Is it ok to be an optimist?

Optimism (as described by Oxford Dictionary)


[mass noun]

  • 1 hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something:the talks had been amicable and there were grounds for optimism
  • 2 Philosophy the doctrine, especially as set forth by Leibniz, that this world is the best of all possible worlds.
  • the belief that good must ultimately prevail over evil in the universe.


I began writing this piece with the title ‘is it ok to be a pessimist’, following a conversation about ‘the future’ where I seemed to dampen the mood considerably with my rather miserable outlook on life. I sat down, ready to write a visceral polemic on my distain for the optimists of the world. Then I stopped and took a look around me. I saw the grey, grim face of reality, suddenly it dawned on me, optimism was dying and this was NOT something to be welcomed.

I believe the partial cause of decay is due to the evolution of the word optimism over the last decade. The traditional optimism was a happy-go-lucky type of chap (or chapette for you budding Feminists). Someone who accepted life in a carefree and positive manner. With the ‘progression’ of our society I feel that the current meaning of optimism has been maimed and shrouded in suspicion. The present day optimist is regarded as infantile and foolish and the title of  a pessimist has become synonymous with a realist.

In our dog-eat-dog world we no longer accept the role of optimism in our repertoire of personality traits because it has become devalued in our modern society and brings us little commercial or material benefit. But really, in your heart of hearts do you believe that there is no goodwill left in the world, no innocence, no kindness? I asked myself this as I was sat here, and I realised that no, no I don’t feel this way. Deep, deep, deep down in the recesses of my consciousness there is always that sliver of light, that fragment of hope which creeps back, optimism always spawns in the most hopeless of situations.

I used to class myself as a diehard pessimist, and publicly I still would, because to be an optimist in Western society today is to be weak. I may seem a hypocrite but I implore you take a second look at life if you truly are a through and through pessimist.  Because yes, bad things happen  in life, but there are so many beautiful things and good people which survive.

My name is Lisette and I am a closet optimist.

down with the pessimist

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