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Why We Are Pessimists

I was talking the other day with my brother about really, really nice people.

You know the kind?

The kind that you can’t actually say anything bad about, because they are friendly, polite, and level almost always.

Discussing this with my brother, I told him that there were two people in the world I considered the nicest.

They were my Aunty Kath – who lives in Australia, and my Neighbour (who is also my friend’s dad)

By nature, these people – as far as I know – have never said anything untoward ever, they are always positive, always enthusiastic, I have only ever heard them say good things and if it is something bad they must say they say it in a way that is tactful, and not ripping someone or something to shreds.

Here’s the thing, recently, I’ve sort of found that I’ve been a little too negative.

Maybe it is stress, because of crazy wedding planning and life changes and whatever, but maybe it is because I let myself get too negative?

I am an A type personality, efficient, focused, list making, a little bit of a perfectionist, so I can sometimes be a little… uptight. Being uptight, and loving to think and roll things over and stuff can also mean that I end up dissecting problems and focusing on them and wanting to hold discussions with friends and family on the subjects.

The problem is that I complain too readily, I freak out too quickly, I allow tiny things to snow ball and become monuments to things, I have to talk to process things and need to learn to quietly internalize and work it out without putting the laundry on the line for reflection.

But why do I do these things?

Because it is easy.

I’m a creative type, I think lots, try to understand things and feelings and thoughts, and it is easy to shrug and tell people that I am a creative, and can therefore be rather melancholic.

I could probably go through life just like this forever, but these days, I have realized that I don’t actually want to. I want to be a person like my neighbour and my aunt, who when people thing of me they think about how I only have positive things to say, that I am enthusiastic, polite, and kind.

I could just say how I am is how I am, part of my personality, and note the positive outcomes of my A type characteristics.

But I don’t want to. I don’t want to because I am pretty sure I can be both kinds of people.

I am pretty sure I can be thoughtful, and logical, and pragmatic, and think things through to understand them, and critique and all the other stuff that I do that helps me in life to be a good writer, or a good thinker or whatever.

But that I can also be someone who is positive, rather than inherently negative.

I am only negative because it is an easy way to deal with thoughts and emotions, it requires no shelf control, it puts you in a weird power position or can make you seem smart.

So that’s my challenge to myself, and I suppose my challenge to you. How do you want people to speak of you? Super nice person, or default pessimist?

It is easy to be negative, but I want to be a person who speaks and lives positive things, so while it is difficult and requires self control, that is who I am choosing to be

We live our own stories, and I suppose ultimately what I see myself doing is changing the narrative tone, the storyline, the vibe, because I have gotten lazy about my life story.

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4 thoughts on “Why We Are Pessimists

  1. I think that I would love to be a cynic. It seems like it would be quite liberating to not have hope, or to pin hope onto things as often. You can’t get hurt if you go in believing the worst. I seem to have a particularly positive curse though. Not the unendingly cheerful people, but I’m definitely a constantly glass half full person. It builds for a lot of let downs. :-/

    1. I suppose it is that balance of being an optimist but understanding how to properly deal with a negative outcome and I suppose processing the learning points without turning into a total emo. What it all reminds me of is playing piano. My teacher was super intense on how you hold your hands so you have best control of your fingers (so like, curving them rather than laying them completely flat on the keys) I guess it is about that level of control, to do something, but not it a totally flat, loud, and complete way. You make some awesome points

  2. Those two are not mutually exclusive. I’m most definitely a type A, but I’m the happiest and most positive when I have a goal and a plan on how to achieve it…I’m moody and cynical when things stagnate or I don’t know what I want or what to do next. Good luck!

    1. I love that idea of being happiest when working towards a goal, because I am the exact same way and it’s an awesome way to motivate yourself, I think. I suppose it is just that I have gotten too willing and good at having a major diss-fest whenever the opportunity presents itself. Thanks for your comment!

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