What Does "His Smile And Optimism: Gone" Mean?

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated May 27, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Since its early days, the internet has enabled people to communicate about their feelings and experiences with each other. An internet meme can often convey the qualities of an experience. The meme 'His Smile and Optimism: Gone' depicts the experience of shifting from a positive to a negative mindset.

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term meme to describe culturally shared chunks of information that unite people. History, myths, fables, customs, social mores, songs, and other works of art are all examples of this. However, in the digital age, the word meme usually refers to internet memes such as 'His Smile and Optimism: Gone'. 

While they may be intended as funny inside jokes among internet users, these internet memes often have a deeper meaning and can reveal fascinating insights into human psychology. This article will explore the origins and usage of this meme, as well as the experiences it depicts.

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History of the "His Smile and Optimism: Gone" Meme

The origin of this meme can be traced back to Season 8, Episode 1 of the Japanese video game television show GameCenter CX, which features comedian Shinya Arino playing old video games. In this episode, Shina Arino was playing the game The Quest of Ki and looked at the camera with a look of defeat. 

In 2012, a user on a website posted a screenshot of the moment with the caption, “His smile and optimism: gone.” The caption was applied to many other images showing anger, disappointment, and shock. 

Using the meme

'His Smile And Optimism: Gone' is used in various contexts as a reaction image or to respond to other content. The text may apply to images that depict a sudden or drastic shift in a person’s mood because of a disappointing or demoralizing event. 

Most times, this meme comes with two images: the first depicts the subject feeling optimistic, and the second shows them in a state of unhappiness, apathy, or frustration. Often, it's used to describe personal experiences or show a change in temperament in another person. Similarly to other memes, its format can be adapted to fit multiple situations.

Understanding the meaning behind the "His Smile and Optimism: Gone

Behind internet memes, there are often identifiable emotions that other users find relatable. These emotions typically include apathy, despondence, and detachment, though the image accompanying this meme's text may change its meaning.


Apathy ‌refers to a lack of interest, concern, or enthusiasm. You may feel that you don't care about activities, people, and situations that you normally would. It may manifest as a lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed or feelings of indifference about the people or situations around you.

People can become apathetic when they do not receive a significant reward for their efforts, whether in a job, relationship, or other aspects of life. Stress, burnout, and feelings of failure are also factors that can trigger apathy.


Like apathy, despondency is characterized by feelings of defeat and indifference to negative outcomes. If you feel despondent, you may need more hope and courage to continue trying. You might feel disheartened or disillusioned when experiencing difficulties at work or in a relationship. While a lack of emotion characterizes apathy, despondence typically describes a negative feeling related to failure or a lack of progress.

An individual's despondency may be situational and can often be remedied with proactive steps toward reestablishing motivation and purpose. However, despondence can also be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition. For example, depression, burnout, and anxiety disorders can often accompany feelings of despondency.

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Detachment describes emotional distance from people, situations, or experiences. When you are experiencing detachment, you may feel as if you are watching your life from an outside perspective. You may feel you are in a dream or a movie, watching life play out before you. You might feel indifferent to things you’d normally care about.

Sometimes detachment can be a defense mechanism for coping with uncomfortable situations. Other times, it may be a symptom of a mental health condition. If you feel detached or have trouble maintaining an emotional connection to important aspects of your life, consider talking to a therapist.

How to overcome apathy, despondence, and detachment

If you have unhelpful thoughts that lead to apathy, despondence, and attachment, here are some strategies to help you cope:

Identify underlying issues

Sometimes, a situation may make it hard to stay engaged. Other times, it could be a sign of an underlying mental health condition. Before taking action, think about what may be causing you to feel detached or discouraged.

Re-establish your purpose

If you have identified the cause of your feelings, think about how you might re-establish a sense of purpose. You may find it helpful to consider what truly matters to you. What are your values? What are your passions? Consider whether there are any positive steps you could take to change your circumstances, such as finding a new job or taking a vacation. You may feel more motivated to make changes in your life if you have a sense of purpose and direction.


Improving your self-care routine may help combat negative feelings, such as a lack of motivation. Exercise, restful sleep, and a balanced, nutritionally dense diet can help improve mental health, which may make it easier to break out of negative self-talk cycles.


When you are mindful, you can observe your thoughts and sensations without judging them. For example, you might identify the thoughts contributing to apathy and recognize the triggers or patterns that exacerbate it. By becoming more aware of these thoughts, you can manage them rather than allowing them to control you.

Set small goals

The feeling of stagnation can sometimes lead to apathy and despondency. Creating small goals can help you stay motivated if you feel you're not progressing as much as you'd like. Accomplishing these goals may help you regain motivation.

Connect with others

Your support network can be a valuable source of support and encouragement as you navigate difficult periods. An open discussion with a close friend or loved one might help you deal with feelings of apathy. You may find perspective and validation from them helpful as you decide how to proceed.

Seek professional help

Detachment, apathy, and despondency can be indicators it's time to seek mental health treatment. Identifying and exploring your feelings with a therapist can help you regain your motivation and engage meaningfully with the world around you.

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Therapy for apathy and pessimism

If you experience extended periods of low mood that interfere with daily functioning, consider connecting with a licensed therapist. You can work with your therapist to understand what may cause your feelings and how it might influence your thought patterns. They can also help diagnose and treat any underlying mental health conditions through talk therapy. 

Research suggests that most people can benefit from therapy. You may find that therapy can help you cope with stressful circumstances, whether they arise from a relationship, a stressful work environment, or anything else. A therapist specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), existential therapy, or narrative therapy may help you overcome apathy and pessimism.

Several studies suggest that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can connect with a therapist who specializes in your chosen type of therapy. You can speak with a therapist in one-on-one sessions from the comfort of your own home. 


Though intended as a humorous internet meme, 'His Smile And Optimism: Gone' represents the human experience of defeat and pessimism. If you’re struggling with these feelings, it may be worth exploring them through reflection, mindfulness, and self-care or talk therapy with a licensed therapist. To get started with treatment, connect with a mental health professional through BetterHelp.
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