3 Signs Someone Is Genuinely Optimistic, Not Faking It To Manipulate Or Appease

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Two friend truly happy laughing together

Life can still be frustrating, especially when you get handed some lemons. Optimism can help, though, to give you hope for the future. But we have to be careful with optimism, as this can lead to delusion if a person is also not also dealing with their problems. Pretending everything is OK doesn't make things OK. In fact, false optimism can lead to serious emotional explosions and cause people to be mistrustful.

Optimism cannot replace hurt, it is merely a tool to help a person heal and a goal to be found during the process.

False optimism means that, Instead of accepting a situation and working with it, a person is brushing it off — all while resentment builds. 

While optimism has wonderful benefits, there's nothing wrong with acknowledging you're going through a rough patch and need to face the situation head-on.

With these benefits in mind, it's also key to know when someone else is faking their optimism so you can ask to see their authentic self ... or run the other way.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Be Truly Authentic, According To A Psychologist

Three signs that someone is genuinely optimistic & putting in the work of healing

1. They accept reality and work with it.

Happy people have terrible, awful days. They get upset, and bad stuff happens in their lives. I call this a plot twist. Plot twists are the universal 'whatever' since 100 percent of people have them show up in their lives. The secret to true happiness is how happy people respond and where they focus their attention when life takes a twist.

When we focus on outside events, other people’s bad behavior, terrible situations, or the swirl of what went wrong in the past, we end up feeling negative emotions. It’s a bumpy and disempowering road when we try to control reality. Happy people accept reality, using it as a springboard rather than a roadblock.

Being easily offended, taking things personally, and getting angry all take emotional energy. Happy people let a lot roll off their backs. They have learned to 'let go' to move on with their life.

Negative emotions are like a black hole, if you get too close or hang out in them, they tend to suck you into their gravitational pull, and it can be challenging to get away.

Genuinely happy people don’t waste time being upset with the plot twist. Instead, they pivot and shift their attention toward what they have the power to change. Namely, they spend their energy proactively considering what they have control of, like what they say, think, and do.

This inside-out focus generates a positive influence in most situations. Positively influencing a situation leads to feelings of empowerment. Our choices expand when we discover, no matter the plot twist, to choose where we focus our attention. We can positively impact most situations and "let go" to move forward.



Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC, MSW, Confidence Coach

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2. They recognize the good things in life.

A truly happy person finds the 'awesome' in one or more of our five senses: touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell.

The soft fur of a cat in your lap, a child’s sweet kiss goodnight, a beautiful sunset, watching a stranger help someone in need, listening to Yo-Yo Ma playing Piazzolla’s Tango, being moved to tears while listening to a comedy show, tasting the salty ocean air or chocolate melting in your mouth and the coffee aroma greeting you at that perfect time when you need a break or the smell of wood burning on a winter’s day as you walk outside to get into your ride home.

The truly happy person finds the 'awesome' wherever they are — in beautiful surroundings or the routines of everyday life. If you’re fortunate to share their company, you get an awesome buzz, too.

Mary Franz, couple’s therapist, critical incident responder, and personal strategy coach.

RELATED: 4 Daily Psychological Habits Of Truly Happy People

3. They admit when they need help.

You are a truly happy person when you acknowledge not being able to solve all of your problems. To be truly happy means you have discovered being happy includes gaining the willingness to courageously ask for help when necessary. Acknowledging your strengths, as well as your limitations, builds happiness. Asking for help, guidance, or support connects us meaningfully to others.”

You might believe that relying on other people makes you weak. But this is far from the truth. In life, you can't always go it alone. You need guidance or support when you're unsure or know you're over your head. True happiness means accepting all aspects of yourself, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Know your limits, and take help when you need it.

Paul McCandless, MFT, psychotherapist

RELATED: 10 Signs That Tell You It's Time To Go To Therapy

Jamille Jones is a freelance writer who focuses on relationships and pop culture.