Optimism and/or positivity are things that can lead us to do stuff that we always plan on doing but couldn’t do because of someone or a situation or sometime ourselves, holding us back. These always feel like an internal motivation mechanism that helps us to strive for and do better every day.
But there always are times when this internal motivation mechanism fails us. We try to find reasons to be optimistic in even the darkest of situations by not accepting those negative thoughts. This is what tragic optimism is the exact opposite of!
So, then what is tragic optimism?
Simply put, tragic optimism is the antidote of toxic positivity. It offers a realistic perspective on a crisis situation that someone could be going from. That could be a feeling of grief, loss, or a particular suffering for an individual.
Tragic optimism tells to experience the tough times in its whole, acknowledge them, all the while maintaining the hope of ‘This too shall pass’. This philosophy rests entirely on the fact that we need to embrace our sufferings with the hope that things will get better.
The calm amid the chaos
Everyone experiences tough times. Those are the times where many people feel that things are going to completely fall apart. Or feel like everyone stands against you to see you fail. Many of us let these feelings take the better of us and they overwhelm us with negative emotions.
Let’s consider the work from home scenario during the pandemic days. When it first started, many of us were a tad bit happy that we get to work from home. We just had to roll over from our bed to the desk and start working. Even though we didn’t know till when we will be doing this, people were happy to do it.
But as we ran deeper and deeper into the lockdowns, people’s perception about working from home started to take a hit. The importance of the physical connection and in person meetings started to creep in. A very few numbers of managers even started calling their teams to office as soon as the government relaxed any rules for movement.
Those days showed us that many of us tried to embrace the situation and adapt to the changing times. Heck, many of us also accepted that this is the new normal and we just are going to live with it till things become better! Tragic optimism was slowly, but positively, becoming rampant and people started becoming flexible in just getting the work done rather than cribbing about where it is being done from.
Growth after stress
Our low times are extremely tough. Those negative feelings create a mindset that this is the only reality we will have and it becomes tough for us to sometimes see past it. That’s why it is all the more important to remember that we all are a part of the the club called the ‘Human being club’.
This club gives us the exclusive benefits of saying that ‘It’s okay to be anxious’ or ‘It’s okay to be sad’ or ‘It’s okay to cry.’ These are all feelings that make us human and help us embrace our difficult times.
But the fact remains that we cannot let these feelings to overpower us. There will be efforts on our side to understand how to deal with these feelings. But it will always be better than to keep a wry smile on our face, grin, say that ‘It’s okay’ and bear the weight of these emotions.
Lastly, I will leave you with this GIF from Lion King which perfectly encapsulates tragic optimism