“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose” ~ Kahlil Gibran
“Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.” ~ G.B. Stern
“In the long run the pessimist may be proven right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip” ~ Daniel L. Reardon
I'm not even gonna start this off by offering some deluded, wildly insightful preamble that should you think positively, everything in your life will be gravy. Limitless optimism is, to say the least, very naive at best and reckless at worst. But one thing that bugs me more than exaggerated optimism is extreme pessimism. Not the people who mope all day and do the whole "Whoa is me" thing, but those that you like and respect, but who always think the world has it out for them. Some people look so deeply for unreasonable gestures of proof to confirm another's intentions, that they wind up sabotaging the whole experience over inconsequential matters.
Here's a few examples.
I have a friend who really deserves to find love and happiness (again). After many years and failed attempts to make a relationship with her child's father work, it wasn't meant to be (perpetual womanizer), and albeit that she probably waited too long, she is for the most part free from the shackles of that relationship and is ready to date again. The problem with women who have been out of the dating game for a while is that when they re-enter the rat race, they don't realize how much it has changed. People want the best of both worlds. They want to live in the new school with technology and other life conveniences, female empowerment, and a variety of other factors that shift the dynamic we were used to. And on the other hand, they want old school values, courtship, chivalry, immediate exclusivity, etc. My friend started dating this guy who is eligible, has a good career, no children (hence no Baby Mama drama), his own place, a car, is decent looking and a good personality. They have had great dates (she's never once complained to me that he was boring, or obnoxious, or cheap) - so when I checked in with her to see how it was going, I was floored when she told me that she'd had a "talk" with him about her not being happy with how things were going. Um....what did I miss here? Turns out, her biggest (and only) complaint was that she was not happy just seeing/hearing from him once a week. Mind you, he is a pilot - so his job often takes him away 48 hrs at a time. And after only 6 weeks (if that), how often should she expect to see or hear from him. Shoot, with my busy and hectic schedule, I think a great date once a week is an ideal relationship! (You know what I mean...)
My take is that her pessimism around dating, guys, and relationships tainted by the bad experience she had with her ex has her sabotaging what could be a really decent connection. Shouldn't it be QUALITY over quantity?
Next up, I have a friend whom I ride for daily. Even though they have the most absurd trust issues, and have on many occasions made me feel like I have to do 10 times more to show my loyalty to them, their past experiences paired with their skepticism constantly have us at odds over the dumbest sh*t. I think their is a lot of fear there. Fear that by becoming attached to the friendship, it makes them vulnerable. But yet, there is a complete awareness that I am under no obligation to continue to endure this lopsided treatment, I do because deep down, I know we need each other. Everybody has someone in their life that "knows" them. You think to yourself, "How the fcuk do they know me so well?" And it's scary, and comforting at the same time. People who ask "Why me?" when you show them love should be asking "Why not me?" instead of conveying an unworthiness of being loved!
After my last major break-up, I was so wounded. I really did not think I ever wanted to be in love again. For what it was worth, I knew I would forever have an emptiness in my heart if I avoided loving someone again, but I figured I could just plug the hole with the dagger left by my ex. But people who were destined for happiness don't wear pessimism very well, and the Universe has since shown me that I can be loved (and I too can love) in exponential degrees compared to anything I have ever known before. That it takes some very hard let-downs to truly understand and appreciate the gifts of life when you are given them. I thought that getting married was the pinnacle of love. I was wrong. Sharing a soul and changing the world together - THAT is the pinnacle of love.
I do it to myself too. Even in situations where all the stars are aligned, and everything is going the way I'd hoped - sometimes my own experiences have tripped me up, and I misread people's intentions. Pessimism isn't just an inability to look at things through a positive light, it is an absence of trust. Pessimists don't trust that there is no danger, so they arm themselves with parachutes and life jackets, and all kinds of "padding" so much so, that they never enjoy the ride! Bracing yourself for disaster rather than basking in the experience is a sure fire way to miss out on the umami of life. You all know I like flowers, roses especially, and I'm willing to take my chances despite the thorns.