On optimism, realism and pessimism

In this day and age, it is not easy to be an optimist. It’s quite challenging to accept the abundance of difficulties each and every one of us goes through without experiencing some kind of damage in the process. Hope is often lost, standards are reduced to a bear minimum and the wings of aspiration are cruelly clipped off by reality.

But, in all honesty, though the harshness of day-to-day living is a problem, there is a bigger one that makes things even harder than they really are.

We strive to be optimistic people and to never be one of those negativity-emitting beings who are hardcore believers in Murphy’s Law. As a result, we say things like “May this be the end of all sadness” (يجعلها آخر الأحزان) and we believe it, thinking it was actually possible that the current sad event just might be the very last one we will witness.

Reality says: It’s not.

Life is not going to be free of hardship. Period.

How can one hope for, let alone expect, difficulties to stop. They vary in form and magnitude, but they do not end. Hardship is one of the very reasons we are alive. Quoting the Holy Quran: {لقد خلقنا الإنسان في كبد} – this verse is one worthy of pondering over.

How can one even desire something so whimsical; so extraordinary, as experiencing no hardship?

That being said, I wonder if this is a form of pessimism then?

Or is it realism? Consequently, is being a realist a form of pessimism in itself?

Is Murphy’s Law anything but realism expressed sarcastically then?

Never mind the cliches of the glass being half-full or half-empty; maybe it’s time to change perspectives and look at this from a new angle altogether.

Expecting hardship is not pessimism; it’s a matter of fact. Optimism does not mean hoping for the impossible, it means hoping for the attainable – the possible – and working for it. In this example, it is not a wish for the event at hand to be the end of all sadness, but hope that it leaves you with an epiphany that makes your future hardships easier to go through. Optimism is changing into someone more resilient; it is knowing the truth in its ultimate form and praying for the wisdom to withstand its consequences, not avoiding the truth altogether.

Realism is optimism in a way. If you are a realistic person who can distinguish between hope and fantasy, then you are indeed an optimist, and wise one at that.

But what do I know? I’m just rambling.

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