Switching from Pessimism to Optimism | INFJ Forum

Switching from Pessimism to Optimism

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by NeverAmI, Aug 11, 2010.

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  1. NeverAmI

    NeverAmI Satisclassifaction
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    I recently came to a realization just how pessimistic I let myself become at times.

    For me, it seems like there are two modes, pessimistic or not caring.

    I recently read a book with a person that described their optimism, being thankful for things, not cursing their circumstance but being thankful for things that would commonly be viewed as negative.

    This was a stark contrast to my everday demeanor.

    So I was curious, has anyone here switched from pessimism to optimism? What was your technique?

    Or if you are generally optimistic, how do you view things?
     
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  2. the

    the Si master race.
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    I dont see why I should switch except maybe to make others happy. I think pessimism is a better way to go about life.
     
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  3. SPQR

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    According to my friends and family, I'm incredibly pessimistic. I don't think that I am, really I don't, but I guess I'm pretty vocal and scathing about things I don't care for.

    So, recently I've been trying the opposite by keeping my mouth shut about things I dislike, and trying to say more positive things than negatives. It's been working rather well. I want to stress that I'm not a pessimist, in fact I like to think that everything will work out just perfectly, mainly because I think attitude is half the battle. It's just that my criticism stings more than my praise soothes.

    So, I guess I'm generally optimistic. To answer your question, I tend to be pretty relaxed about things. There was a time when I blew things way out of proportion and I would get terribly stressed if things didn't work out. I would actually get physical pain, usually in the form of stomach aches. But that's gone now.

    I forgot who had the quote in their signature, but it was a really good one: 'Don't take life too seriously or else you'll never get out alive'. I guess that's how I see things now. I still care about things, quite deeply sometimes in fact, and I want to do the best job I can, but it's no longer the end of the world for me if things don't work out. I guess found some sort of balance between the two.
     
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  4. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    I am a generally optimistic person. I would say that is a pretty accurate portrayal of my mind. I am thankful for what I do have, though it is not without its own struggle. I find myself seeing "negative" things as simply opportunity for growth and learning. I have had pessimistic mind sets before though. It's a very subtle difference in my thought pattern.

    When it gets down to it, there are points when things really start to irk me and I cannot put a positive spin on it so I simply tend to try to let the emotion of it go. It does me no good holding on to the negativity. Then I can process it in a thoughtful way, which ultimately teaches me something - thus becoming positive.

    It is actually far easier holding on to negative scripts. It takes a fair amount of practice letting go of them and seeing things from an angle we are not familiar with.
     
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    #4 Wyote, Aug 11, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
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  5. OP
    NeverAmI

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    Agreed, I have been extremely negative about my roommate recently, almost seething. I asked myself on my drive home yesterday why I don't just give up those thoughts. It was like I REALLY didn't want to give up the negativity.

    For whatever reason, I clung to it like a piece of driftwood in the ocean. I can't figure out why I do that, and why it is so natural. My household growing up was pretty negative, my parents were just always inconvenienced by everything, so I wonder if part of the problem is me imitating that behavior.

    I have had limited exposure to some people that are generally optimistic, my former boss is one. I am not talking happy-go-lucky lobotomy style, but just a healthy view of life, able to easily let go of things.
     
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  6. OP
    NeverAmI

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    Another interesting thing about my former boss:

    His patience with people is extraordinary. He can deal with random interjections of people asking for things all day. He gets random phonecalls, random walk-ins, and just generally people always asking for help in one form or another. As he does more, he gets more to do.

    I find it fascinating and I am going to ask him what goes through his mind when someone walks in, before they say anything. In my mind it would be "Can't you see I am busy??? What do you want???" Of course, that doesn't manifest in my outward demeanor, I am good at hiding that, usually.
     
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  7. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    It feels good to hold on to that anger, like you have control of the situation and you are right about what you feel. When you question it, it's like knocking down your ego because maybe you are wrong, maybe there are things going on you hadn't thought about, which might make you feel vulnerable(or worse, a bit stupid) but it should make you feel good because it's a whole new level of empathy and understanding of your surroundings. It should feel really good actually, but it's scary letting go of something you've already submitted in your mind as a fact.

    Like this room mate of yours, maybe he's a total douche I don't know, but there are certainly reasons for it. If you start empathizing with those reasons it might seem foolish to have ever been angry at him in the first place, even if he is a total douche.
     
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  8. Odyne

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    Can I just say that optimism and pessimism have little to do with being realistic.

    Some people find that pessimism will not betray them because this way they are always in "the moment" and they won't be disappointed with reality. However, pessimism will blind you to the good things in life, and if you rely on it, you will cease to enjoy your life and you will no longer see the need to change anything to the better..why should you? It'll turn out bad anyway.

