Become More Optimistic: Finding the Silver Lining in Life

Learn how to shift your outlook on life to see it through a more optimistic lens

Since undergoing some major transformative healing experiences during my youth, people generally consider me to be an optimistic person. I quickly built a reputation amongst my friends and colleagues for being a positive guy who always looks at the bright side.

For the most part, it’s true.

Of course, I have my rough spots. I feel hopeless at times, but those moments are always temporary. It’s not a permanent haze, but rather moments of inner work and growth. Once I process the experience, I always come out the other side, feeling even better than I did before.

So my understanding of optimism has changed over the years. It’s not something I do. Optimism is a mental program reflecting how I feel on the inside.

Some people suggest that optimism is a disposition of your genetics, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

Optimism is a reflection of your internal state. If you are deeply hurt, your view of reality will reflect this hurt. If you are emotionally clean and on a path of personal growth, your outlook will reflect this.

Fortunately, anyone can become more optimistic by healing themselves and adjusting their worldview. If you have trouble seeing the silver lining in life, here’s what you can do.

How does optimism improve your life?

Optimistic woman enjoying life

Being optimistic is a reflection of your emotional health, your environment, and your views of reality. Although you don’t want to pretend to be optimistic, genuinely seeing the world more joyfully is something we all can achieve.

When you become a genuinely optimistic person, your life improves in so many different ways. Of course, optimism makes you feel good, but it also drives positive change in life.

I owe a lot to my ability to be optimistic. It has encouraged me to build a much better life for myself – One where I know I can achieve what I set out to do. I feel good about my life, knowing that it’s always progressing, and will only get better as long as I apply myself.

Some benefits of optimism include:

  • A reduction in stress
  • Less worry about the future
  • You become more hopeful
  • You have a higher zest for life
  • Optimism can inspire action
  • Better management of emotions

Optimism makes you feel powerful, energetic, and hopeful about the future. It gives you motivation and makes your whole life experience much more enjoyable.

What makes people optimistic?

Being optimistic is largely dependent on how healed you are because it’s a reflection of a healthy emotional body. If you are emotionally healthy, naturally you will feel optimistic because there is no emotional baggage weighing you down.

There’s a strong correlation between a person’s state of well-being and their perception of life. People who have a lot of trauma tend to perceive the world through a pessimistic lens.


  • A healed person is naturally optimistic and joyful.
  • A wounded person is naturally pessimistic and miserable.

I’m not saying this is always the case, but a rule of thumb. Wounded people feel miserable. Misery seeps into their perceptions and outlooks about themselves and the world.

Therefore, healing is what truly moves the needle when it comes to optimism, because the more healed you are, the more genuinely optimistic you will become.

It’s important to note that you don’t want to pretend to be optimistic. If you’re pretending to see life in a positive frame, you’re bypassing doing the inner work, and it will cause you more harm than good in the long run. This is spiritual bypassing and you can read more about it here:

Optimism versus Pessimism: What's the difference?

Optimism exists along a spectrum, with the opposite side being pessimism.

The middle ground between these two outlooks is realism. Realism is a neutral outlook that favors negativity as much as it does positivity.

Optimistic people generally see the world as a wonderful place, filled with excitement, adventure, and opportunity. They are generally hopeful and believe that things will inevitably get better.

Optimists tend to unconsciously focus on the pros rather than the cons of any given situation. This is usually considered a desirable outlook as optimists tend to be happier and more at peace with the outcome.

Being optimistic doesn’t mean pretending that your problems don’t exist, or that everything is always good. Doing this will cause more problems in the long run. Being optimistic is to genuinely see the good side of everything, but to still be rational and realistic.

Pessimism on the other hand is a negative outlook. Pessimistic people tend to see the world as a dark place, in which it’s only getting worse.

Pessimists tend to focus on the cons of any given situation, and focus on what is, or could go wrong.

Due to their negative outlooks, pessimists can be bitter, miserable, and lack appreciation for the good in life. This outlook can put a damper on positive feelings about oneself and the world. This is why it’s good to steer clear of pessimism.


Pessimism is a negative view of the future which acts as a spawning pool for painful feelings and misery. 

Pessimism generally involves:


Realism is a view of reality that has neither a positive nor negative connotation. It is to see reality through an unbiased and objective lens.

Realism generally involves:


Optimism is a positive view of the future that encourages positive feelings and emotions about oneself and the world.

Optimism generally involves:

How to become more optimistic

Woman expressing content

Becoming more optimistic isn’t something that happens overnight. Cultivating optimism occurs by creating shifts in your perception which facilitate a lighter way of seeing your life.

Here are some ways that you can begin transforming your outlook, to see the world more optimistically.

Look for a win-win situation

Acknowledge that there is always a way where everyone can benefit from the situation.

Viewing life through a competitive lens where one person must fail to ensure the success of another doesn’t instill optimism. It’s better to look for a way (and believe in a way) where there’s a solution that works for everyone involved.

