Are pessimists happier?


optimismI would like today to write about optimism and happiness. All my life, or great part of it, I have been an optimist, a person who always see the best in the worse situations, full of hope for the future and always believing the best can happen. In every situation, even the most seemingly tough or bad, I can spot something that is meaningful to me, something to learn. And I don’t mean this is easy, that suffering and pain are not part of it, but they are not the most important aspects, they are just a stepping-stone for the next level.

However, somehow recently I started to ‘lose’ this capacity. And for that reason I got quite puzzled about what happiness is, and how can a person be happy in difficult life situations, and how long can happiness last, and… you know, questions and more questions. I recalled that book about happiness I have back at my parents’ place (and I really wanted to have it with me!) and I started to search in the Internet what people, philosophers and scientists say about this subject.

And that was when I came across the concept and approach of positive psychology. I had previously read and study about this approach during my Psychology studies many years ago and I remembered I liked it a lot. I guess already then it was meaningful to me.

I lend in the public library a very easy reading manual about the subject saying to myself, I am going to pick up this book for my work, to bring some of it into the trainings and workshops I am preparing this year. And certainly I am going to work on this subject, but this book is enabling me to reconnect to my optimistic side and this way to be more authentic in my future work.

In the meanwhile I have several more questions in my mind. And one of the most important is ‘why pessimistic people are perceived as realistic and adult?’. I am confused, because I don’t think adulthood is defined by such characteristics such as negativity and pessimism. And certainly to be realistic is not the same as being pessimistic!

People who are pessimistic tend to think those who are optimistic lack maturity or cannot see the whole picture. And aren’t they perhaps only focusing on part of the picture as well, by only looking at difficulties and things that could go wrong?

I think it is important to highlight that optimism is not about being naïve or ignoring problems and difficulties. It is mostly about not focusing on them and focusing on the bright side, on what can go right, on the strengths one have, and act accordingly. Yes, because when a person adopts a positive and optimistic approach she or he will also behave in a way that will make it possible for good and positive things to happen.

While the contrary happens when a person is pessimistic. If a person thinks everything is going to go wrong because he or she is not good enough, the most probably is that everything will go wrong. But not because that is the way things are, that is the way this person makes things to be.

And well, during my pessimistic months I have never felt that it was bringing me anything good. I mean, I was feeling bad about the events in my life and on the top of it by adopting a negative and pessimistic view of life I was making things even worse, feeling hopeless about the future and life. So I ask you, what does one have to lose in trying a bit of optimism? At least give it a try to see what happen!

A simple way of being happy 🙂


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