In general, I try to focus on the positive, to hope for the best, and to give the benefit of the doubt. I sometimes wonder, though, how far that should be taken.
Does it make sense to always believe in the good even if it means that often you will be disappointed? Does it help to hold onto hope in the face of evidence that leads one to believe that maybe it just isn't practical? What is the proper place between being naive and being cynical - is there such a thing as being realistic and if so, how do you find that balance?
I always try to encourage others to look for the best of situations, to consider alternate reasons for seemingly bad attitudes, and I try to embrace this outlook myself. But often, I find myself being berated by others for being naive or blind to the way the world works.
Many people I have encountered have a seemingly bleak view of life, though as someone pointed out to me, even though they speak of the dark side, they rarely act on it. Most people do act as if they care about others, even if they will say that they are out for only themselves.
So, which do you do - always expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised when things turn out better than you were planning, or expect the best and sometimes get disappointed? And is there a possible balance between the two?
As much as I have been disappointed, I am unwilling and incapable of getting rid of my optimism, my belief in the fact that people really do care about others, just because they are fellow human beings. I believe, as Aristotle says, that we are inherently social beings who need each other to survive. And in needing each other, I think we would prefer to look for the good, and focus on the positive. Maybe I do get disappointed on occasion, but I feel that my overall outlook leaves me better off on a daily basis. And I would rather suffer the let-downs rather than have a negative view of the world. I hope that no matter what life throws me, I am able to maintain my optimism, even if it means that I don't get my scales tipped over once in a while.