If you pay attention, you'll notice that pessimist typically have no idea that they are pessimistic. As someone who has been friends with pessimistic individuals, I have paid attention to how they only highlight the negative situations they encounter. I've too recognized their frustration when dealing with others who don't conform to their ideals. I realized that pessimistic individuals lack the ability to identify and accept their deficits but so quickly spot the deficits of others.
In my experiences, I have not only learned how to quickly spot pessimistic behaviors (so that I can learn distance myself accordingly in the future), but I have also discovered the best way to reach these individuals. Especially because distancing oneself can be hard to practice for many of us when the pessimistic person (or people) in our life are siblings, bestfriends, parents, etc.; individuals that are so implanted in our lives that the idea of distancing ourselves is either very tough, or out of the question.
With this post, however, you will be able to minimize the impact of manifested pessimism in your life through identifing pessimistic behavior, as well as learning to help those pessimist in your life miminze this behavior as well.
But before we get to that point, we must learn how to spot a pessimist, so we can be ready to deal with him/her accordingly.
HOW TO SPOT THE PESSIMIST
In order to learn how to spot a pessimist, we must understand what a pessimist is and recognize behaviors that individual would posses. So in other words, we need to answer the question, what is a pessimist?
What is a pessimist?
Pessimist have a way of viewing the world in a very negative light. Because of this, pessimist tend to believe in and anticipate the worst case scenario by focusing on what is going wrong, rather than what is going right.
Pessimists typically hold grudges, as they have a hard time with forgiving others. Pessimists also give up easily, have a hard time being happy for others and discredit their victories (focus on what's going wrong vs right).
1. Pessimists don't prefer a challenge!:
While there are undoubtably different levels of pessimism, pessimists are gennerally rational individuals and can be hopeful. Pessimist will also allow themselves to share in an experience, however, they will divert to pessimism when the experience becomes challengeing and/or unfavorable. Essentially, they swiftly divert to anticipating and only seeing the negative, when the situation appears to no be going as expected.
2. Pessimists are anti planning!:
For most pessimist planning is tough, becuase they are prone to see the negative so they don't want to explore (prior to) what they could aviod. They feel better when they "hope" for the best, rather than plan for the best possible outcome.
Pessimist prefer to choose not to explore what could be, only what won't be. They believe to be preparing themselves for the let down, without considering that their lack of planning can be the cause of the let down!
3. Pessimists have unequivocal expectation for others vs themselves!:
Typically pessimist have higher expectations in others than they have in themselves. A pessimist's world is consumed with focus on those who let them down, but they have a hard time considering how they themselves have created a ball/world of negativity around them.
In other words, a pessimist will say "I should have never met Peter, he doesn't have a good job and can't do anything for me," instead of saying "Peter, despite losing his job, has not given up and is working until he finds another job in his field."
Again, pessimists view the world glass half empty. In the concept of our scenario, Peter not having a job would be a challenge they aren't willing to experience, therefore a pessimists chooses not to see the potential benefit in being there for Peter until he obtains the job of his dreams.
Even if the pessimist has no job himself, it is not a factor. They only focus on what someone else can't do for them, despite what they can or refuse to do for themselves.
So how can you help them?
GETTING THE PESSIMIST TO SEE THEMESLEVES
The easiest way to get a pessismist to see themselves is to ask thought provoking questions. Instead of sharing your opinion, ask for theirs. It's somewhat of a trick to get them to consider different perspectives while analyzing their own behavior. For example change the "I think you'd be better off doing ____..." to "Do you think you'd be better off doing ____?"
By shaping your thoughts in the form of a question, it challenges them to see a different persepctive. This way you are not dictating to them or forcing your opinion. You allow them to come to the conclusions on their own. Because one of the most important things to note when dealing with pessimists is that they have to come to their own conclusions. Telling them information or truths they don't wish to accept is counter productive.
Lastly, don't forget that if you should NEVER suggest to a pessimist that they are indeed that, if for no other reason than the fact that they will deny it with supporting information.
Additionally pessimists gravitate toward people who are understanding, as they want to be heard, not criticized! Remember in order to help them, you must allow them to help themselves.
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