I’m grateful for optimism.


I am grateful for a core of optimism. Sometimes I see it as a small, resilient shard of sunflower-yellow glass lodged deep in my heart; even when I think all hope is lost and I am swallowed by an endless dark, it’s still there, like an immutable fact.

I believe strongly that optimism is self-compassion. We can choose how to see things, and choosing to see the good– searching for it, reaching for it– is being kind to ourselves. Everything, after all, is a matter of perspective. A German acquaintance taught me a great saying: Alles was passiert ist erstmal neutral. Everything that happens is first neutral. We are what we are, it is what it is. Everything else is labelling and judgement. Everything.

Just as brutal honesty only serves to maim, as one of my very first newsroom bosses advised a fellow reporter once (I was 19, sitting nearby, and I have never forgotten it), choosing what to see and from what angle to see it is as much self-compassion as it is compassionate to others. Why would we surround ourselves with the worst-tinted glasses when we choose what glasses to wear, how to respond to any given situation, how to view it, how to weight it in importance, and so on?

I’m grateful for both that sliver of intrinsic optimism and the chance to overtly learn optimism, even if it was helplessness that I was taught, growing up. This is a great article on that: Why people self-sabotage their happiness.