In this paper hopefulness and optimism will be compared and contrasted and a review under what circumstances might optimism is harmful. Then the paper will explore defensive pessimism and under what circumstances might this be beneficial. So how is hopefulness and optimism related? Both terms are positive. Both terms are wonderful motivators. Hope is a dream and optimism makes the dream come true. Hopefulness is the emotion or feeling that keeps a person going and striving for, whatever it is that an individual wants (Peterson, 2000). Optimism is hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something (“Dictionary.com”, 1995). Some researchers feel that optimism differs from hopefulness in that optimism has a proactive component called planning. When contrasting hopefulness and optimism, optimism is usually based on logical concrete facts, for example statements like “I hope that the economy will improve” and “I am optimistic that the economy will improve”. The first statement can be made with no basis of fact or evidence to support it. We can be hopeful for anything at any time. The second statement however, communicates more confidence, optimism is usually based on evidence that can be judged or evaluated in terms of rational criteria (Snyder, 2000). Hopefulness and optimism are dissimilar in that hopefulness is situation specific and subject to change upon one’s own abilities. Optimism is an altogether elucidatory term that positive things will occur free of one’s capacity to do something. Optimism may be harmful when an individual only focuses on the “bright side” of life ignoring negatives or “realities” one can be taken off guard by unhappy moments in life. Simply being unprepared or unable to cope effectively with these negative events causes stress to one’s mental health. These negative events can make a person resentful and may cause the individual to isolate themselves from others. People who always look...
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