9 hidden downsides of being a “perpetual optimist”

Being an optimist has its downsides. 

When you see the best in most situations and people, you can get burned. 

Badly. Repeatedly. Sometimes even irreversibly. 

Here are the biggest hidden disadvantages of being a “perpetual optimist.”

1) Actively repressing painful emotions and experiences 

The first of the hidden downsides of being a “perpetual optimist” is that it can involve an element of self-deception. 

When you push down painful and confusing experiences, you’re only experiencing half of life. 

What’s more, you may be missing out on many valuable lessons and insights that hard times can bring

Being eternally optimistic means never getting the grit and determination of feeling truly hopeless but finding a way to continue anyway. 

When you’re too optimistic, you sometimes end up repressing pain, which is never good in the long run.

2) Overconfidence in your career 

The next of the hidden downsides of being a “perpetual optimist” is overconfidence in your professional life

When you think everything will turn out fine and there’s nothing worthy of giving up or cursing the future, you may be an impressively positive and gung-ho individual. 

However, you’re also quite likely to approach business and finance with a bit too much confidence.

Whereas a pessimist would consider all the pitfalls and dangers before starting a new store, you are sure all will be for the best and go for it. 

Whereas a pessimist might be very hesitant to invest in a hot new stock, you’re there with a quite sizable investment, buoyed by good cheer and your own optimism that it will continue to surge. 

3) Overconfidence in romance 

Just as major optimism can cause overconfidence in financial and business matters, it can do the same in love. 

Going around with a chip on your shoulder and cursing Valentine’s Day (guilty of this myself) is not a winning formula. 

But greeting potential romance and partners with arms wide open and full trust is also a recipe for heartbreak and disappointment. 

When you’re too optimistic, you tend to get too “up” too fast. 

You meet someone new and you’re ready to build a life with them. Meanwhile, they’re just having some summer fun with you. 

You are sure your husband is faithful to you because he’s a great guy, meanwhile he’s bored of you and cheating on you with multiple women. 

Be careful!

Over-optimism can be equivalent to naivety!

4) Being blindsided by unseen risks

More generally in the hidden downsides of being a “perpetual optimist” is being blindsided by risks of all sorts:

You’re the first to be sure a health problem will resolve itself soon when it actually needs aggressive early treatment…

You’re all game for doing some cliff diving into a lake with your friends on the weekend despite the fact someone got paralyzed at the exact spot you’re going to jump…

You get the picture.

Perpetual optimism can make you discount the costs and risks far too much. 

Because you’re so sure that everything will turn out fine and that life is a positive and joyful ride, you sometimes ignore the darker, dangerous side of life to your own peril. 

5) Attracting freeloaders and leeches

On the more pedestrian side of the hidden downsides of being a “perpetual optimist” is that you often put up with far more than you should.  

One of the ways in which this tends to happen is with freeloaders and manipulators who latch onto you and leech off your goodwill and positive energy. 

More literally, they may latch onto your money, time and assistance in various ways. 

If you’re well-intentioned and optimistic, it’s hard for you to say no or to think the worst of people who come to you wanting to be friends or ask your help. 

To be fair, sometimes there are indeed situations where helping someone out is definitely the right move. 

But there’s a balance there, and such situations can definitely turn into a situation of freeloading and getting taken advantage of.  

6) Difficulty saying no and setting boundaries

The next of the hidden downsides of being a “perpetual optimist” is a general difficulty in saying no and setting boundaries more broadly. 

Too much going on at work? You’re ready to pick up the slack…

Your girlfriend demanding that you do everything she wants with no consideration for your time or feelings? Well, you might as well just do it and hope she mellows out soon…

And so on, and so forth. 

The common theme is optimism getting in the way of saying no and knowing where to draw and enforce a limit. 

The effect can be a lot of disappointment and wasted time. 

7) Getting taken for a ride by unscrupulous hucksters

Scammers and fraudsters sadly exist in almost every walk of life and they’re out looking for marks. 

Whether it’s a telemarketing scam, online identity theft or a simple case of a fake charity coming to your door to collect donations, scammers take advantage of people’s credulity and good faith. 

Perpetual optimists are especially vulnerable, because they tend to think the best of people and see positive intentions where they aren’t necessarily present.

Not all optimists are naïve, by any means.

But they tend to believe that suspicion and scrutiny are too much drama to be worth the trouble.

As such they often end up roped into scams or questionable schemes.

This includes the type of fraudsters who operate in the spiritual domain.

8) Finding yourself talked into shady spiritual scams

There are far too many sleazy gurus out there who take advantage of people’s desire for the truth and answers.

These include many gurus and “spiritual teachers” who have latched onto the New Age movement and ideologies like the Law of Attraction.

Eternal optimists are especially vulnerable to this kind of a scam, because ideas that everything is basically about the power of positivity is exactly their language.

When you live your life by always hoping for and expecting the best and seeing painful and bad situations as something to never be complained about or hated, you end up being a perfect mark for those who shame “negativity” and pain.

You want to be “pure” and turn your optimism into a super power, so you become beholden to hucksters and spiritual fraudsters who tell you about levels or vibrations you need to reach before you’ll be near their elite circles of pure optimism.

9) Feeling you have to play the ‘role’ of the optimist

Lastly in the issues with being too optimistic is that you can end up feeling like you’re playing a role.

Those in your life become so accustomed to you being optimistic that it becomes more than just a reputation, it becomes a role.

Even when you are genuinely worried, stressed or angry…

You feel the need to play the role that others need you to be, the role of the guy or girl who’s always seeing the silver lining.

Feeling compelled to this can be both inauthentic and limiting in many ways, leaving you feeling fake and repressed.

We’re experiencing some turbulence… 

Our turbulent modern times could use a few more optimists, there’s no doubt about that!

But being an optimist isn’t easy and staying optimistic no matter what can actually stunt your personal growth and opportunities. 

Life’s not always pleasurable or rewarding and some situations are just plain awful. 

Facing the truth of that is a relief and an empowering honesty that can help you strengthen yourself and learn more about when to be chipper and when to hang on to your seat for dear life. 

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