Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: Is Pessimism More Realistic Than Optimism?

Today's topic, "Is pessimism more realistic than optimism" is really relative to the person being asked. If you ask a pessimistic person, they will say yes. If you ask an optimistic person, they will say no.

Sometimes choosing optimism or pessimism is a choice, but in some cases it is just part of who a person is. Some people who are either one, aren't consciously thinking about choosing one over the other, it is just their default reaction to problems. It really has to do with a person's adaptability and capability for positivity.

I would like to be able to say that I am optimistic, but unfortunately I often get stressed and think of the worst case scenario. It's sometimes just a matter of faith. But ultimately, it really is all in the mind.

Perhaps pessimistic people are just trying to prepare themselves for the worst case scenario. This could be considered being realistic. If the worst happens, they will have already been expecting it.

I believe that optimistic people also can see the worst case outcome, but they choose to focus their mind and energies on the best possible result. I don't think it's a matter of being unrealistic, it's just a different coping technique from that of pessimistic people.

Let me give you an example of a real life experience of mine. My in laws came with my family to a theme park. My husband told us that he was going to take the older kids on a scary ride, and that they would meet up with us after they were done. I'm not sure what happened (I suspect they decided we were dragging them down, and took off so that they could have freedom) but after the ride, my husband and kids disappeared. My mother in law was very worried. She was afraid that we would never be able to meet up with them. She found a bench in the middle of the square and sat there waiting. Meanwhile, my husband and kids enjoyed themselves, going on every ride available. I had my younger son with me, and I didn't want to sit and wait all day, so I took my son to some of the shows and easier rides. After each one, and I would come back and check in with my inlaws. I had initially been anxious about us being parted too, but it hit me that if my husband and children were enjoying themselves, then I might enjoy myself as well. The sad thing is that my inlaws spent the day sitting and anxiously waiting, when they could have looked on the bright side, and enjoyed some quiet time with just the two of them riding rides and seeing shows.

I think there are some "mantras" that you can say to yourself if you feel yourself getting anxious or pessimistic. If you are standing in line a long time waiting for something, instead of being pessimistic and getting angry, you could say to yourself what my husband often repeats, "We have all the time in the world." You can also think about the worst case result of the situation. Often you can find that the result isn't as bad as initially thought.

I'm not perfect at being optimistic. But I do think it leads to a less stressful life. And who wants to be with a gloomy person anyway?

Now check out what the other consortium members have to say about pessimism and optimism!
Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, , Padmum, Magpie11, andAkanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit
and The Old Fossil, and our newest member MAXI!


Maria from Silver Fox said...

I so completely agree with the attiude making all the difference in the world. I find when I am in a long line, I think boy, it is nice to be retired and not having to rush.

Grannymar said...

Attitude is everything. I consider myself to be an optimistic person, but that does not mean that I cannot see the whole picture. I try to accept the things I cannot change while hoping for the courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Rummuser said...

Cheerful persons can be pessismistic and gloomy persons can be optimistic. Given the choice, I would opt for neither. I would simply accept whatever comes my way after I have acted.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the optimistic people managed to avoid letting the pessimists drag them over to their way of looking at the world. Good that they didn't.