The Importance of Being Optimistic
The Importance of Being Optimistic by Kerry Mahony
In times of despair, hope is a word that can easily be forgotten. We can get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to look at the good things and become so focused on the negative aspects.
I myself am guilty of this. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the negative things in life, and sometimes I feel absolutely consumed by college work, deadlines, money issues, even problems on the larger world scale.
We are living in a time of great tension. It feels as though communities and families are divided – differing opinions are seen as the enemy and it is difficult to find a safe space where open discussion is welcomed and encouraged. Facebook and Twitter have become battlegrounds in which wars of words are fought.
It’s hard to not get disheartened living in a world wrought with so much unrest. I turn on the television and see world leaders spouting discriminatory language about women, people of colour, refugees, the LGBT community. Ireland, the country I grew up in, currently seems like a dichotomy. We have made incredible strides in progress over the last few years, yet in some ways we are still very much old-fashioned. Sometimes I feel so discouraged by our world that it seems like there is no way forward.
This isn’t the right way to look at things, however.
It is important to keep in mind the things that bring us joy in life, and in times of uncertainty we can draw on these things for comfort and reassurance. I often remind myself that I have a wonderful family, caring friends, a great social life in college. All of the smaller issues will soon pass – I know that I will tackle that essay, repair the conflict I had with a friend,
The bigger problems are less easy to solve. How are we meant to make any impact in the world when we are just one person? Although we can often feel like a small fish in an enormous pond, it can be fulfilling to make small steps to try and change the world for the better. For me this means contributing the causes I feel strongly about. I try to go to marches when I can, to post on social media about issues that concern me, to talk to my friends and aim to facilitate open discussion. In this way I feel I am making a difference, and I truly believe that all these small acts add up to become the driving force behind monumental change.
We must always have hope. I believe that it’s crucial to find light in the little things; whether it be having coffee with a loved one, laughing with a friend, or the warmth of walking in the sunshine on a good day.
One those days when it seems impossible to get out of bed, when you do have that feeling of being a tiny, insignificant fish in the ocean of life, don’t let the tidal waves submerge you. Simply lean back, relax, and just float.