Overcoming Pessimism

Salem7My life has been full of ups and downs. My journey has been littered with obstacles and I’ve spent a great deal of time overcoming them as opposed to getting around them. I think if we go through things when we’re young, but old enough to create a narrative around what happens to us, it shapes our view of life.

I was around 12 years old when I became a pessimist. I wasn’t familiar with the word 14 years ago, but, in retrospect, that’s exactly what I was. I spent a large part of my adolescence “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” I saw happy moments in my life as both fleeting and inconsequential. It honestly felt as if the good times only existed to hold us over until the next bad thing happened. I was so certain of this and my life reflected it back to me.

I was depressed, unbelievably unhappy, sad and suicidal all by the age of 13. I had no self-confidence, felt completely outcasted at school, my home life was in disarray and I simply couldn’t see my way out. I hated myself and I hated my life.

I told myself at age 14 that if this is what life was going to be like, I wanted no part of it.

I was by and large completely detached.

The remainder of my teenage years into my very early twenties, while not as bad, were still pretty sad. I was desperate to be someone else. Honestly, if it weren’t for my vivid imagination that I utilized as an escape rather than form of play, I don’t know if I’d be here…

I entered into adulthood largely terrified of it. The idea of complete autonomy made me nauseous.

I didn’t go to one of the best schools in the country relative to my major of choice. I, along with my classmates, was told in my last year of college that the likelihood of me even being able to procure a position with a Journalism degree was basically impossible.

My pessimism became particularly problematic in adulthood. It especially affected me professionally. I didn’t think anyone could be trusted. I thought everyone was out to get me. I thought no one had my best interest at heart. I didn’t know if I had what it took to be really successful. I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to be truly independent or self-sufficient. I was scared to death of being a disappointment to my family.  I was scared of failing. Every day, I was planning for the worst case scenario.

Then, one day, the other shoe really did drop in both my professional and personal lives. The worst case scenario came true!

I unexpectedly quit the job I was “so lucky” to get right after graduation. Things got really crazy.

All of that pessimism culminated into me balled up on the floor of my bedroom at my parents’ house crying hysterically feeling completely betrayed by myself. Feeling betrayed by God. In that moment, all of my pessimistic thoughts and beliefs manifested. My dark depression that’d never really been dealt with surged ferociously back into my life.

This was one of those moments where I could have truly given up. Yet again, I was in a dark enough place where “ending it all” seemed like a very attractive and viable option. Instead, I had this conversation with God and I told Him that I needed help. I didn’t need to just be saved from that moment, I needed my entire approach to life to change. I told Him that if He really needed me to be on this earth, living this life, He needed to come through for me. And He did, by showing me the error of my pessimistic attitude and thinking.

Correcting my pessimistic attitude was the foundation. I had to stop seeing the world through black. I had to stop speaking of the world as if it were my enemy. I had to remove myself from under the black cloud.

In my staunch dedication to fight off the world and the people in it, I was simultaneously piloting a suicide mission.

We weren’t created to fight life. Shit happens, it most certainly does. However, 9 times out of 10 there was nothing you could have done to prevent it from happening in the first place. There’s no sense in living your life this way.

Optimism isn’t easy either. Often times, people prefer pessimism over it. For so many people, negativity is much more relatable than its opposite. I’m here to tell you that a pessimistic attitude will absolutely keep you from living an incredible life.

Pessimism is absolutely powerful enough to run your life. Pessimism absolutely powerful enough to ruin your life.

So how did I do it? How did I overcome pessimism?

I overcame pessimism by doing three things:

  1. Forgiving life in advance for the things that will inevitably happen that will hurt me.
  2. Giving myself permission to find safety, solace and sanctuary in happiness.
  3. Learning to trust life enough to allow it to be good to me.

No, it wasn’t easy. It still isn’t easy. But if I can do it, so can you!

Overcoming pessimism was most certainly a life or death decision for me.

I chose life. I choose life. I will always choose life. And happiness. And positivity. And optimism.

Becoming an optimist has allowed me to experience life in its most genuine and truest form. Full of beauty, full of wonder, full of lessons, full of adventure, full of love and full of perfection. Nothing is sweeter than experiencing life in this way.

When I have moments of pessimism, I recognize immediately the deep degree of unnecessary separation that I have introduced into my life experience.

It’s so easy to live a life where you seek out the bad in things, the flaws, the imperfections, the fallacies. I challenge you to live a life where you dare to find the beauty and positive aspects in all things.

Once you do, you’ll not ever want to go back.

Life is sweet. Life is beautiful. Life is incredible. Life is amazing. Life is magnificent. Life is marvelous. Life is worth celebrating.

Life is worth living.



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