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Optimism or naïvety?

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    I’ve been working on being more positive and looking on the bright side of things. The thing is, my brother thinks I’m too “naïve” and that I should be more of a “realist.” I tell him that just because something seems impossible, or say… “too good to be true,” doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Does anyone else think this way?

    Thinking about how I might actually be in denial makes me feel anxious.

    … I’ll go have an existential crisis now. LOL.


    I try to be positive but I realise there is a line between optimistic and pure pollyanna thinking (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollyanna_principle)

    For example I know there are horrible situations in the world and I do read things online but I havent boufght a newspaper for over 30 years because I got sick of reading nasty negative stories all the time. Thats not denial its simply not immersing myself in negativity.

    If I get rained on (like this morning) I can at least reason that if this has happened on the way home its positive because I can just get some dry clothes on and its not a disaster. There is nothing wrong with trying to see life with a positive outlook and happy people draw others to them miserable people push people away.

    There is one lady I know slightly because of her dog but I avoid her as much as possible because she tells you every ache and pain shes had  since you last saw her ,  how frayed her nerves are and how awful everything is and it really drags your mood down.

    You can be a realist without being cynical..



    Cassandra, thanks for the reply. That’s such an interesting perspective and I understand you completely. I myself, have cut off a lot of social media because of how toxic it is. I don’t even touch Instagram, barely graze over Twitter.

    I admit I might be slightly cynical, I sometimes can’t help doubt people’s intentions. I know not everyone is out to get me, yet my brain switches to self-defense mode. I guess that’s why I try to force so many positive thoughts and on anxious days, it spirals into self-doubt on whether or not it’s denial. Do you think I should meditate to fix this problem? Because I really hate feeling like I’m alone when I’m clearly not. It makes me feel guilty.

    As I was typing this, I remembered a saying from my language, translated into:

    “To turn away from love is ungratefulness, and to doubt sincerity, sin.”


    Meditation can help , so can mindfulness.

    Also putting things into perspective,  a fear of flying is common yet more people die in household accidents than in plane crashes so rationalise fears or doubts that will help.

    I dont like letting people into my life or into my personal business and yet I have to do this sometimes so I rationalise with myself. Can I solve this problem alone? No, then find an expert, Yes then get on with it.

    A pretty saying (“To turn away from love is ungratefulness, and to doubt sincerity, sin.”) but one loaded with self shaming if you let it.

    You have to be strong within yourself  to accept love and you often dont recognise sincerity at first glance. So dont use this saying to beat yourself up.

    Try to focus on achivements rather than defeats and hold one positive thought from each day.

    I dont have any religion but I love the senitiment of this

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference.


    (old as I am I still hope to find that wisdom)



    I understand. About the saying, I don’t find it “self-shaming” at all, never even thought of it that way. If anything, it only reminds me of the blessings all around me and how I’m only hurting myself by putting up a wall. There is another saying, “If the bitterness of life takes away the sweetness of your tongue, you have lost.” I like to pair the two together: in short, things aren’t as bad as they seem.

    Regardless, thank you for the advice, especially about the single positive thought. I believe that would really work; as well as the beautiful quote. Wisdom to know the difference… Life would be a whole lot easier with it. 😀 It’ll take some time to achieve but… we’ll get there.


    There’s a big difference between being a realist and being utterly cynical and negative. On the other side of the spectrum: there is a big difference between looking on the bright side and being Pollyanna. Plus, looking at the good side of life does not make someone naive or ignorant or even innocent. You can see the positives in people and still understand they’re not perfect and have a dark side.

    Plus, being more happy than unhappy does not make someone selfish or self absorbed: it means they’re content with their own selves and love themselves. This will attract others to them: not push them away. Plus, being friendly does not make someone naive and being sunny and happy doesn’t make a person big-headed.

    Everyone has a right to be here and I have to say being optimistic is better than being a “realist”. Because being negative and miserable doesn’t help anyone out.


    Also, nothing was ever made better by being miserable about it!


    [quote quote=203037]Also, nothing was ever made better by being miserable about it!


    Blakey in ‘On the Buses’ lol



    Brilliant, SpinningJen!


    Ugh, I’ve met so many men who call pessimism “realism” … I don’t know why, but I feel the male species is very cynical by nature but they like to try rationalizing everything.  Men are highly emotional and irrational, but like to think they’re governed by logic, and tend to put down people who look at things in a happy way.  I’ve been called “naive” so many times myself.

    I don’t think it matters what he thinks … he’s entitled to be miserable if he wishes to be.  You do you, and I’m glad you’re able to look at things in a positive way and keep your optimism.  Please don’t let him transfer his issues to you and bring you down.

    I really relate to a lot of things you’ve said, and I feel for myself therapy is helping quite a lot.  If you can find a good therapist, you might find a lot of benefit from talking to someone.  Meditation helps too, if you can find a group you feel comfortable with then you can certainly get peace there too (I really enjoy yoga)


    I’ve always been a very positive person but I’d hardly call myself naive. I can be quite suspicious and I value critical thinking, actually. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the positive side of things while still being realistic. If we believe things can work out and that inspires us to do the work to make it happen, then that’s a very positive way to live. If we believe we can just sit back, do nothing, and everything will work out sunshine and roses then THAT’S naive.



    I think you’re right, cindiaugustine. Assuming things will turn out right and not doing anything ourselves is naive.

    I am like you, in the sense that I can also be suspicious of others motives. No one does something for nothing and everyone has some kind of motive: whether good or bad. I never accept people at face value: although I can appear to. I act positive, but am not naive. And some people do assume friendly and nice means innocent: they are wrong. I like to present a happy front, but I am not like that in my thinking. However, I am not negative: just realistic – without being a pessimist.


    It is odd, but I can be incredibly negative yet often feel I’m in a good place. I know this makes no sense, but I am  a mixture of positive and negative. But I am a deeply emotional person. Sometimes my mood switches from one to the other. But I do try to see the bright side of life. But I can’t let go of the evil events that happen in the world. I know there are people who are pure evil: and this gets me down. But I also know that I am not and don’t deserve their bad karma. Because some people have hurt me in the past: yet I am still friendly. I know there is good in a lot of people, but I also know the negative. It is sorting through positive and negative that is hard sometimes.

    What about you?


    I don’t know if it is the same thing Kitty but I had an experience the other day which was similarly good and bad. I was in town and bumped into someone I had been friends with for several years online but had never met. We got on really well and were chatting for so long that I only got half the shopping done. For some reason later I felt really depressed even though I was very happy I had met her at last. I put it down to being tired but it was odd.


    I read your post with interest, SpinningJen: I felt that way a few days ago myself.

    I had been to the supermarket and the suchlike, but after coming home, felt down. I had been happy talking to people, yet on my own, felt miserable. Now, I do get along with people, but my mind can twist things. This is part of the reason for seeing  a counsellor: although that is in another thread.

    I have found small things can bring me down. I do believe – because of this – happiness isn’t a feeling that is permanent: it has to be cherished and grown like a flower. Bliss/joy/ecstasy/paradise/etc. aren’t something you can capture in a jar, like a butterfly. Because as soon as you open that jar, the butterfly flies away.

    Happiness has to be nurtured. Being negative and blaming others, etc. does not work, either. There has to be a balance between positivity and negativity.

    Some philosophy.

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