True Optimism Often Involves Getting Over One’s Self

still life conceptual image with a text saying the future is so bright

Many things I’ve penned in the past have had a pessimistic tinge to them. This was honestly because many verses and essays I’ve written were meant as critical observations and meditations over present-day crises. Chief among these many crises is the inability for so many of us to get over ourselves and our own petty problems.

I’m not saying we should go out and try to solve all the world’s problems. But, we do concern ourselves too much with trivial things. We often concern ourselves too much with idle distractions, guilty pleasures, and meaningless amusements that inevitably do us more harm than good. We spent so much time distracted that we don’t realize that if we just got over ourselves, we’d be a lot happier.

That’s what I see is wrong with the paradigm in our society today: it’s relentlessly self-indulgent with a side of narcissistic entitlement. Unfortunately, our society is so focused on want, greed, and self-fulfillment. But this idea of self-fulfillment is uninspired and has become married to credentialism and at times even nepotism.

There are very few truly productive avenues of employment in today’s society. Too many people are resigned to the idea that their lives in the grand scheme of things are pedestrian and uninteresting. So, most people give up on their dreams before they’re even given a chance to pursue them. This means most of us lead uninspired lives, self-absorbed in pity, frustration, and envy.

What happens when we lead uninspired lives? 

Many people tend to gravitate towards crazed obsessions with escapism and masturbation, both literally and figuratively. Our world today is full of fantastic ways to indulge in our baser pleasures and instinctive desires for raw carnage and wanton sex. Yet, much of the time we‘re led to believe by our peers that we are merely “unwinding.” But, when it’s said that we’re merely animals, the tragedy has made itself apparent.

I’m not going to preach about the many flaws of humanity and how the past several decades have seen the human race in a steady intellectual and moral decline. Yes, technology has improved dramatically. But, look how dependent we have become on it. Rather than use tech to connect more effectively and efficiently, people have become slaves to the little machines they carry around in their pockets and handbags.

It’s so easy today to be impersonal and still feel a large degree of self-importance, just because you have so many likes, shares, or followers on social media. People go on constantly about things that really don’t matter at all. It’s one thing to have a hobby, but completely another to have your life consumed by it. Unhealthy obsessions today are not at all uncommon. Heck, some, like Netflix “binge-watching,” are even socially acceptable. 

I’m not going to come out and say that I’m totally selfless. I certainly haven’t mastered the art of getting over myself just yet. I have plenty of my own vices and plenty of little unhealthy obsessions. One of them is spending far too much time pondering the apparent impending doom about to come over the earth.

You’re Not Perfect, Just Be the Best You Can Be

Really, you can’t be a Saint, no matter how hard you try. I know folks who try so hard to do just that, and they’re perfectly miserable in trying to do so. It’s not that devoting yourself to a noble cause is wrong by any means. But, you have to remember that we live in a world where the lowest common denominator is sinking day-by-day. Until a major paradigm shift occurs in our culture, it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

You have to admit that you’re imperfect and that nothing can change that. That’s the first step in getting over yourself. Some people really do think they’re perfect little angels. But, then you reach the other end of the spectrum, those that take imperfection to its ugliest and most perverse levels. Even this, to a point, is considered acceptable as an “alternative lifestyle” when it’s actually self-destructive. 

There’s no middle ground here. You’re either damned, or you are pitying the damned. That’s when you have to get over yourself. Stop worshiping your own imperfections or imagined perfections. You take the very best you have and you commit yourself to the best possible cause you can find. Don’t mind what other people have to say about it. Do it for your own reasons, but don’t let yourself get in the way, either.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve always had trouble with finding just the cause most worthy of my full commitment. My indecisiveness has let me fall into the throes of melancholy and has led to my often complete lack of optimism. Of course, it’s hard not to be pessimistic when I look around me. But I have to remind myself that most people have put on blinders and don’t see what’s right next to them or even just ahead of them.

Still, even when I’m not feeling particularly optimistic, I try to help others to look on the bright side. People need to look forward to when things will actually get done and not just drag on forever. Right now, the vast majority of humanity is just dragging its collective feet, hoping for a savior to show them the way. This simply isn’t going to happen. We must find the compass within ourselves, join hands, and take steps forward together.

But before we can move forward, humanity first needs to take a step back, and realize just how much we’ve lost ourselves in our messes. We need to get back to intelligent discourse, beautiful art, and true cultural progress. Poetry needs to come back into the common vernacular, bringing life back to our words. New verses of great heroes and inspiring tales need to be written. Maybe then we’ll find just the fuel for a little more optimism in our daily lives.

~ Amelia Desertsong <3

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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