How to Be Realistically Hopeful about Life

Saying that everything works out for the best is not a realistic generalization for the way that life and the world is. How do we explain misery, suffering, prejudice, or injustice? How can we say that the misery of those who cannot defend themselves, or death before a fully lived life, worked out the best for that individual person? A detached conception of injustice is that it worked out for the best because we were not involved. Yet, injustice and sorrow never work out “for the best” for the parties who experience them. Many claim that the view that everything works out the way it should is an ideal exclusive to the privileged. It is a mindset that those who can afford to fix misery, can afford to adopt. It allows a blind eye to be turned to that the negative does not directly affect us, or those who we love. However, when examined on a deeper level, this mindset is not just one that is made available for the privileged. It can be utilized by anyone with the will to look life in the face and find the positive.

A person’s statement that everything has, or will work out for the best, is not used to glaze over misfortune, or used as an excuse to ignore the negative.  It is an overarching label to their life’s events. It is a recognition that not every situation turns out in the best way that it could, but that there is good that can be taken from every situation, every challenge, and every blip in the way that we thought life would be. Finding the good, a single good, in today’s sorrows, yesterday’s sufferings, and tomorrow’s injustice ultimately teaches us that when we learn to find the good, we learn how to live a little differently, and a little bit better. We adopt an attitude that says even in circumstances we cannot control, we will rise. The saying says that even if things are not the best on their own, we can make them the best—it is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

Sometimes the only good that can be drawn from a wrong is the good of acquired knowledge—the “good” of learning. Witnessing or falling victim to injustice allows for a more connected compassion. At the least, it serves as a warning of what could be without right action. If the only person that each one of us can guarantee to live a good and honest life—one devoid of hatred and resentment–is ourselves, then we can make the world a better place by a simple shift in mindset and action. We can lead by example, live by kindness and forgiveness, and realize that everything may not work out for the best every time, but with hope as a driving force, we can find good and find something to be learned from everything that happens to and around us.

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