There is nothing wrong with having doubts and fears once in a while, but they must not be allowed to become a lifestyle. The difference between a pessimist and an optimist is not what they think but how they process life and events on a consistent basis.
All of us experience negative thoughts from time to time. How we manage our negative attitudes can make the difference between confidence versus fear, hope versus despair, mastery versus victimhood, and victory versus defeat.
Here are eight of the most significant characteristics of pessimists:
1. Self-Defeating Talk
They usually talk down on and to themselves over and over again. This reduces their self-worth, distorts self-image and damages confidence.
It doesn’t matter what others are telling you, what you tell yourself is the most important; the most instructive voice in your life is the voice of your subconscious. Never allow it to tell you things you don’t want to see in your life.
2. Negative Assumptions
We all presume one way or the other, and we do it a couple of times every day. We interpret life based on what we know, what we have heard and what we have seen and we make decisions based on these.
A pessimist interprets events and situations negatively; he sees half-empty cup instead of the half-filled; he sees a delay in hectic traffic, and he sees a spoilt day on a rainy day.
Situations are not necessarily good or bad in themselves; they are what we make of them.
3. Negative Comparison with Others
The Pessimist is the first to discover that everyone else is better off and has life going well for them while he is stuck and retrogressing.
There is no better way to look down on yourself than comparing yourself to others you believe are doing better.
Not only do you get to hate yourself for being an underachiever, but you also get to hate others for stealing your shine.
4. Negative Rumination about the Past
We all remember the past, especially the embarrassing and not-so-great events, mistakes and downtimes; however, the pessimist dwells on that memory and will not want to move on.
No matter how bad they were, you need to realize that they are in the past now and what you need to focus on is the present and what the future holds.
Make your peace with your past, forgive yourself for what you did wrong or did not do; take responsibility; learn your lessons, clean up the mess and move on.
5. Disempowering Beliefs about Difficult People
We meet difficult people every day; we meet them at work, they come to buy from us and they live in our neighborhood.
It is very easy to believe they are impossible to cope with let alone get along with; however, nothing can be further from the truth.
You need to learn how to respond and not react and also how to be proactive and not always wait for them to have the first say. Nobody has power over you if you know yourself and develop your people handling skills.
6. The Desire to Blame
Pessimists are addicted to finding faults. Sometimes you think they get to win something from it. We all need to understand that things go wrong once in a while and focus more on finding solutions that finding faults.
Instead of blaming everybody and everything else for all the troubles in our lives, we have to learn to take full responsibility for making a turnaround.
Stop blaming the economy, your poor health, your ex-wife, or your parents for what you are going through right now. Let the desire to make your life phenomenal overcome the urge to slip into the relatively easy blame game.
7. The Struggle to Forgive Yourself
Accepting responsibility for your life is not the same as holding yourself in contempt over your situation.
You have made mistakes in life; you have messed up a couple of times and you may even be responsible for where you are right now; however, you need to forgive yourself.
One of the healthy signs of responsibility is that you are willing to make amends for what you have done and that you are willing and ready to move on with your life.
8. The Fear of Failure and Making Mistakes
I love the way artists handle mistakes in the process of making a fine piece of artwork; they turn it into a new idea, they go with the flow and convert the mistake into a masterpiece.
Make failures and fears your servants, let them be effective tools in your hands as your journey towards greatness; let failures provide you with valuable experience and let your fears inspire you to attempt big and large dreams.