Optimism and hope are often misplaced terms. I would venture to day that thinking best is not optimism, and hope is not a plan. Running to positivity can destroy and overwhelm. Being a pessimist also does not help. Negativity can wreak havoc on your immune system, make life miserable, and so on. The metaphorical question is: Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? I reject the premise. In looking at the metaphorical glass with water, be the person who looks for more water.
In survival training it was drilled into me that a person can only last seconds without hope. Hopelessness checks a person out. Anxiety and depression overwhelm and various problems ensue. People can break. If this is you, GET HELP! The need to get help does not make one less of a person. We all need help to get out of this place. Getting help is ok.
This is the answer given by the pessimist. I read an article awhile back that stated how pessimists tended to survive difficult circumstances, along with realists, than optimists. Part of this reason is that when the glass gets shattered, hope is lost. That said, being a pessimist carries numerous problems. You have to live and embrace life. Taking risks and living life is held back by pessimism.
I am a glass if half full kind of guy, is a bad response. We love people who are optimists. Those who say they do not I have found deep down often do. There is a sweetness to the nativity that often comes from optimism. We cherish it, often because it reminds us of childhood. The optimistic picture is part of our world. Things really do work themselves out. It is dangerous, however, to ignore the dark side of things or distract ourselves from reality. One of those realities is we are mortal.
Optimism is not ignoring the dark side of things. I would submit that optimism is looking at the reality of the situation and then working towards a solution. Colonel Moore in an interview about his famous battle in Vietnam stated: “There is always one more thing you can do.” He credited the turnaround to that battle to that thought process. The purpose of the glass is not to hold water, it is to deliver water to you. The glass needs to be emptied and then filled gain, because you need water. While all metaphors break down at some point, rejecting the premise is still helpful. We need to look for the next thing. What is the “one more thing you can do?”
We cannot hide forever, either physically, mentally, or spiritually. God did not grant that life would be risk free or free from hardships. God did not paint a cynical view of life either, but He gave us a reason for hope and a motivation to come out of hiding a press forward. This is why God can say He wants us to have a full life, but also describe the hardships we will face. In doing so, we need to be people who look at the glass of water and seek to find more.