Pessimism (from Latin pessimum – the worst) is one of the two main types of perception of the world, expressing negative, suspicious, distrustful attitude to it; is opposite to optimism. In the ordinary sense, pessimism means depressed mood, a tendency to see and emphasize the negative aspects of reality, too painful reaction to failure.
Different authors define the term pessimism in their own way. But we can say that pessimism is a negative perception of yourself, others and society, and in general, dissatisfaction with your life.
What is the danger of pessimism?
Pessimism is a dangerous spiritual sickness. It is the cause of many losses, disadvantages, and disappointments. Pessimism is a painful condition, depressing the human soul, that leaves the disastrous imprint on the personality.
People who face with misfortune or suffering become vulnerable. There is a great possibility for the emergence of pessimism, as a result of a strong shock and emotions. Pessimism leaves its mark on the human thought process. Those, whose thinking was so negative, lose all their beneficial abilities; unhealthy imagination of these people creates a lot of problems, wasting their talents on anxiety about incidents that happened to them, and may not ever happen.
Those who suffer from pessimism clearly feel a sense of loneliness and anxiety when they communicate with others. As a result of these negative situations, people destroy their ability to develop and progress, and thus, doom themselves to unwanted life. Due to these facts, pessimism is the main factor provoking suicide.
Defensive pessimism as a key to prosperity
The technique of “defensive pessimism” can be an effective way of getting rid of anxiety about the future. According to psychologist Julie Norem, today about one-third of Americans instinctively use this strategy. Positive thinking, by contrast, is an attempt to convince yourself that everything will be fine, but it can also strengthen the faith in that everything will be absolutely terrible if the good doesn’t happen. The research of Sara Sarasvati, a professor of business administration at the University of Virginia, has proven that the ability to adapt to the feeling of insecurity is not only the key to a more balanced life but is also often the key to prosperity.
Pros and cons of pessimism
The state of modern society has developed in such a way, that a large part of the population is dissatisfied with their needs. As a result, people obtain such a human quality as pessimism.
Under the influence of various factors on the person, it may acquire both – positive and negative meaning.
Yes, many studies, conducted in different countries in different decades, affirmed that optimists live longer than pessimists do, but recent psychological experiments have shown, that at the same setting on the solution to a problem, the pessimists generally cope with it better than optimists, as they more realistically assess the degree of risk.
In other words, the pessimists have a better chance to cope with a familiar, while the optimists – with a new challenge (problem situation). This is due to the fact, that pessimists are those people about whom it is said: “once bitten, twice shy “.They reinsure many times, assessing the probability of even the smallest trouble. “Forewarned is forearmed.”
However, psychologists say (and confirm) that a man draws what he thinks about, and so many pessimists just attract bad luck and trouble, to once again victoriously say, “You see! This is what I have talked about! “.
A small plus sign
For a pessimist, even the absence of bad news is a gift of fate, but an optimist waits for a big success. So there is a downside – a pessimist cannot enjoy nice surprises, finding only one more reason to grumble or get upset. However, an optimist can enjoy every detail and finds only positive sides (like “I’m not falling, I’m flying!”).
Optimism and a positive outlook on the world are now in vogue. Even employment tests include a number of questions that determine your level of positivity – and Recruits will give preference to that person who has the highest one.
Meanwhile, psychologists believe that the pessimists prevail among the world’s population. They also believe that the feature to perceive the world through dark glasses is inherited, and with time under the circumstances, it becomes more clearly defined. Anyway, if nature has created pessimists, then we need them for some reason.
No wonder they say that the optimists have invented the boat, and the pessimists – a lifeline. A pessimist is not the one who sits and moans that everything is bad. Pessimism is rather, a property of the mind and consciousness to assume any possible variants of developments.
Joyful and neutral events are easy to perceive, but to overcome a tragedy with ease is impossible. But we can mitigate the consequences for yourself and our mentality – this is the essence of pessimism.
Is it too bad to be a pessimist? A few words in defense
The main difference between optimists and pessimists is that pessimists are not inclined to re-evaluate their capabilities and, therefore, they can much better predict success and failure.
Optimistic people see their future exclusively through pink glasses and consider their life only as a proof of personal progress. Therefore, they do not pay attention to short-term problems, even if these problems are potentially a danger to them.
Many studies have shown that pessimists have higher intelligence than optimists have. Pessimists are able to assess the possibility of their control over the situation much more accurate. Scientists say that pessimists are sadder but wiser.
To sum it up, it must be noted that an optimistic view of life in many aspects outperforms a pessimistic one, but has its drawbacks too. Pessimists have to learn to enjoy life. Optimists should see the world in a more real way. As Mark Twain said: “There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist, except an old optimist.” Therefore, the most valuable skill is to find a middle ground – not to exaggerate troubles and illusions.