A dive into pessimist and realist thinking
A person’s decision-making skills can be conditioned and trained like any other one. But they can also be damaged, altered, and contorted. Pessimistic views and realistic ones counter each other in an interesting way that when analyzed, show how easy it is to sink into one, and provide those that have sunken, insight on why they should put in the work to overcome it. But sensibly so, there isn’t one single solution, and it would be redundant if I said “just stop feeling this way.” But I can point out some differences between them, and you can decide what to do with them.
Pessimistic world views notice the flaws in everything first, and need to find something to blame, whether it be themselves, someone else, or an uncontrollable entity. This is usually where their point of view tends to endure. As long as they know whose fault it is, they don’t need to find a way to accept or adapt to the consequences. They hold onto their resentment and find no need to recognize or consider any solution for it.
Realistic world views consider flaws to be inevitable, making it easier for them to notice the good that comes from the bad, and the bad that comes from the good. Creating an overall, logical and objective viewpoint that considers all sides and does not subscribe to one entirely is crucial. They tend to understand their place in the world, and how it applies to everyone else’s, with an admittance that their feelings are theirs and theirs only. They are often grounded, clear-headed and non-judgmental through their own critical thinking. Their observations (rather than criticisms) show hope to come to an effective decision that helps everybody and make sure not to get exuberant when it works, distraught when it doesn’t.
A realistic observation is logical and looks at life with what has been learned with the experiences that a person has been through. They would look at their disagreements with something as just that. They make sure to notice the intent of an idea or action as something that was motivated by the person/people creating it for the sake of their own self-gain, not anybody else’s detriment. While pessimistic observations tend to see things against the experiences that the person has been through, and looks for reasons to disagree with anything that relates to them, indirectly or directly, they tend to not be able to separate their feelings from facts If there is something they disagree with, but was not intended for their consideration in the first place, they may still feel directly attacked, and neglect to observe the selfish intent of whatever spawned the negative consequences in the first place, without putting their feelings about it in the forefront.
Though I believe there are people that like to lean more towards certain tendencies that revolve around these different types of decision-making skills, I don’t think they are consistent enough to be labeled as completely pessimistic or realistic people. I think most people can have their bad days and good days, and depending on the subject a person is thinking about, I think they can have a variety of reactions that will fall somewhere between optimistic, pessimistic or realistic depending on their experience with that subject. I wouldn’t recommend totally defining yourself as one or another, because you would just wind up setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, take it one decision at a time, and notice when you are getting your hopes up, when you are romanticizing the worst, and when you are just overthinking.
Matthew Festa is a second-year writing for film and tv major who is a realist at heart. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.