Hope & Optimism “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence” – Helen Keller
Before Taking Positive Psychology my thoughts were:
Before taking Positive Psychology, my thoughts were questions. What would such a course fully entail? Would it be merely about the psychological concepts of being positive, optimistic, and or less negative or pessimistic? Would it provide insight into overcoming stress or depression? I knew that prior to taking this course that ‘Positive Psychology’ would relate to emotions, inner strength, and optimism, but having completed the course – there is so much more. Positive psychology provides the vision and tools needed to expand one’s understanding of topics such as self-esteem, self-determination, wisdom, therapy, happiness, kindness, giving, creativity, relationships, hope, problem-solving, and the human mind. Before taking this course, the questions behind my thoughts as to what this course would or could entail, involves answers that are essential to life, and subsequently important that its impressions should be known by everyone. An Ah-Ha moment for me was learning about:
At first I thought, what an interesting mince of words; ‘Positive Illusions’. How can the idea or notion of positivity…be illusory? It sounds as if the concept can come across as…unreal; faux. The subject matter helped provide me with a very unique view, that sometimes being too positive and seeing yourself in an ‘enhanced’ way, can become an “…unrealistic sense of personal control…” (Carr, p.85). The theoretical views of positive illusion can cause a unacceptance of trials or tribulations where recognition and resolution may be needed. Where there is stress or emotional strain, one must learn to find strength and think not only optimistically, but wisely as well. And sometimes the wisest way of resolving unimaginable situations, may not always be the most ‘positive’ method.
Finding the true meaning: Optimism Vs. Pessimism
This part of the learning was an interesting Ah-Ha moment and eye-opener for me. Positivity and optimism may seem like concepts that should always be considered, but the human psyche must also take into account that optimism is not always the best route and sometimes a little backbone is needed as well. Positive Psychology opened my eyes to the ‘conceptualized’ component of hope and how its construct intertwines with the ideas of optimism. I have never thought of the two as one. Hope, I feel, is more spiritually or faith based. Optimism, I feel, is more psychologically or emotionally based. Nevertheless, I learned, more in depth, that both concepts involve emotion, deep- thought, belief, values, goals, behavior, benefits, and even risk. I was able to take in and understand the similarities between the two, as well as the controversies and therapies that are involved as well.
About the author: Penina Tinae is a Psychology major at Chaminade University. She attends school full time and also works full-time for a research affiliated non-profit organization. She is a proud military spouse and the mother of two wonderful children. She enjoys running, hiking, traveling, and playing guitar.