    Optimism can be just as bad, because you don't realize that you are not seeing things for what they are, you cling to your ideals, make surrealistic decisions, and guess what; a reality check is in order, and it will hurt, and you're in for a huge disappointment.

    I can easily write down a list of pro and cons of each. The key is simply good ol' "balance".

    Personally, I am a generally optimistic person, as in I make my decisions, I try to make them the best decisions I can make with what ever little experience and knowledge I have in life..and "hope for the best". I don't let negative thoughts in when it's unnecessary. I mean, I am not going to expect the worst out of everything, simply because I don't want to be disappointed. I find it unfair, because there is a big possibility that the outcome will turn out just as good, so why predict the bad only.

    However, that's when I am dealing with a personal issue. When, I am helping someone else who is feeling a lil under the weather, I might go a bit overboard because they need something to lighten up their perspective. Especially, if I feel like their going to make a decision based solely on their pessimism.

    So to people, I seem more foolishly optimistic then I really am. :p
     
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  9. jyrffw54

    jyrffw54 שכינה עוֹלֶה

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    You are my soul sistah! :) That is so me! lol
     
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  10. Gaze

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    Agree completely.
     
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  11. invisible

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    yes i have gone from being the most negative person i know to the most positive. for me, rather than thinking "i must be positive about this", the key has been looking for other explanations. the pessimistic explanation is meaningful but it is only one of many. i think the optimistic explanations are often the most adaptive and constructive. they allow me to achieve meaningful responses to undesirable situations rather than wallowing in "reality". being positive for me doesn't mean forgetting about the negative things, but the balanced perspectives allows me to deal with them in a more healthy way.

    i have developed an attitude of gratitude and it was worthwhile. laughing at the words "attitude of gratitude" helps. i like this attitude. it makes my relationships and life more meaningful to me. i feel happier and more loving. i enjoy this feeling. it makes life easier in a way that i don't think is a cop out. it makes me more aware of the difficulties of others.

    my thoughts on your colleague are to practice remaining calm. i am engaged in this process now. i detach emotionally from the difficulties of my workload by recognising the emotions that come up as valid but irrelevant and unhelpful to completing the task, and bringing my mind back to focus on the task completely. a big part of it is acceptance: eg people are difficult. another part is a balanced perspective: eg they don't intend to be difficult. when i'm successful the work just flows through me. but i'm not usually successful. i'm learning. but this is the path i think.
     
  12. bamf

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    I'm an optimist through and through. When things go bad I often find ways to see the situation as a learning experience so as to salvage even a terrible situation. I'm not a negative person, and I never really have been. Sure I get moments of negativity, but so do everyone else. It's part of the human experience. I wish I had switched from pessimism to optimism so I'd have a way to help you in your transformation, but it really is worth it if you feel pessimism is getting you down. I've found that generally having a optimistic demeanor allows me to stay cool headed when things get sticky and I can calm people down, especially some of my easy to excite friends.

    Pessimism works for some people, it doesn't for others. For me, being optimistic is far less stressful.
     
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  13. OP
    NeverAmI

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    So, I sat down and asked about how he can do it.

    I told him what usually runs through my mind, and he said a lot of the times it is the same for him. He said he just hides it better than I do. He also said he goes home and drinks a lot. LOL

    I thought I was good at hiding things, but dang, he really puts me to shame. I don't have the energy to be so extraverted. There has to be something he isn't telling me though, some way of viewing things that gets him that energy to joke, to laugh, and to seek another day of it.
     
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    NeverAmI

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    That's incredibly insightful. It does feel good to hold on to that negativity to an extent. Just as you said, it is comfortable, known, easy, and makes me feel superior. I hadn't thought about that.

    [rant]
    I wasn't always so eager to loathe him, but he pulled some stuff that I wasn't ok with and those actions would get me into major trouble by association just by living there, but I won't go into further detail. I tore into him and that situation is resolved but those actions showed that he had little to no consideration for me. He has reinforced that through other things too. I should have moved out, and I said I was going to when all that went down, but with my current job circumstance it makes much more sense just to stick where I am and try to put up with it until I move out of town.

    I find myself hyper-critical nowadays of him, getting pissed at every little thing he does. He recently removed his carpet, padding, and subflooring to supposedly fix his cat's problem with going to the bathroom upstairs on the carpet, I told him just to take the damn cat to the vet, but instead he spends all this money on the flooring. He says the cat won't be able to smell the old remnants so he won't do it anymore. I told him the damn cat has something wrong with him and he wouldn't be doing it if he was healthy. So what happens? The cat continues using the new carpet as his toilet...

    I can't even talk to him anymore because he just rambles on and on and on and on.

