The Positive Power of Pessimism

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Photo – baileyraeweaver/Flickr!

In your whole life, you might have been taught to be optimistic, to be hopeful for whatever happens. No one wants to be a pessimist. But sometimes pessimism actually makes you more realistic, reduces disappointments in life and gives you true happiness.

Many researchers have discovered the fact that while optimists may be overly hopeful under all circumstances of life, pessimists may easily manage the bitter realities of life and handle disappointments in a better manner. This is because pessimists expect the least from life, so chances of getting disappointed are fewer. And if you imagine the worst case scenarios of any situation, pessimists are able to cope with the pressures of modern life.

So consider this: What if your bus is running late and you won’t be able to make it to your job interview on time? What if you don’t know anybody in a party you’ll be attending? What if you don’t know the answers of any of the questions in your final exams? If you get indulged in these kinds of negative thoughts, it may actually help you to go on to do your best by preparing for the worst. It also gives you pleasant surprises every once in a while when things turn out to be better than expected.

“If you expect the worst, you’ll never be disappointed.” ~ Sarah Dessen (Novelist)

Edgar Allan Poe could be recognised as the ‘king of pessimism’. His dark and twisted stories are filled with negative thought and ideas. By using pessimism, one brings out a dark side from within. Poe was a man who had faced many troubling experiences throughout his life. It seemed that all the women he loved ended up dying – from the same disease, tuberculosis. In addition to his misfortune, he was poor, didn’t have a stable job, and was an alcoholic. To escape from his saddened world, Poe drank and wrote short stories or poems with a pessimistic outlook.

Being a pessimist is what made Poe such a great writer. He brought out his dark side in his work. Poe had many pieces of work published which gained him the reputation of a dark and twisted writer. Some of his more familiar pieces of work such as, The Tell-Tale Heart, or The Pit and the Pendulum, used great amounts of pessimism to sway the story along. In his piece, The Tell-Tale Heart, he wrote about a crazed manic who was tormented by the eyes of an old man. “One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture – a pale blue eye, with a film over it… I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.” This is just an example of how pessimistic Poe was. It seems that all of his stories and poems are laced throughout with pessimism which was like Poe’s warm blanket. It allowed him to vent out his frustrations…

Also, when it just so happens that everything goes fine unexpectedly, the pessimist becomes glad. “Hey, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” you will hear many pessimists saying with a sigh of relief. If the outcome to anything is good with an optimist, it will not be joyful for him, as he expected it, so what’s so special about anything good happening with an optimist?

Pessimists are likely to respond better to negative feedback. They like to hear the problems, so they can correct them. Again, part of why pessimists produce these sorts of negative thoughts is that it helps them in performing better.

“I like pessimists. They’re always the ones who bring life jackets for the boat. ~ Lisa Kleypas, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor/aka Christmas with Holly

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