Saturday, October 17, 2015

How to be a Hopeful Pessimist

In my natural state, I am a pessimist. Through and through. I always have been, and most of the time I prepare myself for the worst case scenarios. I've always been convinced that it's better to expect the worst outcome, so that way I won't be disappointed. It's like a defense mechanism; if I don't get my hopes up, I'm less likely to get hurt.

But, I've learned that I can get hurt regardless of whether or not I have hoped for a positive outcome. Bad things are going to happen in life, but if we constantly expect bad to happen, aren't we attracting more negativity? This relates to the laws of attraction, which I'm not a huge fan of, but maybe some of it is true. When I feel hopeful, I'm happier. And don't we all deserve to be happy?

So, is hope really such a bad thing? I think a lot of us in this community have a love/hate relationship with hope. Because when you have too much, it's scary. You have so much more to lose. But without hope, how can we possibly survive the awful things that life throws our way?

This is why I'm aspiring to become a Hopeful Pessimist. You might be wondering, "is that even a thing?"

Yes, my friend. It is. I know it sounds crazy, and maybe I am...It's NOT easy and will take a lot of effort, but it's possible. And I truly think it will be worth the effort. Here's how to do it:

1) Let go of expectation/comparison

I wrote a post about this recently, and it's still something I struggle with. Expectations and comparisons can be very stressful. It's extremely difficult to deal with comparison when your dreams aren't coming true. Or to handle a disappointment when your expectations don't match reality. But when you hold on to hope, those comparisons or expectations won't hurt so much because you're focused on the possibility that you can still reach your happy ending.

2) Practice gratitude daily

EVERY SINGLE DAY. Add it to your calendar, add a reminder on your phone, whatever you need to do to turn this practice into a habit. Take at least 5-10 minutes a day to think of all the things you are grateful for. Better yet, make a list! This practice helps us to focus on the positive aspects of our life and avoid the perception that the sky is falling.

3) Make a conscious decision to HOPE

When you start to feel depressed or discouraged, try your best to change your thinking. This takes a lot of effort sometimes, but force yourself to think of a positive outcome. Visualize your dreams coming true, and imagine how it will feel. Then, repeat the next time those negative thoughts enter your mind.

4) Pray, write, or meditate your heart's desires

Choose one of the above and turn this into a daily habit as well. For me, prayer is the easiest and the most calming option for me. I'm not particularly religious, but praying to God or to a higher power can be extremely helpful. This also allows you to put some positive energy out into the universe. But if you'd prefer to write it down, that's great too! Journaling, blogging, or even drawing can be immensely helpful.

6) Make small goals, and celebrate each one 

Sometimes life gets really hard and there are a million things standing between you and your dreams. This is when you need to take baby steps. Every time you reach a goal, even something as simple as making an appointment, give yourself some kudos. You deserve it! And each small accomplishment will help you to feel the strength to achieve the next.

7) Remember that you are loved and deserve happiness

This is the most important. I personally have a really hard time with this one, and have felt punished or undeserving of joy. But it's not the truth! This is the depression talking and each one of us deserves to be happy. There is nothing that you have done or could ever do that would change that. You are loved and important and deserve to feel peace and happiness.

Like I said, this takes a lot of effort and it will be something I have to focus on daily. But living as a pessimist just isn't working for me anymore. It has lead to depression and fear of bad things happening to me or my loved ones. And I don't want to be the constant worrier or the Debbie Downer anymore.  I feel that a little bit of hope will lead to a happier, healthier life, and for the first time in a while I'm looking forward to what the future holds for me.

Would you categorize yourself as an optimist, realist, or a pessimist?  Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I appreciated and resonated with every single word of this post. I would describe myself as a realist, but borderline pessimist. Expectations are my biggest downfall. I have been writing in a gratitude journal for a few years now, and would like to hope it keeps me balanced. There's that word "hope!" Despite being on the other side, I never advise people to have hope. I think that's the realist side of me. During my journey however, I did have hope (in between the anxiety and depression).

  2. I'm definitely a realist. Going through infertility is so hard as on the one had you want to be positive and hopeful but on the other hand when a cycle fails then it is even harder to cope with if you got your hopes up too much.. it can be hard to find the balance