Being able to see the bright side of life goes beyond mere optimism or walking around with a glass half-full.
It’s being able to find beauty and hope in everything…and seeing life as a wonderful gift despite the many difficulties one faces.
Want to know what people who see the bright side of life do differently?
Here are the traits they all have in common.
1) They embrace the dark side of life
Some people think that the secret to being happy is to reject darkness and pretend that everything is good and happy.
But for one to truly see and appreciate the bright side of life, one has to be familiar with darkness.
The most optimistic people have known suffering—poverty, war, discrimination, and death. And it’s precisely the reason why they hold a deep appreciation for anything that sparks joy.
They’ll even cherish the quiet and even boring parts of life everyone else takes for granted.
2) They don’t expect life to be easy
Life is hard. And that’s why people who expect life to be full of comfort and joy are the ones who’ll end up jaded and miserable before their time.
Those people who keep on looking at the bright side of things are those who have accepted that life is anything but easy.
Traffic might be bad every now and then, their job applications might get rejected and they might not have the time to do everything they want to do.
They might be frustrated by all of these, but in the end, they can shrug it off and go “That’s life!” and just enjoy whatever can be enjoyed in the moment.
3) They make it a habit to always find the silver lining
Some may consider it as escapism, or blind coping. But there’s nothing wrong with trying to find the silver lining when you’re dealt with a bad hand in life.
In fact, this attitude is why optimistic people manage to be so optimistic, no matter how hard things get sometimes.
Perhaps they bought some jackfruit from the grocer, only to find out that none are ripe. No big deal—at least they can still make stew with it.
Or perhaps their favorite event got canceled, which can be a bummer especially if they’ve already driven to the venue. But hey, maybe they can just use the money for something more important.
They accept that bad things simply happen sometimes, and if they’ve got a problem, they might as well try to see what good they can make out of it.
4) They see beauty in the ordinary
They appreciate whatever life has to offer—from the insects flying around their garden to the sensation of ice cream melting in their mouth.
When you’re willing to see the beauty in everything around you, you’re more likely to spot good things when they happen to you.
Sure, people might shrug all of these off as “ordinary” and nothing worth taking note of.
But to the person who likes to see the bright side of life, just because something is ordinary does not mean that it’s worth nothing.
After all, even the most “ordinary” thing around them was born of stardust scattered across the cosmos billions of years ago.
5) They’re grateful to just be alive
There are times when living is a fate worse than death. Living is full of pain and suffering after all, and death is nothing but emptiness.
But if you think about it, life itself is worth living for. It’s because we’re alive that we can witness life, feel emotion, and love.
People who look at the bright side of life do not necessarily hate death, or fear it. But they reflect on it, and are grateful for the fact that they have the opportunity to embrace life’s ups and downs.
Here’s the thing: Awareness of death can make us appreciate life.
In fact, there’s a study about how reflecting on death helps make it easier to appreciate the world of the living and be grateful for their experiences.
And yes, that means they appreciate even that noisy gossip they have for a neighbor, that cat who keeps snatching up their fish, and that friend who is somehow always late.
These are all gifts of life—even the annoying and ugly bits—and they prefer to treasure each one while they’re alive.
6) They count their blessings
They don’t wait around for bad things to happen to them before they start trying to appreciate life.
Instead, they make it a daily habit to be grateful for the blessings they have. They’ll literally count their blessings before going to bed or upon waking up in the morning.
Some might even have a gratitude journal.
They’ll think of simple things like being able to go out and walk their dog, having ten fingers and ten toes, and having access to clean water.
Life might be hard, but knowing that they are still nonetheless blessed will make it much easier for them to persevere when times are rough.
It will also train them to always look for the good things, instead of the bad. And this habit makes them always see the bright side of life.
7) They believe setbacks lead them to a better path
For better or for worse, everything that they’ve been through—failures and victories both—have got them to where they are today.
They know that it would do them no good to look back at some big mistakes they’ve made in the past and think of “what ifs”. Thinking “If only i had done it differently, I’d be in a much better place now” will only make them hate their life.
What they do instead is comfort themselves by believing that every setback they have encountered has led them to the right path.
If their business failed, they’d think that maybe it’s really meant to be. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be starting a much better business—one that they truly enjoy.
If their relationship ended, they’d think that it’s for the best. That way they can meet a better partner.
Of course, there’s no way for them to know for sure if those setbacks were actually blessings, but they’d rather believe it is.
This mindset helps keep them from being too bitter over their setbacks. Wistful, perhaps, but at least not bitter.
8) They forgive
It’s hard not to have people treat us badly or make mistakes that cost us dearly. Sometimes we’re the ones ruining our own lives, even.
And it’s hard to see the bright side of life if we insist on lugging around the weight of all these grudges and regrets.
Those who continue to be optimistic manage because they refuse to let themselves be burdened.
They shed that weight, forgiving everyone who had done them wrong—themselves included—and look forward to a brand-new start, full of passion and optimism.
9) They know how to laugh at hardship
It might seem odd sometimes to see someone laugh at their own misery, and you might even find yourself thinking “Are they treating their problems seriously at all?”
But hold that thought.
Laughter is actually a well-known coping mechanism, and there’s a reason why macabre humor becomes all the rage in times of crisis.
There are many possible reasons why laughter helps, from simple clinical explanations like it releases endorphins to more complicated reasons rooted in psychology.
But no matter the reason for it, there’s no denying that laughter can keep one more healthy, sane, and optimistic.
10) They see the world from a childlike perspective
As children, we see beauty in everything, and every day is precious.
But as we grow older, most of us get that childlike awe shattered, ruined by the harshness of the world we live in and the cruelty of the people around us.
It’s easy to assume that what children had was innocence.
And yet, optimistic people manage to hold on to this pure way of seeing the world while accepting that it can be harsh and cruel, too.
They refuse to generalize people and experiences, to say things like “love is a waste of time!” or “Everyone is naturally selfish” or “Everything is hopeless.”
Instead, they’ll still be filled with awe and wonder and hope and love for all things—despite every negative thing they know about life.
Appreciating—and even just accepting—hardship and death as part of life is something that’s easier said than done.
Most people who aren’t strong enough buckle and end up cold and jaded instead.
That’s why people who can truly see the bright side of life are rare.
If you want to be more like them, you have to celebrate life while embracing the good and the bad…and you can do that by practicing the traits I’ve listed in this article.