Often in life, we gravitate towards people who are ‘positive.’ What does this word mean exactly? For most, it alludes to an attitude that is upbeat, future-oriented, happy, and overall lacking a certain factor of gloomy glumness – to put it one way. Many experts advise most people to adapt to this sort of happy-go-lucky personality to maintain a healthy outlook on life; to promote those peppy endorphins; and to just stay happy!
But the truth is, shit happens – excuse my French. People go through their share of pain, heartache, failure, disappointment, and some good kicks in the privates. These setbacks often result in a temporary lapse in the aforementioned ‘positivity’ because it’s only natural to get down in the dumps every now and then. But there seems to be a large gray area between being 100% positive and completely negative. I believe I’m an inhabitant of this drab-colored neighborhood that I like to call Realism. I rarely write my posts from a hard first-person point of view, but I felt that as such a prime example of this situation – it might be more effective to do so.
So, what is being ‘realistic’? In my opinion, it is an attitude that so often, and unfortunately – so easily leans itself towards being negative. And who likes to be called negative? That word just alludes to traits like depressive, pessimistic, poisonous, and overall lack luster. But negative people also have little zest for life, don’t work as hard, rarely find happiness in small things, and don’t have dreams they’re hoping to accomplish. Being realistic is nothing close to this.
Realism is accepting your life as it is, and understanding the circumstances at hand. It’s dreaming but not expecting; hoping for big things, but not feeling as if they’re deserved to you; knowing sickness, death, and sadness could knock at your door at any second, but not waiting around for them to. Rather, being realistic is waiting for life to happen to you and taking things as they come, but making promises to yourself that you’ll deal with them as you want to. It’s preparation, not invitation.
There is such a huge difference in being realistic and negative that I think it’s completely unfair to interchange them because the truth is that realistic people do chase their dreams – as I’m chasing mine everyday. But I prepare myself that I may not accomplish everything that I’ve “planned” out in my life because life might have other plans, and that’s not a depressing thought to me, as it is to many who may hear me say it. Why? Because I’ve prepared myself for that reality. How many times have you heard someone say, “Everyone thinks it won’t happen to them, until it does blah blah blah”? It’s the truth, and on one hand I think to myself that I will be that person that amazing and unbelievable things happen to, but I also know that my chances of encountering the terrible things in life are just as even. I’m not superhuman, so why would I be any different? This is being realistic, not negative.
On another note, being realistic is understanding that any day, anything can happen. I don’t take people for granted because I actually knowledgeably and purposefully make the effort to appreciate – not because I’m a better person, but because I’m trying not to run with human instinct of thinking everything will be the same tomorrow. Being realistic helps me to do that. It crushes me when I think about how I rarely see this attitude returned – not just towards me, but towards most people. Try to bring this topic up, and I’m thought as negative, cliche, and pessimistic. There are some who will agree with this idea, but how many take action to change their ways? Very few.
Being branded as a negative person is the biggest misunderstanding I’ve ever had to deal with. If someone could really and truly step into my shoes, they would perhaps understand why I am the way I am. Ironically, there are people who would be shocked to hear someone call me negative because they have praised me as being an extremely positive person. Why? Because what they associate with positivity – the enthusiasm, go-getter attitude, zest for life – they’ve seen in me. I don’t have those qualities everyday because I just simply can’t. And perhaps that’s my Achilles’ Heel and so-called ‘negativity’: the inability to be over-the-moon optimistic everyday. But to these people, I’d like to ask to look around them. There are accomplishments in my life I am amazingly proud to have achieved, that I am in awe to have reached – because when opportunity knocks, I never don’t answer.
I hope and dream big, but I’m not so vain to believe I am deserving of wonderful things in life. And it’s not a statement that I make to ask for sympathy or pat on the back with some generic words of motivation. It’s the absolute truth! Horrific things happen to absolutely angelic human beings and just the opposite to those who we say are ‘undeserving’. But my gut says that I’m not the power who gets to decide who deserves what, so all I can do is be realistic about what I can accomplish with what’s on my plate, right now, right here. And that is the gray area between being positive and negative: it’s being 100% realistic.
Do you ever feel misunderstood in this way? Leave me a comment and tell me about it.
- Changing Negative to Positive (socyberty.com)
- Pessimist, optimist, or realist? (frootbat31.wordpress.com)
- Are you optimistic or pessimistic, and why? TED U audience responds, and so can you (ted.com)