Therefore, seek out outcomes that mutually benefit everyone involved to get out of the mentality that someone must lose for another to win.

Look for the silver lining

Some of the best experiences in my life transpired from things going wrong. It’s normal to go through the motions, but there’s often a better situation for you waiting around the corner.

There is always something to gain from every experience, regardless of how difficult it is. People who learn to see the bright side of any given situation tend to become more optimistic.

Being let go from your job might be a stressful situation that causes painful feelings, but can you view it in a way where you benefit in some form too?

The silver lining could be:

  • The job wasn’t ideal in the first place
  • You didn’t get along well with your peers
  • You can now spend more time with family
  • You can work on the avocations you keep putting off
  • Opens up new opportunities
  • Opportunity to rest and recharge

Of course, allow yourself to feel those painful emotions, but also shift your focus towards what you can gain from the situation at hand.

Whenever you’re caught in a difficult situation, ask yourself if it could be a blessing in disguise, and how you may benefit from the situation in some form.

Put it into perspective

When you view yourself as the center of the world, every trivial matter becomes a major ordeal. Sometimes, you need to put it into perspective and acknowledge that an undesirable circumstance is not the end of the world.

Whenever I feel like I’m in an unfortunate situation, I think about people who have it much worse than me such as:

  • People who are in extremely difficult situations
  • People who are homeless or in extreme poverty
  • People who have had much less fortunate lives than I have

When I think about people who objectively have it much worse off than me, it puts my situation into perspective.

Suddenly, the problems won’t seem so bad. It becomes easier to feel optimistic about your future knowing that you have some major advantages, regardless of what you’re going through.

Next time something comes up, think about how lucky you have it, and the daunting walls will shrink into small hurdles.

Reframe the narrative

Our lives are webs of narratives because narratives allow us to make sense of who we are and what we’re doing here.

Some people will construct the narrative that they’re victims of the world. Others will create a narrative that humanity is self-destructing and we’re approaching the end of our civilization.

But do these narratives bring you joy? Do they cause you to see the world in the brightest possible light? Or do they cause pain and disintegration?

Begin rewriting a better narrative to live by, and be aware of what ideas you’re constantly reinforcing to yourself.

You can learn to rewrite your narratives by following the link below:

Appreciate the little victories

Be grateful for all of the little victories that you have daily.

Most people give special attention to every negative thing that happens to them but turn a blind eye to all the things that go right.

If you’re stuck in traffic, you’re probably going to notice the undesirable situation. But do you notice the times when you have a clean run? Do you pay attention to all the small things that go right, or normalize them?

To become more optimistic, you need to build a habit of appreciating everything that goes right. Paying attention to the positives helps you cultivate gratitude – Which causes you to feel more optimistic.

For a deep dive into gratitude, read the article below:

Don't skip the inner work

Being optimistic is not about throwing a tarp over your worries and pretending everything’s fine, nor is it about alluding yourself to a false sense of positivity.

Needless to say, things will happen from time to time in your life – Things that are out of your control. If you want to genuinely become a more optimistic person, do not repress negative emotions when they surface. Don’t deny the bad things that happen.

Some situations won’t be fine, we are human. Don’t pretend that everything is always good because you need to be authentic, feel these emotions, and let them drift through.

Don’t pretend that everything’s good, but understand that it will be okay.

When you accept your difficulties and confront your issues, a weight will be lifted from your shoulders. You will be able to see the future with zest and excitement.

Don't make assumptions

You can learn to see situations in a different light, depending on the narrative you give them.

If you don’t know the full story behind something, be careful not to assume the worst. By assuming the worst-case scenario, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. By assuming more positive alternatives, you’ll release a burden from your shoulder.

Learn how you can reframe situations below by using a cognitive reframing technique:

Listen to inspiring stories

As we tend to embody the messages we hear, the stories and ideas we’re exposed to can be taken to heart – Resulting in a more optimistic or pessimistic outlook. We don’t always want to take things to heart, but humans are naturally impressionable.

If you’re constantly listening to people telling you about their failures, or how hard it is to make it in life, of course, it’s not going to instill optimism.

On the other hand, if you’re regularly listening to inspiring stories and surround yourself with people who are encouraging you to do better, you’re likely to feel more optimistic because of these influences.

Therefore, it’s important to be selective about what sort of messages you’re soaking up.

I’m not saying to turn a blind eye, but perhaps be more selective about what sort of energy you’re exposing yourself to. If it’s mostly negative, consider giving yourself an arm’s distance from these influences.

Reassess your priorities

Pessimism is often born from superficial priorities or unachievable goals.

If making money is your whole world, you might not feel so great if you’re not where you want to be. How can you stay motivated when your goals are so difficult to achieve?

I suggest making your priorities intrinsic.

Don’t aim to be rich, aim to be satisfied with what you have. If you set internal qualities over material pursuits, you’re bound to feel more optimistic because your goals aren’t only easier to attain – They’re fulfilling.

As long as you value your personal development over any external gain, you will always win because the toughest experiences usually yield the biggest rewards.

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