Use Some Perspective, Why Don’tcha?

Christina - Chantilly, Virginia
Entered on September 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

The general population, I have come to realize, finds me to have a rather pessimistic personality when they initially meet me. A much smaller part of the population has discovered however, if they take the time, that I am actually a stubborn optimist. While I approach things with a seemingly cynical view, I have one firm foundation which keeps me rational. I believe in perspective.

When you keep things in perspective, you will never lie to people. If I constantly tell my depressed, self-conscious friend that she is gorgeous, the only thing that will come of that is she will look in the mirror, hear my bubbly “but you’re so beautiful” echo vacantly in her head, and toss out every opinion or compliment I have ever given her. If I say instead, “You’re right. You don’t look like a model, but honestly, I think you’re pretty cute”, she is far more likely to take my compliment at least into consideration. This means I have successfully planted a seed in her mind which might have the chance to grow into self appreciation someday. The blatant dishonesty that happens when optimists start “lying for the sake of others” is probably the main reason I believe in keeping perspective. If we cannot be honest with our friends out of fear of hurting them, who can we be honest with?

The second good trait of perspective is it does not allow for optimistic, cookie cutter cliché. One of the seemingly pessimistic things I believe is that the world is inevitably going downhill, but I can turn that pessimism into perspective by saying either “…luckily it’s a long hill and we probably won’t live to see the bottom” or “…humanity has lived this long, it might just be able to survive long enough to change its ways.” Silver liners quote, “Once you hit bottom the only place left to go is up!” which I find entirely unhelpful. If you can sit down and laugh at a bad situation, it will immediately seem brighter but when someone optimistic comes along and quotes something cliché, it only gives empty meaning.

At the core of it, keeping to perspective is about being honest with yourself and those around you; it is about keeping a little laughter in your life even when things get their gloomiest. I believe in perspective because I want to stop focusing on all the bad in my life but I do not want to lie to myself and others to make things seem better—I do not want to pretend away problems. “Life never gets as bad as it wants to be” is something I have said many times before. No matter how bad the situation is, things could still be worse. Nothing is as bad as it seems, but conversely, nothing is as good as it seems. There is always another way to look at life. I believe in seeing every perspective for its worth.