I know a lot of pessimistic people. They are convinced that if they look forward to something they will ultimately be disappointed, and they also believe that the very act of being optimistic will actually cause the other proverbial shoe to drop.
Question: When was the last time that simply thinking one way or another about something changed the actual outcome? Oh that’s right, NEVER.
Just the same as worrying has never once made a difference in how something was going to ultimately turn out, “not worrying,” or choosing to be excited and optimistic about something, also does not have any bearing on how something is going to happen. But being optimistic and looking forward to things DOES have a huge effect on our reality BEFORE it happens, and it can make our life a lovely, happy, and uplifting place to be.
I’ve heard many people say that when they are planning a trip, often times the “looking forward to it” part ends up being better than the trip itself. Same goes for when they are going out to a fancy restaurant or planning a party or special occasion things like that. What’s so interesting about that outcome is, the planning part of these things is entirely within our control. When we get to the special event or vacation, most of what happens there can be completely out of our control. Things like bad weather, a shortage of restaurant staff, unclean hotel rooms, and other unforeseen circumstances can really put a damper on what was supposed to be this great time that we had looked forward to. But let me be the one to tell you this: These unfortunate things were going to happen whether you worried about them happening, or whether you didn’t even think about them happening, or whether you fully expected them NOT to happen. So you might as well enjoy the time leading up to the special event because then you at least had some happiness and excitement in your everyday life as you looked forward to something that was going to be potentially wonderful and tremendous and beautiful. You cannot cause anything bad to happen by being happy about it beforehand, and you cannot prevent bad things from happening by worrying about them ahead of time. Period. End of story.
A big key to choosing happiness is to always have something to look forward to in your life. It can be something small, like meeting a friend for coffee on a Saturday morning, it can be something big, like a trip to Hawaii, or it can be any measure in-between. Having that next thing or things to anticipate with joy and enthusiasm can often make the difference between a happy life and an unhappy one.
And if the thing that you were looking forward to ends up disappointing you, well then you can chalk that up to “this is how things turn out sometimes” and move on to the next thing. Disappointment is never a reason to give up hope for something better around the corner, and just because one thing didn’t turn out the way you expected is no guarantee that the next thing will have the same result.
Many people fall into this trap - with relationships, with jobs, with all aspects of their lives. They believe that since the last person they grew close to hurt them, that the next person will too, as will the person after that and so on and so on. Lots of people think that because they had a few jobs that were unfulfilling or discouraging that all jobs hence forth will be similar. It’s very easy to remain pessimistic and sour toward the really important things in our lives, so that we avoid being disappointed in the future. But I for one, would rather have weeks and months of joy leading up to something, followed by a possible disappointment (that would be shorter than the “looking forward to it” time), than have all of that time being miserable and negative while I expected things to fall short of my expectations. Yes, it prevents us from disappointment, but it also prevents us from living our lives as happily as possible
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” - Helen Keller
Without optimism, we have no faith. Without optimism, we have no hope. Without optimism we have no joy.
Choose to be optimistic and make it a practice in your life. Always always always have something to look forward to, and spend your energy looking forward to it. You won’t regret it, no matter how the thing you optimistically anticipated turns out, I promise.
Make the choice. Choose optimism and happiness.