Are you a pessimist? Don’t take the question with a grain of salt. Pessimism can actually cause depression, bad health, and lower performance.
Compared to their more cheerful counterparts, the optimists, pessimists are also more likely to suffer from cancer and die from heart disease. Here are some beliefs of a pessimistic mind:
Life is full of negativity
In the classic water-in-a-glass scenario, the pessimist believes that the glass is always half-empty. In contrast, the optimist looks at the glass as half-full. In other words, both the optimist and the pessimist see reality but through very different perspectives.
Unfortunately, the pessimist’s view only sees the bad half of reality and ignores the other half that says that life can be joyful, too. For the pessimist, bad events are those that last. Good events may happen, but they are only temporary. This kind of thinking is what usually leads a pessimist to become depressed.
Bad things are always “my fault”
When bad things happen to a pessimist, he immediately thinks that it’s his fault. His line of thinking goes something like this: “I always mess up”, “I can’t do anything right!”, “I knew I’d make a mistake again”, and so on and so forth.
Things can only get worse
The pessimist resigns himself to the bad things in life. He has no sense of control over them, and doesn’t believe that he can do anything to turn things around in his favor. In fact, things can only go from bad to worse, as far as the pessimist is concerned.
Good experiences, for the pessimist, are only isolated events. He considers these as occurences that may never happen again. Perhaps there was a fluctuation in the order of the universe, which is why he suddenly got “lucky”.
Good things are really wolves in sheep’s clothing
Good events immediately worry a pessimist. His fears may run as such: a promotion might place him under more scrutiny, an invitation to go out on a date will only lead to a broken heart, and a free vacation to Bali will most likely lead to his death in a plane crash.
There’s no such thing as a second chance
The pessimist fails to understand the relevance of being given a chance to make amends. Since he believes that messing up is but the natural course of things, second or third or fourth chances are unnecessary. Attempts to rectify mistakes will all just lead to failure or more mistakes.
The optimists are deluded
A pessimist may believe himself to be a hardline realist. He “sees” when efforts are useless and goals are unattainable. For him, optimists are suffering from unrealistic expectations, abnormal cheerfulness, and overly positive views of themselves. The Pollyannas of the world are actually setting themselves up for failure with their “illusions” of happiness.
All in all, the pessimist believes that it’s better to expect the worst in everything. Many pessimists become so because of past experiences. Because of unfulfilled expectations and desires, they become afraid of expecting the best in people or their circumstances. It’s questionable though that a pessimist doesn’t feel disappointed anymore just because he expected the worst.
A pessimist is not as hopeless as he’s wont to believe. By challenging his self-limiting perceptions and replacing them with more constructive thought patterns, he can actually win over his negativity.