Recently, I’ve had a couple of discussions about optimism, probably because this word is floating around so much these days that it’s randomly infiltrating my bar talk. For the record, I consider myself to be an optimist, however, I know there is such a thing as too much "bright side" banter.
For example, I remember a high school guidance counselor having sickeningly optimistic posters in her office. You know, the one with cat hanging from a ball of yarn that reads, "Hang in there!" or another that reads, "If you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
Seriously, hog-tie me if I ever start saying stuff like this.
Timing is important with optimism. Naturally, when a friend tells you she has cancer, you wouldn’t pat her on the shoulder and say, "Don’t worry, be happy!" However, a reasonable amount of optimism is refreshing, especially considering the older I get, the harder it is to find.
People -- including myself -- sometimes become jaded after, oh, 30 or 35 when we realize life is, for most of us, a little less grandiose than we thought it might be.
I try to teach optimism to my kids, but like most things, it has to be modeled. Words alone are not enough, even though saying positive things is ideal if they are said with sincerity.
It’s annoying, for example, when Facebook "friends" continuously post negative status updates, yet nobody wants to read, "Molly is smelling the roses, making lemonade from lemons, practicing positive internal dialogue and sipping from a half-full glass."
I suggest more optimism in '09, but indeed, there’s a point when it becomes flat-out annoying. Optimists beware.