Human Behaviour Mandy Kloppers

Thoughts on pessimism and optimism

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Thoughts on pessimism and optimism

Optimists seem to have it all. Research has shown that optimists tend to enjoy better health, better work and educational outcomes and more successful social relationships.

Optimists explain positive life events as having internal stable causes (e.g., “I aced the quiz because I’m smart”), while pessimists explain positive life events as having external, unstable causes (e.g., “I got lucky and passed the quiz”). When it comes to bad events, the inverse is true: optimists explain negative life events as having external, unstable causes, while pessimists explain them as having internal, stable causes (I am useless/unloveable..).

What is your explanatory style…optimistic or pessimistic?

Where we need to be cautious is when you see optimism as “all good” and pessimism as “all bad”. Both have their values in life.

There are two types of optimism: realistic and unrealistic

Unrealistic optimists are at risk of self-deception, especially when it comes to risk assessment (Collingwood, n.d.). Realistic optimists, on the other hand, more successfully incorporate info about situations and events, balancing the best of optimistic and pessimistic perspectives. The realistic optimist point of view could be summed up by the adage: “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”.

I have mostly been a realistic optimist, although there have been times when I have been pessimistic and blamed any good in my life to luck and any bad in my life due to my own inadequacies. Thankfully, those times aren’t very frequent these days and don’t last very long.

Where would you put yourself??

Mandy X


Photo by RLHyde

Photo by RLHyde

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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