    Every time I go into the bathroom he has the blinds opened. He has a weird combination of OCD and ADD, and he thinks of life in terms of when he is doped up on his speed pills he has prescribed. He goes to the doctor every time because he uses them all up and makes some excuse to need more.

    One day he said he wasn't feeling well while getting some crap sugary treat out of the freezer. I told him how eating sugary treats all day is so unhealthy, that he needs some nutrition, and his response? "Oh, I am just not on my pills today, I feel fine when I am on them."

    I was like "You realize you are equating your standard of health to being on a stimulant rather than when you are at a normal state, right?"

    He is an escapist to the extreme, he seems so completely immersed in finding something to take him out of a natural state. It is frustrating for me, especially when I am attempting to do the exact opposite.
    [/rant]
     
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  15. Razare

    Razare Community Member

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    I actually remember when I switched from being optimistic to pessimistic as a child. I might have been between the ages of 8 and 10. It's not that I've never been optimistic since, just since that moment I use pessimism a lot.

    It came with a realization that how I wanted things to happen, wasn't generally how they would end up happening. I was always optimistic and hoped things would turn out my way, but they didn't. After a while of this, I began to realize that I should anticipate that things will never go my way. This way, I wont be constantly let down.

    With other personalities, I think it may be easier to be optimistic. With our Ni projecting to us what we'd love to have, we can't be optimistic because we ultimately latch onto some unrealistic hope.

    Other people live in the moment and don't think things ahead so far like we are always doing. We're future oriented, where your average Joe is present oriented.

    So yes, I'm totally pessimistic, and the only times I am not is when I am completely distracted or absorbed in something.

    PS - And the few times I let go of my pessimism and have a glimmer of hope about something is when something really bad happens to me which just reinforces the pessimism mentality. It's true that living this way makes you miserable, but it's not much of a choice for some people who are constantly let down by life.
     
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    #15 Razare, Aug 12, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
  16. Daeledin

    Daeledin <font color=#575EC1>NVs Fanboi</font>

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    Might seem like a cop out NAI, but my answer is simply to just keep flashing that big ol' smile.

    No matter how much a situation irks you.
    - Realize everyone has their problems
    - You can be a part of the solution
    - Don't agree just because you don't know if the other side is for sure. Then put it aside (not forgotten).
    - Convince yourself you'll live to see the day that you will see your goals and dreams come.
    - (not necessary) but having obtainable dreams helps in the optimism department.

    The big trick in the end is to strike that delicate balance between what is easy to believe in, what is real, and what just brings you the most spontaneous happiness.

    I'm a gay, atheistic, INFJ scientist in a backwater, conservative, educational-laughing-stock state. If I can laugh and smile here; being what I am. I can will myself to follow the silver lining in anything. No matter how naive it (trust me I'm aware) may be.

    Work on laughter wrinkles!

    P.S. Friends help.
     
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  17. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    I just remember there are so many people in the world who have it shittier than me. Nothing gets you more thankful for what you have than the realization that every person is suffering in their own way, some people in quite severe ways, and yet they continue to persevere. If a child with cancer is throwing up their guts every day and losing their hair because of their chemo, and they can continue to fight on, then I, as someone who still has their health, should be able to make it through the day as well.

    I'm the kind of person who likes to obsess, to bitch, to complain, and to hold grudges, and yet I feel quite embarrassed that I engage in those behaviors when I remember that my Aunt who has severe Lupus never ruminates over how unfair it is that she is sick, never bitches or complains about her sickness, and doesn't blame anyone for it even though she arguably could since a car crash is what set it off. No matter how much pain she is in, she is just happy to be alive and accepts her condition with that age old saying, "It is what it is".
     
  18. invisible

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    i agree with this wholeheartedly and yet for me it has been only half the battle. for me the other half is in actively appreciating my life. for a long time at school i thought, "it's so difficult for me to complete these assignments but at least i have the opportunity to learn unlike some other people in this world", but things became easier when i moved on to reminding myself in addition that i love my area of study and to learn something new gives me a feeling of joy. even in my workplace where people treat me like dirt i don't just think about how my work conditions are much better than those of a slave in a third world nation, i also think about how deeply meaningful my work is to me.

    EDIT BTW, this is something a mentor taught me, not something i came up with myself.
     
    #18 invisible, Aug 12, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
  19. ruji

    ruji Well-known member

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    Being satisfied with what you have, is giving up ;)
     
  20. Lumi Spitsbergen

    Lumi Spitsbergen Community Member

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    Or being happy with where you are now. Doesn't necessarily preclude ambition for the future. I can generally be happy under almost any circumstances, as long as I have a relative amount of freedom. But I'd like to think that I will have more joy in the future, that the best years of my life are ahead of me still.
     

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