People dismiss me a lot.
More often than not, people keep me at an arm’s length because they don’t quite “get” me.
“You need to calm down I can’t handle your enthusiasm right now.”
“I can’t really expect you to relate to this.”
“You’re like an overly-optimistic machine.”
“I feel like I can’t have a real conversation with you.”
“Don’t talk to me today, I’m having a rough day and can’t deal with your happiness.”
For those of you who have heard these exact words, let me say from the bottom of my heart: I’m sorry.
For those of you who have said these exact words to someone else, let me tell you a little bit about the happy-go-lucky person in your life that you can’t stand.
We have been through more than you know.
Many people are quick to dismiss us as people who have lived easy lives without knowing any sort of pain or grief. When in fact, it’s the exact opposite. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single optimistic person I know has dealt with some sort of intense pain that most people don’t know about: disease, abuse, neglect, addiction, divorce, loss, grief, betrayal, depression, etc.
Just because we live our lives focused on the beauty and the good in this world, doesn’t mean that we can’t and don’t acknowledge the darkness. The optimist in your life will likely be your number one fan, source of encouragement, and confidante…if you let them.
Your comments hurt more than we’ll ever let on.
Optimists like myself are incredibly resilient, but not in the way you think we are. You think you can say anything to us, thinking our happiness can deflect any sort of negativity thrown our way. While outwardly we may appear this way, inwardly we take these comments to heart, and may even try to adjust our attitude to fit the needs of others. Contrary to popular belief, optimists are not machines who can smile through any negatively charged remark unscathed by its effects. The truth is we feel and we feel very deeply.
I’ve heard every single one of those comments listed above in this past year alone. What hurts is that most of these phrases come from well-meaning people who would never say those things if they knew how badly it hurt me. To me it’s like they’re saying, “Stop being who you are because who I am can’t handle it.” As someone who places a high importance and need for emotionally intimate relationships, these words cut right through me.
When faced with comments like these, optimists will more than likely brush these comments off externally and be the person that someone else needs them to be. This chameleon-like tendency, while seemingly harmless, can actually do a lot of damage to our inner self-concept and self-esteem.
We would do anything for you.
The optimist in your life isn’t just a smiling face who is only capable of small talk and nothing else. We are the people who you can discuss your hopes and dreams with. We are the ones who can help you see the good in the grimmest of circumstances. We are the people who will cry with you when you’re hurting and will rejoice with you when you’re feeling on top of the world.
We are the people who will listen to you for hours in an attempt to understand, because we know what it feels like to be misunderstood. As I mentioned above, most of us have felt pain and we have felt it very deeply. Let us see the dark parts of you and we will show you how bright you really shine.
People these days glorify the saying “I put walls up so I don’t get hurt.” But optimists tend to wear their heart and love where everyone can see it. We don’t want to shut people out, even if letting people in is what can hurt us the most. As much as we’ve been hurt or broken by letting others take hold of our hearts, it’s who we are, and the world should quit dismissing that. We are brave. We are hopeful. And yes, we genuinely care about you.