The 365 Commitment

The Slow and Steady Drip of Pessimism

Before I get all pessimistic about pessimism, let me state that people that exhibit pessimism are usually pretty strong agents for change. People that are able to look at what is wrong, or not right about a situation are able to adapt, shift and make things better. People that are able to do this are less likely to accept everything they see and hear. We actually need pessimistic people in our society, without them we probably would have some serious inability to progress as a species.

This maybe a good thing on a wholistic level, but on a personal level can be disastrous. Cynicism is good, in that it allows us to see things that could be out of whack and make corrections, the problem is when it sets in and starts to produce a downward spiral. There is also a sense of realism that is of value. People that are able to be pessimistic at time, see what is reality. They see what their limitations are, and in a word are more opt to be humble. However, here in lies the steady drip. The poison that if you are not carefully, you will slowly swirl around until you slip down the drain.

Pessimism is actually a natural human defense mechanism and it becomes a way that your mind deals with threatening issues. As a consequence, if you are not careful, will build a pathway in your mind that is pessimistic with anything and everything new in your life. You quite literally, or perhaps just figuratively, will become that grumpy old man holed up in a mountain shack sending nasty letters to people, because the ‘whole world is screwed up.’ The slow drip happens as you react, and react again to things that come your way with pessimism. At first it is funny, but it soon becomes cynicism and before you know it your brain is wired this way. This will be normal to you, everyone else will not see it that way. You will get ostracized, or avoided. You will no longer be part of important discussions because people do not want to hear your commentary anymore, you have no filter because you have trained yourself to think that this is normal.

This is the thing to avoid. You probably have been successful because of your ability to see the truth of situation, and your ability to adopt and change. Pessimistic capable people are that way, but you have been feeding yourself a drip for a long time and eventually it builds up and you find yourself being negative about everything. That is when the lies start to set in. You actually start to believe your pessimism, and hold that line of thinking as correct all the time. You are just unable to view things any other way. My clients are just not going to buy things like that any more. Nice idea, but it is just not going to work. There is no way, I have tried that before. Everything has changed now, this no longer works, we need to start over. I cannot believe they are doing this, this is not going to work, how stupid is this. All of these are examples statements of pessimism addicts, living life by the drip, drip, drip of negative internal commentary that prevents you from seeing any hope in anything.

Ultimately, pessimism left unchecked leads to a cynical attitude which leads to little to no hope. At the bottom of that slippery slope lies the hopeless ruin that we call despair. The good news is that this is easy to turn around, just turn off the drip. Find reasons to celebrate what is happening in your life, express more gratitude for what you have. Spend more time helping others with their problems, so you can gain perspective. This will help you start to see a different reality. Talk to more people about how they are dealing with circumstances similar to yours, hear their perspective and keep your commentary quiet. Really listen, you might discover that your negative piss poor attitude is just plain off base!

Guy Reams

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