Is It Optimism or Denial

This past week I heard a psychologist say that many optimistic people are simply people who are in denial. My first reaction was “WHAT in the world was this woman talking about?”

Here are my thoughts . . .

Definition of optimism: From American Heritage Dictionary - A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.

Definition of denial: From American Heritage Dictionary - An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings.

I am an opened minded person but I fail to see a connection between having a hopeful and positive attitude with being unconsciously defensive.

To me, optimism is an asset. I know that it is my optimistic attitude and belief system that will see me through the rough spots and the trying times. I also believe that with optimism and positive action I will attract positive opportunities into my life. I’ve seen it happen often in my own life - optimism has been able to opened many doors, doors I may not have seen if I had been focused only on the negativity.

Studies have reported that optimistic people are healthier, happier and more successful. In times of uncertainty and stress, it is very important to hold tight to your optimistic attitude. Researchers have found that optimism physically fires up a very important portion of your brain that increases the ability to create positive answers to challenges.

Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. Toshihiko Maruta, reports that optimists have a dramatically higher level of physical and mental functioning than pessimists. “How you perceive what goes on around you and how you interpret it has an impact on your longevity, and also affect the quality of your entire life.”

To me, optimism is the ability to overcome negativity by focusing on the positives. When we don’t allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the negatives of a situation, we give ourselves the ability to rationally focus on finding positive solutions.

I’ve probably gotten off on a tangent about optimism vs. denial but I was honestly offended by what this “expert” was saying. My advice: Keep your optimism firmly in place and work toward making the future bright, hopeful and successful.

Copyright © 2011 Sharon Michaels – All Rights Reserved


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