Is It Ironic That I Hate My Pessimism?

Hate and pessimism.  Two words that carry much weight and feelings of negativity.  Just writing those words causes me to shutter and feel a sense of remorse like I shouldn’t even be writing them. 

Pessimism is a negative or depressed mental attitude in which an undesirable outcome is anticipated from a given situation, whereas, hate and anger is of a feeling intense or passionate dislike.  

The new age spiritual model and in my pessimistic view of, shall I say, a self help casino, where we gamble and double down with constant positive thinking and the world of instant manifestations, knowing that somewhere, somehow, no matter what we are to remain optimistic and have faith that the Universe will always take care of our situations in the best way possible. 

Yet, when we bet everything on thought alone without action, we come up empty handed.

Lead study author Dr. Gabriele Oettingen, from New York University in New York City, declared in an interview that “of all the positive emotions, optimism about the future may have the most ironic effects.  Like happiness, only having positive fantasies about the future can be profoundly de-motivating.” Just fantasizing alone isn’t enough, you have to put forth action.

It seems that being angry and negative, isn’t just being stuck on the side of a road called pessimism, it’s the active form of energy that tells us that something is motivating us to change.  

Emotional Feelings Like Anger

Recently perusing my Instagram feed for additional creative ideas, I see a photo of a woman holding a sign that reads, “I’m 30.  No Kids, No Husband.  And It’s Okay!”  I think to myself, it’s easy to hold a sign giving me your life statistics when you’re only 30.  You still have the gift of youth and I’ve got 13 years on you.  It’s the same as being a beggar on the streets holding a sign for food when you still have $10,000 in your bank account.  Try living on zero.  Try living on fumes rather than a tank half full.  

My anger in that moment stemmed from my immediate lack of empathizing with her, but more importantly, it was really about what her issue actually said about me. If she’s worried about being single at 30 and holding up her sign of validation to receive the feedback that she’s still okay, what does that say about the rest of us who happen to be older?  Am I okay?  Bee-Tee-Dubs….I am 43 with no kids and no husband.  How do I compare with her?

What to do now

If you choose to follow that rabbit hole of being a co-creator in something that failed you, it might leave you feeling extremely depressed. Don’t go there. The good news is, it’s easier to present troubles to life when there is still a hope of fixing them.  

Experience will teach you that you will sometimes have a bad outcome, but it’s having the self confidence to know that you can handle it and make a new choice.  

Choose Wisely

Hate, anger, and pessimism is an inside job.  No one makes you that way, it comes about from the number one cause of pessimism:  Your inner critic. Oftentimes we rationalize away those voices within and when we do the message oftentimes gets louder.  This time, listen without judgment. Allow the inner dialogue to happen without pessimism or ridicule. 

I find that no one ever fully gives themselves permission to be okay with being who they are, especially when it is spending time in the glass half empty side of the pool.  Who ever asks themselves if they are okay with who they are?  As humans, it’s normal to look outside of ourselves for validation, because within validation is found the vital need for human acceptance and approval.  Humans are naturally pack animals: the desire for a home and place within a community, integral to instinct and the need for survival.   

In this sometimes unforgiving, often unpredictable world, the only thing which we can truly be optimistic about is our behavior. This is both rather frightening and empowering.  The way we choose to move through the world even in our moments of ‘down and out’ attitudes of pessimism, can still bring us joy, peace, or relief, based solely upon our actions and choices.

Choose wisely. It is not ironic that you hate your pessimism, it’s what you do with it that matters.

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Jenn Maronek

Nurse | Blogger | Coach | Author

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