Optimism-A tendency or disposition to expect the best possible outcome, or to dwell upon the most hopeful aspects of a situation.
If Optimism is a virtue to loving another person, what does this look like? The word has been used and overused so much that it seems to lose some of its value.
In relationship, you naturally want to be with someone who is optimistic. Negativity is a downer. It is heavy. But on the other side, if you are with Pollyanna or Mr. Sunny Side up, it could be nauseating. We all want a real person to relate to. Where is the balance?
The difference is not in the balance of reality vs. optimism. The difference is in how we view the possibilities as opportunities.
I find that over-optimism may not be realistic. Yet, reality is also something that can be changed by allowing optimism to flavor the effect of the reality. Have I lost you yet?
Here’s the deal. Optimism is about changing your perspective even when the situation does not look favorable, or when you don’t know what the situation really is yet. Optimism in a relationship is not about control or manipulation.
Have you wanted something so badly that you did everything possible (out of desperation) to control the relationship for your benefit? Optimism is allowing the best for each person. It is about surrendering, yielding.
In Spiritual circles it is called holding the space for another person- instead of looking at all the negative aspects surrounding the person or event, you begin to hold another perspective, another outcome that is surrounded in postive love.
It is the same for prayer. Prayer is entering the grace of God with your petitions, your desires. But prayer should not be a way of control or manipulation. Prayer is optimism wrapped in faith. It is trust that whatever the outcome, it is for a greater good.
Optimism in a relationship is three-fold. I have to hold myself in the spirit of optimism. I have to believe the best about my life and that no matter what the situation, it is the situation where I can learn, grow, and be better. I have to be responsible for my own wounds and hurts of the past and all the trigger points that come up in relationship. In other words, I can’t throw all my trash out there for him to clean and pick up. I also have to hold myself in compassionate arms.
The second part of relationship and two-fold is the person I am in relationship with. It is easy to blame another person for my disappointments regarding them. When I start trying to control situations with my expectations of another person and how they are supposed to make me happy, or define me, or do something I think I need, I began to see this person in a dim light or negativity. I create the reasons why I am unhappy with them and begin to make a case for why I deserve better or need to leave. Or they make the case to leave because I have made them wrong.
Holding my loved-one in the most optimistic light carries responsibility. It carries action. I can hold an optimistic viewpoint by appreciating them. This is hard to do if I have dug a big hole of blame and hurt regarding my partner. Women are very powerful in a relationship. We do not realize the power we hold in our words, in our optimism about the person we have chosen to love and be in relationship with. I believe that we are meant to not only enhance a man, but that we are the key to making a man even greater than he was before we knew him. We are meant to hold him in the highest optimism-without manipulation or control.
Appreciation is the partner to optimisim. It can be the stepping stones out of the hole of negativity and blame. I come out of that negative space by appreciating the smallest act or behavior of the other person. I bring the virtue of kindness into play. It may be as small as a thanking him for the way he always puts the lid down on the toilet. Or the way he keeps the garage neat. I tell him how I appreciate his thoughtfulness. I begin to build my appreciation and it shifts the relationship.
The three-fold part of the relationship is the “US.” Couples tend to forget they are a team, they are one. The attitude of being in relationship beyond yourself and for the two of you becomes a synergistic dynamic that bonds the two of you together. It is what we long for as human beings. We came from a place of one and we want to live as one, and also as a person with free will and choice. Relationship thrives with both of those human needs being balanced.
In the past, I gave up on my relationships too soon because all I could see was my own pain, my own ideas of that person not fulfilling what I wanted and needed. I didn’t physically leave the relationship, but I after awhile, I gave up optimism about him and us. I felt ignored, but in reality I was not holding myself in compassion and the best outcome. I wasn’t feeding myself the milk of kindness and trusting in the other person for the best outcome.
Now, I want a relationship because I see how much I have grown, and I want to hold the one I love in the best possible space, in love and in optimism for who he is and more of what he wants to become.
Optimism requires looking beyond and believing in what you know is possible. It involves not giving up. It involves faith.
The last person I dated- someone who I felt a great connection and great optimism for a favorable relationship decided to end it. I know why. I have learned a great lesson about what I did that kept him from feeling successful in the relationship. I would like to try and undo this, and I am optimistic that it might work out. The day before he called me, two very important thoughts came up for me. I realized that I needed to make a conscious decision to apply these actions toward him. “I will hold ______ in a positive light.” and “I will always think the best of _________, even when I do not know [his whereabouts, his feelings, etc.].”
I had been struggling with my own fears about being ignored. I had buttons triggering off inside my psyche that had their nasty feelers out. We had not seen each other, due to his traveling, for three weeks. When he called me and told me his decision, I told him these two things. I really meant it and still do.
Optimism can be practiced in the very room with the person standing in front of you, or it can be practiced with that same person thousand of miles away. Call it prayer or holding a loving space, but when you open your heart and surrender to the best for this person, you are practicing the virtue of optimism. And when you practice this virtue, you are also holding yourself in the best optimism.
I wish you all the best possible outcome, the best possible relationship with the one(s) you love and hold dear.