Not a Pessimist


I’ve decided I may need amend my statement about being a self-proclaimed pessimist. I guess the actual definition of pessimism is looking for the worst in a situation as opposed to an optimist who looks for the best. I don’t look for the worst. I don’t look for the bad. I don’t focus on the negative. I am someone who often expects things to go wrong because they often do, but I look at all of my experiences in life as opportunity for learning and growth. I learned this from a friend all the way back in high school. She told me that she was raised to view the world as a testing ground and that no matter how hard she tried it seemed like fate was stacked against her and she always failed miserably—until she changed her perspective. She decided to look at life as more of a place for soul growth. Once she did that she found she was a lot happier.

Wow. What an amazing lesson and perspective for me to glean from. I was so grateful she had shared this with me, and it has stuck with me ever since.

In conversations with others we’ve come to the conclusion that our belief in Murphy’s Law is a way to protect ourselves from disappointment and hurt. That way when things to go right, when things turn out in a good way (because, YES, it does happen) we can be pleasantly surprised and happy about it. As for me, when things go wrong I may be down for a bit, but I also always ask myself what I can learn from the experience and how I can use it to help myself or others.

So maybe I’m not a pessimist. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m an optimist, but maybe not a pessimist. Maybe someone who sometimes expects things to go wrong, but looks for the good anyway. Soul growth. That’s what I’m about. Soul growth.


Still a Pessimist

It seems any time I start to believe that something good, something needed, will finally happen, it comes crashing down. So I find I’m still a pessimist.

Things were going really great, things were coming together. There had to be a reason, right? I was hopeful. I believed. And like always it fell apart, crumbled, faded. It’s hard to remain hopeful when your hope turns out to be lies. It’s just too easy to believe in Murphy’s Law.

The Vicious Cycle Returns


A friend posted this on Facebook, and I thought, “Story of my life.” Overall I have been doing pretty great the last several months. But the last few weeks have had so many of those moments that make me a pessimist. It hasn’t been anything big, just the little things. If something can go wrong it has. And all those little things start to add up. It’s like a mosquito. One bite isn’t that big of a deal, right? But when it bites you over and over and over and over again it starts to get overwhelming, especially when you already have anxiety. It doesn’t help when I feel like I keep screwing up. I even work things out in my head, think they’re the right thing to say or do, and when it comes out I find out I was totally wrong, and then I feel guilty and bad about myself. Then I start to obsess about it. And the vicious cycle returns.

Asking the Right Questions


Last week I had a conversation with a friend about the question why. It had been on my mind for a month or two because it was brought up in church, and I wanted to write my feelings on the subject. Well, I’m finally getting around to it!

Someone in church one day said something about how trials can make her question why. I’m sure it’s something all of us have done. Why is this happening to me? Why do they have to suffer? Why would God allow this? Most of these questions end with, It’s not fair. Well, who ever said anything about fairness? Life isn’t about what’s fair or unfair. But then, I stopped asking, “Why?” a long time ago.

It’s been years since I’ve asked that question about any of the difficult things I’ve gone through or have seen others go through. The answer, to me, is pretty simple. That’s life. Life happens. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. And sometimes bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. It’s just the way the world works. And it’s not that I don’t think we should question. I’m an extremely skeptical, untrusting person. I question pretty much everything. I do, however, think it’s about asking the right questions. For me, it’s what and how. “What can I learn from this?” and, “How can I use what I’ve been through to improve my own life or help the lives of others?”

This is how I’ve tried to live my own life for the last fifteen years, at least. It doesn’t always happen right away. As previously stated in other posts I’m a pessimist. I don’t happily go through difficulties, and I don’t always keep hope intact. But always after I ask myself the what and how questions, then try to implement them. For me, this leads to greater knowledge, understanding, strength, independence, kindness, patience and certainly a better relationship with my Father in Heaven. All asking, “Why?” ever did was lead to a circle of unhappiness.

Of course, everyone is different. This is just my experience, one I hope has some meaning to someone out there.

To Pessimists

Sometimes it pays to be a pessimist. Bet you never thought you’d hear someone say that! I am a pessimist. I know this, and I will never deny it. Normally, it’s not a good thing, and other people tend not to like to be around pessimistic people. But I discovered once that it can have its benefits.

Awhile back, I had a dentist appointment at noon. My ex-husband (we were still married then), who worked close to home, said he would come home early for lunch to watch our son while I went to the dentist’s. Quarter to, he hadn’t gotten home yet. I decided to call him just in case, but he didn’t answer. I didn’t panic because he often didn’t pick up his phone. But after a few minutes had gone by and he still wasn’t home, I got anxious. I called again. No answer. Heat rose in my stomach. I assumed he had forgotten because it wasn’t uncommon for him to forget things. The reason I was upset was because we had had a conversation/argument about it the week before. I’d told him I understood that he was forgetful—so was I, which is why I took steps to help myself remember, like setting alarms all the time. I’d hoped it would make a difference to him, but now it seemed as if it hadn’t.

Ten to twelve and I needed to leave for my appointment. I called him again. Went to voicemail. So I left a rather angry message about how I had to leave and would now have to take our five-year-old with me.

When I was almost there he finally called and said he was coming home. I told him he was too late. He said he would come pick up our son at the dentist’s office. Okay, whatever. A few minutes after I’d been taken back to get my teeth cleaned, he showed up and took our son home with him.

By the time I got home, some of my annoyance had worn off, but I still asked him what had happened. He said he was in a meeting that went longer than expected. “I set an alarm on my phone,” he said, “but left it at my desk.”

Okay, so he had learned something from our conversation, but it still hadn’t done any good.

“What’s the point of using the alarm on your phone if you’re not going to keep your phone near you?” I asked.

“I didn’t know the meeting would go so long. They usually don’t last that long.”

And that’s when I realized that sometimes it’s good to be a pessimist. As a pessimist, you assume that everything is going to go wrong. This is the way my life has rolled for so long that I’ve learned to plan accordingly. If I had been in his shoes, I would have assumed that something would go wrong with the meeting or something would have interfered with what I was supposed to do, so I would have absolutely kept my phone with me to be sure I heard the alarm go off.

Being a pessimist is one of the things that has driven me to be a preparedness freak. I admit that sometimes this can get annoying. Like when we go on vacations I always overpack—just to be safe. Even when we go on day trips or hour-long trips I pack the car full of stuff (jackets and coats, shorts and pants, tons of snacks and water) because I assume the weather is going to change on us or the kids are going to get hungry or thirsty and complain up a storm. That’s not to say that optimists don’t know how to prepare, but when you assume everything is going to be just fine, you don’t need to over-prepare. And let me tell you, there have been so many times that I’ve been grateful for my over-preparedness! So, here’s to all you other self-proclaimed pessimists—or perhaps I should just call us realists. Carry on, my friends. Carry on!