The Lasso

Unpopular Opinion: How pessimism leads to happiness

Sierra Sulc

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“Unpopular Opinions” are exactly that. These opinions are those of the authors alone, and do not represent the opinions of The Lasso or of George Mason High School

 

According to Oxford dictionary, pessimism is the tendency to see the worst aspect of things or to believe that the worst will happen.

The word pessimism tends to have an extremely negative connotation, but I believe that it is actually the key to happiness- it leads to fewer disappointments and more delightful surprises.

This may sound like a paradox, but bear with me; if you are always expecting the worst, you can never be disappointed and you are always prepared when it happens. Additionally, if anything other than the worst happens, it is a pleasant surprise. Nothing is better than having something amazing happen unexpectedly.

People have a tendency to ruin great things before they’ve even begun by overthinking and overanalyzing. We plan every detail and we over fantasize about how perfect something will be. Therefore, it will never measure up to their expectations because their mind will create a perfect world. With these kinds of fantasies and expectations, people will be let down constantly. Life is not kind to optimists.

Optimists are always portrayed as happy people who don’t have a care in the world, always smiling and always completely content with their situation. This is a completely unrealistic goal. The world is not all rainbows and butterflies and the sooner people accept that, the happier they will be. Think of an innocent child, full of optimism, thinking only about the positive outcomes.  Each time they are subjected to a cruel reality, however, their entire world shatters. These things hurt so much more when they are not expected and when people aren’t given a chance to brace themselves.

 A cartoon donkey from a popular children’s series is pictured, surrounded by flowers.

The classic Winnie the Pooh character, Eeyore is known for his depression and pessimism that seem to go hand in hand. However, when seen through a different lense, pessimism can be the key to happiness. (Photo courtesy of unknown user via Flickr)

On the other hand, one would assume that pessimism leads to sadness and, furthermore, depression: think of the classic Winnie the Pooh character, Eeyore. However, pessimism in and of itself is not depressing. The key is to accept pessimism as truth, but not allow it to prevent you from having fun and enjoying life. Simply expect the worst for the future, but when it doesn’t happen, enjoy the moment and live a life full of happiness and pleasant surprises. Keep your expectations low and your spirits high.

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Unpopular Opinion: How pessimism leads to happiness