Halt, You Pessimist!

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I’ve wondered, which is better, to be optimistic or pessimistic? It seemed obvious to me that optimism would be the better choice, right? I didn’t know. So I began just thinking about it. Thinking is so much fun; it’s hard to stop once one has started. I also happened to have my pocket dictionary and looked up these words. (Websters New World) Pessimism is the tendency to expect the worst. Optimism is the tendency to be cheerful about life.

But which is better? In everyday life there is no changing the truth; one can never change the truth. If we have a bad day, optimists cannot come in and feel abundantly glad about it. Optimism and pessimism is a screen in which we view life. We can set out ready to be joyful about little things or set out to be morose about every uncomfortable thing we encounter. Again, there is no changing the truth; this does not mean we should be happy all the time. Optimism allows us to be content with our lives.  If we begin reminding ourselves of the joy in our situation we begin also to thrive in life, to enjoy blessings that come our way instead of downplaying them because of our tendency towards gloom.

That is how an optimist and a pessimist deal with the truth. Often we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We may be going into a situation with new people or a different atmosphere and we fear for what those new prospects may bring. A pessimist will look at an unknown and know the worst. An optimist will hope for the best. There is no point in deciding that the day will be rainy and black outside when we have no proof that it will be. Why decide the evening will be awful when it has not happened yet? If we do this we lose part of our capability to enjoy and our ability to bring joy to others that may be just as uncomfortable as us. Look ahead at unknown with a cheerful perspective and see the truth through an optimistic lens. You may reach the end of your day and think, “That was horrible.” But then move on; that does not define you.

Optimism is something you decide to be. Some things are impossible to change but pessimism and optimism is entirely up to you. If you decide you are going to see the world through a gloomy veil that is the way you are going to see it. It is also a process-this won’t fall away overnight. It must be a purposeful attempt to change. If you think a pessimistic thought, replace it with something optimistic and truthful. You can decide right now to stop your pessimism. Many people don’t. They feel like it’s a trait that has been molded into them, but that is not true. We all have the choice to do or not to do, and this will not change. The thing that can change is what you decide to do about it.

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