I was reading through some of the comments on your previous posts and I just wanted to reach out because I feel like there are some things that need to be addressed. You tend to see the world in a “rosy” way, and I think a lot of people are confused as to why this is. Or rather, whether you are choosing to look at the world through this lens, or if you actually believe that the world is all rainbows and sunshine. I believe, given one of your earlier articles, it’s the first, but I thought I would reach out to give you an opportunity to address these comments again.
-Looking for Clarity in Lacey
Dear Looking for Clarity,
It’s kind of humorous that you ask this question right now. It’s actually a comment I’ve received a lot throughout my life because people don’t tend to know the background and intentionality behind my perspectives.
To get the initial question answer, yes, my perspective is intentional. My life has not been all rainbows and sunshine, nor am I blind to the struggles of others. I’m fully aware of the dark spaces in the world, and I’ve certainly had my share of negative experiences and depressive moments. So, when I say things like “people are innately good” or “things are always working out for the best,” it’s not because I’m unaware that people can do really cruel things or that life can really suck sometimes.
The reason I choose to look at the world through a “rosy” perspective is that I don’t see how any other perspective is actually beneficial.
Now, obviously, “rosy” refers to a plethora of perspectives, so I’m not saying that there is only one way to look at a situation or circumstance, rather than it’s more useful to look at any situation from a perspective that can lead to a positive outcome.
“What can I learn from this?” rather than, “this sucks, life sucks, and I just want to crawl back in bed.” We all experience those negative moments at times, but it’s only by embracing the potential good that we tend to notice the opportunities that exist in any given moment.
So, going back to the concept of people being innately good. I regularly get comments like, “why don’t you just state the facts? People are selfish, greedy, and out for themselves,” or “you just don’t understand how the world works. Give it time, and you’ll see the truth”. These comments don’t really suggest that people are innately good; in fact, these comments tend toward the opposite sentiment.
All people, no matter their age, race, skin tone, sexual preference, religious beliefs, etc., experience pain in their lives. Suffering is a universal experience; there really isn’t a way around that. Sometimes things go wrong, and there’s nothing that could have been done to stop that from happening. These pain moments tend to send us into a negative spiral, which often leads to more negative experiences (as our friends and family don’t really want to hang out with a frustrated, angry person), and it can be really easy to fall into a pattern of behavior. This pattern of behavior, repeated over time, leads to a belief (generally something like, people are selfish and only ever look out for themselves).
And while it’s understandable to hold this kind of belief (give the pain), for me, it always comes back to “how is this belief helping me?”. Negative, cynical perspectives tend to lead to more experiences that match, just as positive, optimistic outlooks tend to lead to positive, optimistic experiences.
To express this more tangibly, let’s go with the example of finding love. We’ve all had bad experiences with other humans. I, for one, had a childhood bully who picked on me every day for years. He and his friend even went so far as to throw snowballs at me with rocks packed in. Not a pleasant fellow.
Given how early that experience occurred, I could have easily determined that all boys are cruel, hateful creatures, and it would be better for me just to avoid the whole lot.
If I’d decided to adopt that perspective, though, when the time came that I actually had an interest in finding a romantic partner, it’s unlikely that I ever would have found an actual “partner.” Instead, because I believed all men were bad, I would more likely have wound up in a relationship with a man who was abusive, angry, or controlling (aka a man who matched my belief of what men were like).
There is no doubt that bad things happen and that some people will give you a hard time; that’s a given. However, you’re going to attract a lot more of those experiences into your life if you believe they make up the majority.
For me, that’s not worth the risk. I would rather experience more positive interactions and then make allowances for the exceptions. So, in an effort to set myself as well as I possibly can, I choose to believe in the best possible outcomes, and I would encourage others to do the same.
Thanks for the question,
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