Check out this article I read on overcoming pessimism…
Joe a middle-aged mental health professional is what I like to call a closet pessimist. On the outside, Joe looks and sounds like an optimist. He’s quick to offer advice to his clients, as well as friends and family, like:” Hey, it’ll work out- you’ll see “or “Better times are right around the corner.” But when it comes to his own future, Joe is much more pessimistic. He says, “Every time the phone rings, my first thought is ‘Oh Lord, what’s wrong now?’ I hate that but can’t help it—it’s just automatic.”
Joe thinks like a pessimist. Like millions of others, he was raised in an alcoholic, abusive home. As a kid, Joe earned to hope for the best but to expect the worst because in his family life was always one beer away from chaos- It’s how children of alcoholics survive. The problem is, the pessimism of his past has persisted, and now it just complicates his present mental and emotional life.
If you see yourself in Joe’s story, the good news is that you can win the battle of negative expectations. (Happiness for Dummies pg. 69)
Here are five simple rules to help you do just that:
- Accept the fact that you’re a pessimist at heart. You don’t have to go around sharing the information with just anyone, but you should be honest with yourself about the challenge you face in becoming a more positive-thinking person.
- Accept the fact that your first thought is always a negative one- that’s just a given- But DO NOT go with this thought, don’t dwell on it, and certainly don’t let it guide your behavior at that momnet.
- Remember that it’s the second thought that counts. Learn to counter act your initial pessism by substituting an optimistic thought. So, for example, “I’m not sure if I can do this” becomes “wow, what a great opportunity!”
- Separate the past from the present (and the future). Start saying, “That was then; this is now.” No longer link chaos of your early years (or whatever negative experiences you had in the past) with the expectations you have for things that come up in today’s world.
ü Reward yourself for this self-initiated change in thinking. Give yourself a pat on the back, or head to your local coffee shop for yur favorite drink.
Remember Anything that was learned can ultimately be unlearned J
“Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong but all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists.” Thomas L. Friedman