“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
~William Arthur Ward
In the struggle for identity, which is a unique battle for each one of us, we inevitably wrangle with the ideas of optimism versus pessimism. We might see ourselves as one more than the other, depending on the self-image we wish to portray.
If we are given to positive thinking, and strive to be appreciative, optimism will win the day in our demeanour. If, on the other hand, we are given to negative thinking, which is being critical for good reason, pessimism has won the day.
Both optimism and pessimism may have their appropriate times, but what is far more useful is realism. To be realistic in every situation is the wisdom, a gift, of seeking the truth, first and foremost.
Being realistic has no room for the emotional nuance that is pandered to by our felt needs. To be neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but to hold out for reality, is the adult mindset of the one who is realistic and, therefore, spiritually balanced and mature.
Seeing Down The Middle – Straight Between The Two
It’s true that to be realistic we are neither overly liberal nor overly conservative in our approach to life. Beyond politics, for we see ourselves perhaps as more Liberal or more Conservative, there is a time for both—liberalism and conservatism.
But living life at an accord consistent with realism is our best favour.
When we are realistic we see with correct sight, we discern with a considered heart, and we think with a mind for truth.
Being realistic is seeing down the middle, straight between the nemesis on each side—positivity and negativity. Being realistic is the right mood for all occasions. Being realistic is adjusting the sails of life to cater for the winds, the problems and opportunities, which beat upon us.
When we have the ability to see beyond optimism or pessimism, for we see life as far too complex to be pigeonholed, we invite further inspection of many things for realism. The realistic is the gold of truth, gilt-edged with the silver of integrity.
When neither optimism nor pessimism convinces us as to its way, we have found a way to control our emotions. Realism holds no threat for the person seeking the truth.
In a world that fights to be either optimistic or pessimistic, we can choose to be realistic. Being realistic is superior to being optimistic or being pessimistic. Being realistic opts for the truth as it is, and doesn’t compromise by accepting a lesser, more partial, version of truth. Being realistic values the truth first, and insists on processing the emotions, so that they might eventually conform to the truth.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.