What Is Pessimism: Signs, Benefits, and Risks


Do you see the glass as “half-empty” or “half-full”?

Do you anticipate worst-case scenarios?

Do you believe that no matter what, things will eventually take a wrong turn?

Do you prepare for the worst outcome instead of anticipating the best outcome?

Well! Perspective? Isn’t it one complex thing to have? But we all have it, and we all exercise it to quite an extent, either you can be a realist, an optimistic person, or a pessimist.

Starting from the instant, we form an awareness of the world. All the way up to the final second before we die, we will without doubt experience many moments. Moments in which life goes very wrong, moments where a friend betray us, moments where we make a big mistake or fail at something we worked really hard, moments where someone we loved decides they no longer feel the same for us or we no longer feel the same, or moments where we lose someone close far too early. Everything else in between from small to big or annoying to tragic, there will continue to be moments where our self, the world, and humanity appear to be in all complete conflict in disarray and all of this somewhere subtly sells us the idea of pessimism or realism. 

What is pessimism?

Pessimism is defined to be a belief that things will always go wrong, your whims and wishes will always be unfulfilled and no matter how hard you work, you won’t get what you want, a pessimist majorly inclines towards the spectrum of negativity, the complete opposite to the optimists, who always look towards the bright and hopeful prospects of life happenings.

Pessimists usually associate everything with an attitude of negativity and are highly suspicious when things are working their way while the optimists are hopeful and will always try to look out for positivity, gratitude, and hope in life when things don’t seem to go well in their life, they are in short the flag bearers of looking at the silver lining and if they don’t find one, they might as well carve out a silver lining for themselves and contrary to both pessimist and optimist, a realist will believe that the glass has some water in it, a realist is objective in his/her approach.

Pessimism is usually viewed with a lens of unwantedness. It often substitutes optimism and is associated with negativity, the concept of a “half full” mentality. Many times people also label it as cynicism and view it as a major sign of depression or mood disorders. However when you hold both pessimism and optimism in optimal amount both work best in your favor. Yes! Pessimism as well.

Pessimism and optimism are yin and yang. Life is all about duality. We often brace positivity so much, it starts to appear extremely daunting and exhausting. This is what we call “toxic positivity”. No matter how miserably things are falling apart & crumbling down, you will still stick with the idea of obsessing over positive thinking instead of making the right changes. You will purposely find positivity in something that is profoundly tragic. In toxic positivity, you are in denial, guilt, and invalidation of experiences and life happenings. Positivity is hope, so in conclusion, one has to have both optimism and pessimism in moderation.

Signs Of Pessimism:

How do you know that you practice the belief of pessimism, the following list consists of signs that might indicate to you being a pessimist:

  1. Pessimists reduce their expectations. 
  2. You are alarmed and suspicious when things are working out your way.
  3. You prepare and anticipate the worst case scenarios.
  4. You might often experience imposter syndrome.
  5. You often devalue your capabilities.
  6. You most often look out for your flaws than your strengths.
  7. Convincing yourself that all of this happiness sham will eventually fall off and all of us are destined for failure.
  8. You give up on a lot of opportunities.
  9. You are hopeless.
  10. You question the concept of optimism.

Read more, Ways to overcome Emotional Numbness by Yourself

Benefits of Being a Pessimist:

Here is the list of benefits of pessimism:

1. Pessimists live a longer life:

People who await less out of life tend to live longer than the people who await a lot because pessimists allow more and plan precisely about their future.

2. Pessimists cope with stress better:

Pessimists coped with stress better than optimists, according to a scientific study published in 2011. When faced with unpleasant events, being overly optimistic might lead to a lack of motivation

3. They plan effectively:

Since pessimists firmly believe in the idea that something will go wrong and they anticipate it so strongly that they always keep themselves prepared for the upcoming obstacles and hence plan for difficulties beforehand. They are highly precautious.

4. Pessimists also have better relationships:

Since it is quite evident that pessimists rarely anticipate good, it directly relates to them having no to very little expectations from their significant partner, and we as all know, aren’t expectations the cause of all our miseries? 

They are less hopeful and less expecting which leads to them having less turmoil in their romantic relationships.

5. They are grounded in good as well as the bad days:

A pessimistic person has a tremendous advantage if something good happens, he or she will still choose to be grounded, and if something horrible happens, it will be hoped for anyway, so the person will not be devastated or shattered with things not turning up against their favor.

Disadvantages Of Pessimism:

Too much pessimism has a slew of obvious consequences. Some of the most common hazards of pessimism include:

1. Negative thoughts are detrimental to one’s health:

According to studies, women may be more depressed than men because they engage in more rumination, brooding, and pondering. Pessimistic thinking includes both ruminating and brooding.

2. Depression and anxiety are exacerbated by too pessimistic thinking. 

Excessive concern, rumination, and worst-case scenario thinking are three key signs of anxiety disorders. Low mood, negative ideas, low self-esteem, and worry are all symptoms of pessimistic thinking, as well as variables in depression.

3. Pessimism hampers personal development and growth:

Pessimism plays a major role in hampering your personal development and growth because of the self-limiting beliefs that one holds in regards to themselves which leads to them having very little to no willingness to seek out things that may impact them positively in the longer run.

4. Pessimists are less creative.

Pessimists’ thought processes can also have a detrimental impact on their relationships since they take fewer risks, are less creative, and their thought approach is less risky.

5. Pessimism is detrimental to mental health:

Pessimism has a bad impact on your mental health since it feeds you unpleasant thoughts all of the time.

How To Overcome Pessimism?

While a certain degree of pessimism is necessary and even protective, too much or imbalanced pessimism can lead to poor mental health and drive people to limit themselves, resulting in missed possibilities for growth and achievement. 

The following are some ways that can help people become less pessimistic:

1. Confront cognitive erroneousness.

People with cognitive distortions may experience reality from a perspective that differs from reality. Challenging overly pessimistic notions like “There’s no chance I’ll obtain that job,” or “Nobody understands me,” might help people realize that some of their gloomy beliefs are unfounded.

2. Make a list of advantages and disadvantages.

Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of a situation, and try to come up with at least one “positive” for every “con” on your list. While this method may not be appropriate in all instances, it can assist you in achieving a balanced viewpoint in many.

3. Take a look at the past. 

Consider an instance when things turned out better than you expected.

Pessimism, more often than not, can lead to overly low expectations. When we compare these expectations to examples from our own lives, an unduly pessimistic outlook may appear to be less of a viable option.

4. Base your belief on facts and conclusions.

Have evidence or proof to back up your point of view, and then draw a conclusion.

5. Meditation.

Meditation is an effective practice for shifting your mind to positive thinking and focusing on the good parts of life.

Lessons, pessimists abide by in life:

In addition to everything we discussed above, we can also talk about how a lot, and by lot, a huge amount of pessimists will often rehearse these key pointers to themselves on a daily basis

  • Life generally goes on.
  • Everyone is worried and sad most of the time.
  • It’s normal to have very big regrets around careers. 
  • It’s hard to be happy for more than 15 minutes. 
  • Almost all our hopes will eventually be dashed out.
  • Mediocrity is the norm.

Read More, Best Ways for Stress management with Best Exercises for Relieving stress

Ending this, always remember to be an optimist by nature and a pessimist by your intelligence conviction. You have to balance out the moderations accordingly, some days the optimism should surpass the pessimism while some days, pessimism has to be in charge. Even if you come from a perspective of pessimism or optimism you wouldn’t fail to agree that life is an act of balancing and we either way have to embrace the dualities and cautiously, interplay the opposite ideologies.

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Psychology, spirituality, emotional wellbeing. Mental health advocate blogger.

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