Pessimism

Pessimism is the emphasizing of adverse aspects, conditions and possibilities; it expects the worst possible endings; it regards reality as essentially evil. If person A makes a positive statement about hope for the future, person B, the pessimist, is sure to point out some negative possibility which would wreck A’s future and happiness. The pessimist has nothing positive to offer; he is a downer. his constant message is, don’t try to achieve anything in life, you will lose—the government, the way people think, all is against you. Don’t look forward to a life of love and happiness, sorrow is everywhere.

What the pessimist is really saying is: “Look at me; I’m not happy. Why should you be happy? I don’t want you to be happy; I am against happiness. I am against a better world. Why? Because I’m not positively _for_ anything!” That is the pessimist.

A different kind of man is the rational realist. He, too, sees possibilities of failure; he knows that happiness is not guaranteed, but, if there is the slightest chance of winning, he will point it out, he will be encouraging–and in that encouragement itself he makes the world a better place. He has infused a gladness into a venture which in itself is already a type of spiritual success.

Now, one should be careful about pinning labels on others and, particularly, on oneself. If you feel gloomy about a specific outcome now and then, either for others or for yourself, don’t say, “I’m a pessimist”. That might be a gross mis-identification. Rather, say to yourself, “I don’t see any evidence of a possible good outcome in this instance, but I’ll keep my eyes open for something positive. Besides, I see that Janet and Max are happy, so there is some chance for success for some people.” Calling oneself a pessimist doesn’t help others, or yourself, at all.

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