Optimism and Spirituality
Are optimistic people happier than people who are not optimistic? Is optimism an inflated view or thought process of the world? Is seeking spirituality connected to optimism? Well, yes and no. Being optimistic is different than being happy. There can be an upsetting situation where a person is not happy but has an optimistic view that the situation will become better. Optimism is a different view or thought process compared to non-optimistic people but does not mean it is an inflated view. For example, in a same situation scenario, the perception of the situation will probably be different between optimistic and non-optimistic persons. And seeking spiritual enlightenment usually means there is hope or belief of something better which can be fueled by optimism. Heller posits that “An authentic spiritual life is balanced, conscious, and leans towards wholeness” (2016) which are qualities that can be found within optimistic people.
Optimism effects the thought process that allows for having positive perception of many life events. This difference of perception compared to non-optimistic people, allows certain health benefits such as less negative stress and coping positively to adverse situations. Another benefit is where optimism is hope and with hope is a yearning for positive self-growth such as seeking a deeper spiritual connection. When seeking spiritual connection, many daily activities such as employment or personal life, have a greater sense of worth and meaning. This happens because seeking a higher spiritual self can allow for greater understanding of how everything seems to connect with each other and with this knowledge there is a need to have the circle complete and have positive meaning.
Optimism and spiritual development can have a positive impact in the workforce. A common negative sentiment among employees of any company is misunderstanding of, disdain for, or lack of tolerance towards management. When there are negative feelings of other people at the workplace, it impedes if not closes communication. Being able to communicate in a positive manner is an essential life skill for development, trust, and growth. These are also important in the work place. One way to achieve this in the work place is by fostering an optimistic atmosphere. An optimistic employee may have different, more positive perceptions of events in the workplace. Such as when a policy is changed, instead of being upset and resisting, the optimistic employee would see the bigger picture and meaning behind the change and not resist.
In personal life, optimism can change complacent attitudes and behaviors into actionable ideas and desire to change for the better. For example, I have struggled with my body weight going up and down and up again because I need to take medication that causes weight gain. When I am in an optimistic period, I strive to make by body healthier through exercise and eating a nutritious diet. When I am not as optimistic, I am more willing to do nothing while still wishing things would change. Another area in my personal life that optimism is a key factor in success is when I am more active doing things, I enjoy such as camping, fishing, sitting around a campfire. When I am not feeling optimistic, my activities levels suffer. The same holds true for my social activities and composure. Optimism is the fuel that drives my desire to succeed.
Optimism is different than being happy because happiness is a feeling while being optimistic is a state of mind that enables a person to grow, such as seeking a spiritual connection. Optimistic people generally perceive the same situation differently than other people. It is our perception of events that lead to our actions and behaviors. Optimism can provide the desire for spiritual growth because it provides a sense of hope and wanting to grow and become a better person. In both the workplace and person lives of people, optimism provides great benefits because of the changed perception of events which allows for a greater range of thinking.
Heller, S., LCSW. (2016, April 03). What is Spiritual Materialism? Retrieved November 9, 2018, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/what-is-spiritual-materialism/
Written by Joe Felker