The world can be a terrible place. We see it on the news and in our Twitter feeds almost every day. Young pilots intentionally crashing commercial planes carrying 149 innocent lives into mountains, terrorists taking over cities in the Middle East, young women being raped on campuses around the nation. There are plenty of things that could make anyone want to throw their hands up and say “fuck it.” And there are some that do.
There are some who choose to hang their heads in defeat as they walk away from everything they could be helping to fix. They take the attitude that most of our current situations are hopeless, and that they are the warriors because they face that hard, cold, truth. They are the “realists.” They are more intelligent than the rest of us because they accept the world for what it is. They possess the ultimate strength.
Except, not really. I can’t tell you what our purpose is here on Earth. I can theorize forever, but in my journey, I haven’t found a solid answer. I’ve always had a feeling of what my specific purpose is as an individual, but the human race as a whole? I couldn’t tell you. All I can say is that I’m certain that there is one. I can’t tell you why all these bad things happen. I can’t justify every negative thing I’ve seen happen in my life with “there’s a reason for it,” although some things I can. Sometimes, it seems as though there simply is no reason. Strength, though? I can tell you a lot about that.
Strength is what it takes to keep living life to the fullest and trying your absolute best to remain happy and positive, regardless of all the negativity that may be thrown in our faces every day. Strength is standing up to the world and saying “fuck you” to whatever tries to bring us down instead of throwing our hands up and saying “fuck it” in defeat.
Strength is acknowledging the bad but living through it anyways. It’s about smiling in the face of adversity and saying, “bring it on. I can handle this. I got this.” Strength is not blissfully ignoring that there are problems with the world. Strength is fully recognizing them and refusing to succumb. Strength is fighting back against them.
Optimism takes more. It is more difficult to challenge the inequalities and unfairness of the world than to sit back and accept them in a seat of self-pity and recklessness. It takes more to push yourself to be better than the things you’ve seen than to simply accept defeat and be a non-contributing member to society.
I mean, think about how truly easy it is to sit back and say, “well, that’s just the way things are” and then proceed to do nothing to fix it. If everyone did that, how far would we be as a society today? All of the game changers and most influential people in history have made a difference because they believed in something better. They looked at what was wrong with the world and refused to settle for it. They tried to bring the light to everyone who was blind to it.
Throughout my life, I have far too often encountered individuals who hold the “that’s just the way it is” belief, and they come off as pretentious, like the kind of people who would look at an optimist and say “ah well, ignorance is bliss.” We are far from ignorant, my friend, although we do find bliss in the things that life has to offer.
We dig through the rubble until we find a diamond. We stare at dark, shapeless clouds until we see the silver lining. We stare into the eyes of fear and sadness in a blinking contest that we refuse to lose. We see the atrocities of the world and we keep going because we believe that if the world stopped and everyone accepted things as they were, the planet would only deteriorate.
We are optimists. We see the bright side and aim to make it brighter, because the only way you can wash out darkness is with light. And that is no easy task. Optimism takes more.