Is your glass half empty or half full?

Laura Christopher

At a certain age, fairy tales lose their magic, dreams seem further out of reach, and the bad things about life seem easier to believe in.  Of course, there are still those stubborn optimists that refuse to believe anything but the best about life.  But is that healthy?  Maybe cynicism is needed as a protection device as we get older, or else hearts are left wide open to get broken and hopes are free to get crushed.

In college, certain things need to be faced.  We get further away from make-believe and imagination, and closer to the looming “real world.”  Some of us had to let go of our dreams to become an astronaut or a pop star, and take on majors like Accounting and English.  Responsibility is often hand-in-hand with letting go of some of the things that are dreamed about.  But there still are those who refuse to give into the dreary parts of life; those who always see the rainbow behind every rainy day, and can always make lemonade out of the sour lemons life hands them.  Are they foolish and naïve for thinking so optimistically?  There is a fine line between childlike and childish.  So the question remains, who is better suited in this world: the optimist or the pessimist?  Which one is healthier?

“There is a very large body of research headed by Martin Seligman, research psychologist at the University of Penn, that demonstrates the benefits of optimism. Pessimism has been linked to depression, physical health problems, and low levels of achievement,” explained Dr. Leslie Parkes, assistant director of Villanova’s Counseling Center.  “The thinking is that optimistic people reduce distress in their lives by perceiving bad events as temporary, limited and not their fault. Unlike pessimists, optimistic people take credit for the good things that happen in their life and view positive life events as more common and frequent than bad events. This seems to help protect them from depression and other mental health problems.”

While it seems optimism is the way to go according to health professionals, some people seem to disagree.  These people look at pessimism as the smarter, safer way to go emotionally.

“I used to always be optimistic, but I always felt like I got let down.  I try to look for reason things happen.  I guess sometimes if you start with low expectations you can only be pleasantly surprised,” said junior Emily Lagrotteria.

Maybe it simply comes down to a personal choice.  What is better for you as an individual in this world?  Or maybe it’s just outlook you develop over time, after you go through the events of your life that make you who you are.  

Eventually you may realize that sometimes Prince Charming turns out to be just a charmer and sometimes the good guy is not always the winner. Maybe that is not you being pessimistic but realistic.  Although, you may possibly never take off your rose colored glasses and you will eternally believe that the next good thing is just around the corne