A state of happiness is really a state of mind. It is a way of looking at the world and circumstances. One of the key components to this state of mind is learning to exercise optimism. In a pessimistic, negative world, this can be quite challenging.
Undoubtedly, you have heard the adage about the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. The optimist sees the glass as half full, while the pessimist sees the glass as half empty. The pessimist chooses to focus on what is not in the glass; the optimist chooses to focus on what is. The operative word here is “chooses”. An attitude of optimism or an attitude of pessimism is a choice.
The good news is, if you have learned to be pessimistic, you can change. And the first step toward change is admitting the way you are now.
If you are a pessimistic person, proclaim it, own up to it, and accept it. Frequently, people don’t see themselves as pessimistic. In fact, while they view everything else as being universally negative, they tend to view their pessimism as positive. Instead of interpreting themselves as pessimistic, they instead see themselves as pragmatic, realistic, more informed and enlightened, savvy, and smarter. For them, a pessimistic response to the world is seen as protective and even superior to the optimist. Because they approach life believing the worst in circumstances and in people, they feel they are better prepared for whatever life throws at them. They live a guarded, cautious, defensive life. Problems, difficulties, inconveniences, and downright disasters are expected.
Pessimists live their lives in perpetual fight-or-flight mode. Life is a battle to be confronted, factored, and endured. Every good thing that happens is an unexpected, short-lived surprise. Every bad thing that happens is confirmation of the correctness of their pessimism. Since people tend to want confirmation of their own opinions, they choose to focus on the bad things that happen.
A pattern of pessimism can be very difficult to give up because it seems safe. If you’ve been wounded, it appears smart to venture out cautiously, carefully, defensively. Pessimism appears to be just the armor you need to engage a hostile world. Pessimism becomes not an armor of keeping the world out, but a prison keeping you in. It’s a world that says the worse thing that can happen to you is to be hurt by someone or something else. This is a world where hate triumphs, where evil flourishes, where wrongs outweigh rights, where oppression is standard and disappointment is the order of the day.
There’s only one problem with this worldview; it’s a worldview. It’s a view completely obscured by this world. It presupposes that all there is or is ever going to be in this world, with all its faults and problems. This is the type of world described in Ephesians 2:11 – 12. It is a view “without hope and God in the world.”
But you do have hope, and God is in the world, so this worldview is a lie. Since the underlying assumptions of your pessimism are a lie, it’s perfectly logical, rational, pragmatic, enlightened, and savvy to reject it and instead base your response on life to truth. And what is truth? God is truth. Instead of a worldview, have a God view. With a God view, your response to life can change from pessimism to optimism.
Are you struggling with pessimism and feeling depressed? Do you feel that your life is not in your control? The Center • A Place of HOPE is here to help. Contact us today at 1-888-771-5166 and speak with a confidential specialist. Begin the healing process and have confidence that there is hope, and that joy and optimism is attainable.