5 Reasons Why it’s Not Worth Being a Pessimist

· October 13, 2018

Could British novelist Arnold Bennett be right? He said that “Pessimism, when you get used to it, is as pleasant as optimism”. Can being a pessimist really be a positive thing?
The one thing we know to be true is that being pessimistic is a type of attitude we can adopt towards life. It’s a way of thinking that filters the way we see reality. It also alters the way we make predictions about what’s going to happen in our lives. We can interpret everything that happens in our lives in a positive or negative way. People who believe that the world is terrible and that they’re surrounded by an awful environment make their life more difficult.

“Sadness is a gift from heaven. Pessimism is a disease of the spirit.”

-Amado Nervo-

Why it’s not worth being a pessimist

A pessimist isn’t necessarily a sad person, as we may have previously thought. In other words, not all pessimists see the world in a depressed way or are feeling some type of emotional pain. 

It’s common for pessimistic people to be dealing with something difficult that’s making them feel that way. However, pessimistic people don’t have to be that way. When we continue to go through struggles in our life, this can make us start feeling pessimistic. We can start to experience learned helplessness. This is true because, according to a pessimist’s logic, fighting or striving to make progress wouldn’t be worthwhile.

A pessimist holding a sign.


Although being pessimistic isn’t the best way to life live, we can’t make generalizations about pessimistic people. Pessimism is a way of thinking that we can apply to different injustices or situations. However, this isn’t a daily occurrence for a pessimistic person.

They seek the truth

A good thing about pessimists is that they usually prefer the truth than being fooled with a lie. They prefer a realistic version of the world where they can see things for what they are.

However, even if pessimists are good at accepting uncomfortable truths, it’s also true that they don’t seek to understand the world with objectivity. They simply expect the worst and believe that everything is bad and based on convenient lies. It’s as if they believed that the truth has to be negative. Everything that’s good or positive must be a lie.

They only focus on the negative

As we have seen, a pessimistic attitude always emphasizes and focuses on the bad. A pessimistic attitude doesn’t let the person focus on anything positive. Everything has to be negative.

These type of people rarely, if ever, focus on what’s good in their life. Their focus is most likely whatever negative thing is happening in their life. Having such a negative outlook on life can take its toll. 

They always have low expectations

Pessimists really make the saying “you get what you wish for” true. They have personalities that shield them from positive expectations. They don’t allow themselves to think that something good could happen. In fact, they expect nothing to get better unless they try hard or do something extra. And even then, pessimists believe that hard things probably won’t go our way.

Their pessimistic attitude, to a certain extent, protects them from disappointment. If they don’t set high expectations, a poor reality can’t possibly surprise them. On the other hand, not just pessimists use this strategy. We’ve all done it before to protect ourselves and we’ve probably come to realize that adopting that attitude isn’t always necessary.

They experience the grieving process more often

Pessimistic people go through the grieving process more often than others. In addition to the real losses they face in their life, they also have to face the losses they anticipate but may or may not really happen. Therefore, they go through imaginary grief processes. We say imaginary because the thing they’re grieving didn’t actually happen.

A woman looking out a window.

An unconscious or dormant attitude

Socially, we don’t always hold pessimism in high regard (even more so now that positive psychology has become so popular). Therefore, pessimists tend to hide their attitudes. In addition, their attitude can be so ingrained in their thinking that they can be pessimists without even knowing it.

Pessimism is a filter or attitude that we can use whenever we choose. Regardless of what’s happening in our life, we can choose to see those events in a positive or negative manner. What science says is that optimism actually seems to help us deal with problems, even if it’s only a self-fulfilling prophecy that’s at work.

“The sun shines everywhere, but some only see their shadows.”

-Arthur Helps-