I used to describe myself as a “relentless optimist”. A person who always manages to see the good and the possible inside every situation. “Relentless optimist” was my tagline, my cocktail napkin self-introduction and my Twitter bio. I’m done with that now.
Relentless optimism is a pathology, a psychological disorder, a dangerous delusion. The willful insistence that hiding inside every awful thing is something good just waiting to be noticed. Relentless optimism let me off the hook. It was a belief that good is the innate nature of all things and the work of life is just to walk around noticing the good, to somehow call it forth.
Magical thinking of a privileged life. I’m done with that now.
Let me now become known as relentlessly hopeful, a person who pays attention to things as they actually are, sees the brokenness of all things and finds places where, with sustained care and effort, good things can be helped to happen.