lauralaura123 : I have terminal cancer. It has been a really long battle before ending up with a terminal diagnosis. I also have a few chronic illnesses, like type 1 diabetes since a baby, have been sexually assaulted, have been held at gunpoint, have done aid work, worked in the aftermarth of the Thailand tsunami, was present at the Bali bombings and lost friends in the attack and I 100% believe that a positive attitude and appreciating that there are good things (and not just bad things) in life has helped with recovering from and living with all those thing. I am also Indigenous and have had first hand experience with racism and prejudice.
Sometimes accepting things with an “it is what it is so how can I have the best, most fulfilling life while dealing with this hardship” attitude can make it easier to move forward or depending on the circumstances make a better life for themselves. Sometimes it is having the attitude of “how can that have happened to me in this modern society. What can I do to make sure no other woman/indigenous person/poor person ever goes through that again”.
I work with people on the fringes of society and have worked in third world countries and some of the happiest people I have met have nothing and/or have been through things you couldn’t imagine (think rufugees, child soldiers etc). They make a choice not to let everything that has happened to them overshadow their whole lives.
And on the flipside I have meet people who can’t accept a (non-terminal/early stage) cancer diagnosis and give up and die rather than fight. I have met DV and assault victims who can never move past what happened to them. I have met refugees and people below the poverty line that believe the system is against them (and in some cases it is) but also believe that things should be handed to them because of their status. All of which a compassionate human being should understand. My path isn’t their path.
So that is the great thing about this world. We are all different so we all react differently to the things life throws at us. We have different emotional responses and different triggers.
So whilst there are people in this world like me who trully believe that life is what we make it and that believe that they can work and cope through hardship and find positives in situations, there are also people that find the struggle too much/too hard/too insurmountable. And that is ok.
For the 100 people that pass a “Happiness is a choice” sign you are going to get 40 people who don’t even notice the sign, 15 people who get an instant positive from it, 15 people who find a negative in it and 10 people who it might just start them thinking about making a change in their life (which might be anything from spending more time with their kids to getting healthier to leaving an abusive marriage). And to me it is those 10 people that make that sign important.
ETA- as to your fake optimism statement, well who decides that someone else’s optimism is fake? Also forced laughter is now a recognised therapy (where you get together with others and just start laughing for zero reason). It has some amazing benefits.