be an optimist. 🙂 ❤

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  4. I tried on the optimist hat too soon! I was involved in my first marriage to an alcoholic and I was in the 1st fundamental church I attended, so putting up a fake facade was important to be able to live under those circumstances. My false optimism kept me blinded to my reality, but I was emotionally invested. I think I would have been better off not wearing the rosy glasses! LOL!

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  5. I always liked that South Pacific song, “I’m just a cockeyed optimist…” – “they say the human race is falling on its face and hasn’t very far to go. But every whippoorwill is selling me a thrill and telling me it just ain’t so. I could say that life was just a bowl of jello and appear more intelligent and smart but I’m stuck like a dope with a thing called hope…” My first marriage mirrors what you and Tamara discussed, but it wasn’t a reason to give up optimism. It was a revelation of how alcoholism and addiction play out in the next generation, and good news, I got out in time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness – I love “I’m stuck like a dope with a thing called hope…” Love these lyrics – I’m so glad you posted them.

      And I’m so glad that you got out in time. Your comment about it not being a reason to give up optimism is really powerful. You’re right – no reason to give it up but I’m glad we can temper it with wisdom over time… 🙂

      Thanks for a great comment!

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  6. Love this description of you, Wynne,” You’ve been giving optimism a bear hug for your whole life!”
    If I didn’t believe in “There is a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how long and dark the tunnel may be”, I don’t think I would have been able to deal with the ups and downs of life at all.
    Optimism and the unwavering faith that you have to do your best but, “Why worry when Someone is in your corner”, are precious gifts given to me by my Mum and Papa.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love how you describe your legacy from your parents. Optimism and unwavering faith – what a perfect combo, Chaya! You are right – we do have to believe in the light of the tunnel otherwise it all becomes a trudge, at least for me. What a wonderful comment – thank you for this gift!

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  7. I also naturally tend towards optimism though it certainly has led to disappointment. When things don’t turn out as planned, expected our hopes should we keep dialing up the optimism or reassess our outlook? Are we Sometimes setting ourselves up by not curtailing the optimism with reality?

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    1. Wow, I so relate to this comment, Evelyn! I have trouble dialing back the optimism — but I’m getting better at realizing it when I’m being optimistic and that self-corrects my expectations a bit. What have you found?

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  8. As a creative writer and story-teller, I have a tendency to write the script for what I hope will happen. The problem with this is that I’m often writing another “character’s” part in the story–without giving him his lines/action ahead of time. Misunderstandings and disappointment follow. I’m a work-in-progress…still.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So beautifully said, Evelyn. I remember reading a section about unexamined and unexpressed expectations in her book, Atlas of the Heart. Reading through, I realized just how many expectations I form without even thinking of them. I think we are all works-in-progress — and that holds a lot of hope!

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