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pleiades's avatar

Were you ever Negative Nancy but eventually changed your mindset and are now optimistic?

Asked by pleiades (6371 points ) January 14th, 2013

What were the key moments for you to come to your decision? How did you decide to change?
Did you seek professional help?

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5 Answers

Paradox25's avatar

Actually I used to be what one would consider to be a true optimist, but my life experiences have led to me to support the logic behind this quote “A pessimist is an optimist with experience” – Colleen Wilcox. I’m not a pessimist in the true sense, but I’m just more careful now being a bit older and more experienced.

marinelife's avatar

I tend to treat new things negatively, but then I come around. Since becoming aware of this tendency, I try to curb what i say about something new.

codette's avatar

I have recently discovered that I’m a pretty negative person, and I’m making an effort to change it. To let go of the weight on my shoulders, so to speak. And that is quite literally what it feels like.
I’m trying to still be aware and educated and cautious—still a realist—but not automatically negative. Too much negativity is certainly a depressant, if not a poison. It’s not an immediate development but I’m working on it. I tend to be a complainer, for example, so now I either bite my tongue, chase the complaint with some related humor or something upbeat, or decide to change my entire train of thought to something more positive.

I used to think this “choose happiness” mindset was for cheesy or ditsy people, but no—it’s about how everyone (most everyone?) can influence or even recreate the tone for their own life in some way or another, regardless of circumstances.

hearkat's avatar

Yes, as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I was once very dour, cynical, and pessimistic. I come from a family of melancholics and depressed people. Doomed, I was. But after I hit rock bottom and decided to not take my own life when it was nearly too late, I made a conscious decision to become the person I want to be, and whom I wanted my son to have for a role-model.

I tried therapy a few times, and it was helpful; but the real work is done every minute of every day in choosing to think and act differently. I started by considering the people I admired, and what traits they had that I could emulate. I observe their demeanor and choice of words, and think how I might adapt those behaviors to fit who I am, so I might present myself similarly, yet still genuinely. This is much like cognitive behavioral therapy, but I don’t know if that term had been coined at the time it occurred to me.

I also decided to make an effort to notice the good and positive things in my life and the world around me. The feeling of the sun on you in the springtime, a green light when I’m running late, a comfy mattress to sleep on, and so on… Practicing gratitude instead of pettiness makes a huge difference in one’s outlook.

Prioritizing what really matters to me in my life helped me shed a lot of unnecessary stress. I realized that there is no such thing as control – except for what I choose to do with this very moment. Time is our most precious commodity… it is finite and none of us knows how much we have, only that each day leaves us with one less; so I choose to spend my time doing what I enjoy and I try to choose the actions that will leave me with the fewest regrets when my time runs out.

I am still a work in progress, so I assure you that it isn’t easy, but it can be done.

wundayatta's avatar

I do hope for the best, but I expect things to go wrong. They do, and I’m usually prepared to deal with them, as a result.

I think pessimism is a defense that helps us accomplish more. Optimism is not something I trust. I find most optimists have no clue and don’t know what is about to happen. So I wouldn’t hire an optimist to do much of anything.

I much prefer realism, and I find pessimists are more realistic than optimists. When I want to get something done, I much prefer an accurate estimate of when it will be accomplished. Optimists can’t do that. They don’t even know they are lying. But it always takes them twice or three times as long to get something done than they say it will take.

I used to think being optimistic was good. Now I think it is dysfunctional. Maybe optimists feel good, but I don’t want to have anything to do with them. Give me a pessimist any day.

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