What is optimism?

We explain what optimism is and why it is considered a value. Also, messages of optimism and what is pessimism.

  1. What is optimism?

In psychology , ethics and philosophy it is known as optimism to the doctrine that tends to expect the most favorable things to happen , as well as to highlight the most positive and beneficial aspects of reality.

It is a spiritual disposition with many points in common with the concept of hope , and completely opposed to that of pessimism.

The term optimism comes from the Latin  optimum , which translates “the best”, and was used for the first time to refer to a philosophical stance by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz in 1710, in his philosophical treatise  Theodicea essays on the goodness of God, the freedom of Man and the origin of evil . According to this thinker, optimism starts from the assumption that the world we live in is the best of all possible worlds .

Artistic and cultural movements of central importance in the history of mankind, such as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment , often assumed optimism as part of their perspectives, as they were movements full of faith in humanity and tomorrow, opposed to times and previous movements such as the Middle Ages and the Baroque , essentially pessimistic.

This opposition between pessimism and optimism  has often been illustrated through the portraits of the Greek philosophers Heraclitus, the one who cries, and Democritus, the one who laughs, respectively.

These were then represented by masks crying and laughing, thus giving rise to the classic symbols of tragedy (a sobbing mask) and comedy (a smiling mask).
Those who adhere to this philosophical or psychological model are known as optimists.

  1. Optimism as a value

Optimists often face their misfortunes with humor and resilience.

Optimism is often credited with the ability to mobilize positive energies and promote better performance in man, by eliminating distress, fear and depression by autosuggestion (which leads to paralysis).

Optimists often face their misfortunes or mistakes through humor and resilience , getting the best out of what has gone wrong, and to that extent they can be much more successful than pessimists.

On the other hand, optimism is often criticized for its tendency towards self-deception and the romanticization of the real, that is, to fall into naivety and benevolence.

However, from the motivational point of view, optimism is always more productive and mobilizing than pessimism , even if the latter may be more realistic or more useful for criticism.

  1. Optimism messages

Some phrases and proverbs linked to optimism can be:

  • Who does not bet, does not win.
  • It is only defeated who believes it is.
  • If life gives you lemons, learn to make lemonade.
  • Every cloud has a silver lining.
  • He who falls is not weak, but he who rises strong.
  • To God praying and with the mallet giving.
  • The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
  • In a mind full of fears there is no place for dreams.
  • If at night you cry for the sun, tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.
  • There is no harm that lasts a thousand years, nor body that resists it.
  • No calm sea made a sailor expert.
  • Hope is the last thing you lose.
  • God squeezes but does not drown.
  • Everything in life is a matter of attitude.
  • Life is lived one day at a time.
  1. Pessimism

Pessimism is the philosophical and psychological tendency totally contrary to optimism, that is, the one that assumes that ours is the worst of all possible worlds and that everything that could go wrong will do it.

It is a critical posture and linked with negativity , as well as with the philosophical doctrines of nihilism , existentialism and anarchism .

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