Is it better to be an optimist or a realist?

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Optimism can be a silent killer of relationships. It is the blind positive thinking that will stop you from realizing and addressing issues as they arise. Learn more about Optimism and Realism and which one you should inject into your relationship.

Being optimistic is viewed as seeing the glass half-full, identifying the silver lining, and simply always trying to identify the good in any situation. On its own, this is a great trait, and a required one if you have any hope of moving through life without a cloud of negativity.

Optimism can also hinder your progress, if it starts to play a different role in your life. Consider the following formula:

Stop: Using Optimism as a Crutch. Looking for the bright side of a situation helps you move forward – only seeing the bright side doesn’t. Usually, when we face challenges in life, we are forced to work through them, to learn from them and ultimately, we change for the better. If we acknowledge the positivity without doing the work of earning it, we don’t truly progress. This tends to happen when we want to feel better, but it truly is a masque from our own emotions. In a relationship, this can turn into taking our partners or family for granted, not thinking about how we can continuously improve and show up for our partners in a way that improves each other and the relationship overall.

Start: Using Optimism and Pessimism as Lenses. This allows you to apply the correct dose of pessimism and optimism to every situation. The optimism is required to show you the path forward, the pessimism is necessary so you can identify and work around the risks. Being a great realist is someone who can apply both with skill – and that takes practice and wisdom. This balance is always being adjusted, and believe us, life will throw you off balance from time to time. In this case, as a challenge enters the relationship, you are identifying areas of conflict, difficulty and friction in general. Your pessimism will keep you out of situations that are dangerous and not in your best interest. Your optimism will ensure you believe you can overcome the challenges that will ultimately make you stronger.

Result: The Realist’s Wisdom. Pay attention to your partner, your interactions, their outcomes and how they make you feel. Realize that you have to put in effort to ensure your relationships’ longevity instead of blindly hoping for the best outcome.

Instead of avoiding topics, don’t be afraid to ask questions and have difficult conversations with your partner. For help on how to prepare for the difficult talk and avoid the most common communication pitfalls, check out this article.

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