False optimism: what is it and what are its negative effects?

No one can doubt that optimism is an attitude that can take us very far in life and help us be happy.. Optimism is a virtue, as long as the optimistic person has great self-confidence and is realistic about the environment around him.

If not, we would talk about false optimism. And as Abraham Maslow, one of the greatest representatives of the humanist current, said, “false optimism, sooner or later, means disappointment, anger and despair.”

In this article, we will talk about false optimism and delve into this concept and its characteristics.

What is false optimism?

When we adopt a positive, optimistic mindset, the world seems to be going in the direction we want it to be. But for optimism to be genuine, it has to be in sync with our self-esteem, because with low self-esteem, optimism simply masks our weakness.

Feeling good about yourself is fundamental for us and for being in touch with the environment around us. High self-esteem makes us much more positive people, aware of our strengths and weaknesses, and then by accepting ourselves as we are, we can look forward without fear. High self-esteem allows us to adapt to the environment around us with a smile, even if all is not going well for us. The true optimist learns from his mistakes because his worldview allows him to accept defeat and understand that we are not perfect.

However, optimism has become all the rage and some people want to show that they are optimistic when their inner world is cracked. They don’t have a good connection with themselves, but they are covered in the armor of optimism. False optimism breeds reluctance to face reality to escape problems, And it becomes a double-edged sword that sooner or later ends up hurting. In short, it hides a denial of pain and suffering.

Characteristics of false optimism

People with false optimism rely too much on external approval and use optimism so they don’t have to think through or deal with their fears. But, What characterizes this type of individuals? People with false optimism have the following traits and attitudes:

1. They are unrealistic

These people are unrealistic and use optimism to escape frustration and in fact have to face an unpleasant reality. To grow as human beings, we must face our fears and be tolerant of frustration, otherwise we do not benefit from the life experiences that make us suffer, which in the long run are the ones that allow us to develop a strong personality and prepared for the situations we like the least.

Living happily around the clock is impossibleSo, we have to accept this. Moreover, false optimists usually do not achieve the proposed goals because they are unrealistic and false optimism ends up frustrating them.

2. They are not sincere with themselves

Such individuals are not sincere with themselves, which is why this phenomenon is called false optimism. This self-deception is often common when someone does not want to accept the reality around them., Is an attempt to reduce the anxiety and discomfort you feel.

  • This is called cognitive dissonance. We tell you in our article: “Cognitive dissonance: the theory that explains self-deception”

3. They are evaluated negatively

As I commented in the previous lines, these people are not valued positively, i.e. they have low self-esteem. In this context, false optimism acts as a form of protection, as the person does not have enough mental strength to resolve internal and external conflicts.

4. They don’t live in the present

Much research has shown that people who practice mindfulness experience greater well-being. This is because they are living in the present moment and have a non-judgmental attitude. People with false optimism live with irrational expectations, far from a “conscious” mentality.

  • You can learn more about the benefits of living the present in our article: “How to live the present moment, in 7 psychological keys”

5. But be automatic

False optimism may seem like a good motivational tool, but just because expectations and goals are irrational doesn’t mean. Applying false optimism to achieve goals can have negative consequences. Therefore, it is always important that the goals we propose are achievable, realistic, clear and measurable, as we explain in our article: “The importance of setting goals in sports psychology”.

6. They haven’t found inner peace

When a person has not found inner peace, it is easy for him to be influenced by the outside world and his happiness depends on it. They are people who compare themselves to others and are continually concerned about what others think of them.. False optimism is characteristic of those subjects who are not fully aware of their emotions, virtues and limitations. People who are not accepted as they are.

The trap of false optimism

Believing that one is optimistic when one is not is a big mistake, because it prevents people from entering their inner world and it “prevents them from connecting with their inner world”, as it states. psychologist Juan Cruz. In an interview with El Mundo newspaper. Optimism is a trap that does not allow self-reflection, which has many benefits for personal development as we discussed in our article: “Personal Development: 5 Reasons for Self-Reflection”.

The trap of false optimism is as bad as pessimism, Because it prevents people from learning from their experiences, which is definitely the key to our growth and development.

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