Realist, practical, honest. These are adjectives you might use to describe yourself as you recount the many negatives of a situation. You may experience great pride as you tell people the hard truths of life. But, more than likely, you are not a realist but a pessimist.
Though you may not realize it, your negative outlook can bring yourself, your family, friends, and coworkers down. If your interactions were a survival movie, you’d be the person screaming everyone’s going to die while others are looking for the way out. Pessimism is a spectrum, but if you don’t think this quite sounds like you, here are five more signs you might be chasing dark clouds.
#1 Success Is Only Achieved By Luck
Rather than attributing that new job, promotion, or achievement to your own hard work and perseverance, you may often attribute it to luck. It wasn’t those hours of overtime, dozens of books you read, or constant small talk about the boss’s sick goldfish that led to your success, but a lucky coincidence. Oftentimes, pessimists have difficulty connecting success with their actions. To determine if pessimism might be a factor in your life, monitor your reaction the next time anything good happens. Are you excited for your success because you worked hard or do you minimize your success and convince everyone, and yourself, it was a stroke of luck? When hard work is put in, expecting positive results, rather than anticipating negativity or giving luck the credit, will push your progress forward.
#2 Things Won’t Work Out
When things don’t work out, you are rarely surprised. Because you had assumed it wouldn’t work out, anyway, you are not surprised when it does. Often, pessimists falsely believe that no matter what they do or how much hard work they put in, the outcome will be poor. When you start a new business, leave your house for a meeting, or apply for a new job, you may psyche yourself out. You may spend your days expecting the worst and then confirm this belief when something doesn’t go as planned. By holding firm to these negative beliefs you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of misery which will hinder your potential.
#3 You Shoot Other People’s Optimism
When others come to you bubbling with enthusiasm, you often aim for a fatal spot and shoot. This negative reaction can place a cloud, or tombstone, over their idea. If this person is a child or someone who may have low self-esteem this could lead to them dropping the idea. An exercise you might like involves monitoring your interactions for a few days. If you find yourself highlighting all the reasons someone’s idea won’t work and none of the reasons it could, then you may be a pessimist. While you may think you are just giving them a reality check, you are actually bringing them into your cycle of negativity and they won’t appreciate this behavior.
Before reacting to someone’s ideas or goals, check for negativity within yourself. Will your words help them or hurt them? Aim to give five reasons why it might work and one reason why it might not, at first. Listen to their idea fully and then give them tiny doses of reality. Make sure suggestions are constructive rather than critical or knee-jerk.
#4 You Give Up Quickly
When you hit a roadblock in a project you may turn around and never look back. This is a big sign of negative thinking patterns. If you quit everything you try right in the beginning, how will you ever see success? Many, many studies have shown that perseverance is a precursor to mastering skills and gaining success. Your tendency to quit when the going gets bumpy may be hindering your success in your workplace, relationships, and personal growth. You are capable of more than you believe. Don’t give up. Stick in for the long haul and enjoy the benefits of perseverance. You deserve it.
#5 Forgiveness Is Very Hard For You
If you can’t imagine how people can forgive and forget others, easily, then you may be a pessimist. Due to the negative thinking cycle that often dominates a pessimist’s life, forgiveness can be very difficult. While forgiving others seems an odd thing to give a person who has hurt you, it isn’t actually for that person. The forgiveness is for you. When you let go of the anger, resentment, hurt, and bitterness the person’s behavior caused in you, you can have more space within you to fill yourself with love, hope, and faith.
These positive emotions will help you look forward to the future and all of the amazing opportunities that are coming your way. Not only does forgiveness hurt you it can hurt others around you. Your negative feelings may manifest in anger towards your significant other, children, and colleagues who love you. Ridding your life of this person could be the best decision you ever made and it begins with forgiveness.
Pessimism is an unhealthy reaction to life, but it can be fixed with some optimistic behavior such as gratitude, positive self-talk, laughter, expecting positive outcomes, and giving yourself credit for your successes.
If you have worked hard and experience success, this is not due to luck, it is directly related to the amount of work you put in. With a healthy dose of optimism, you could be that amazing friend whose opinion everyone values. You can, now, comment on the truth of a situation, including the positive aspects. After you have swapped your half-empty glass for a half-full glass, you could be that realistic, practical person you believe yourself to be.