Feeling Discouraged is Normal, But Being Pessimistic Isn't

21 August, 2020
Pessimism can affect all aspects of your life, leaving you feeling paralyzed. When this occurs, it's essential that you seek support, and accept help from others.

Who hasn’t ever felt discouraged before? This is completely normal, and could happen to anyone, often for no obvious reason. However, there’s a big difference between feeling discouraged and being pessimistic.

Being pessimistic can have a far greater impact on you than you might think, and it can make your life truly complicated. In many cases, people aren’t fully aware of it until it’s too late. Pessimism is  one of those things that once it’s got its hooks in, it’s difficult to shake off.

Read more here: The Treatment for a Bad Mood

From discouragement to pessimism

For some people, there’s only one step between discouragement and pessimism. But what happens then? And what causes pessimism? Pessimism is more likely to arise when this state of discouragement lasts for a prolonged period of time.

In of itself, feeling discouraged isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everyone gets discouraged now and again, and it can help you to muster up the strength and resilience to face whatever lies ahead so that you’re much more prepared.

The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to get yourself out of that state of discouragement. This could be because your current life circumstances aren’t making it easy, or because you simply can’t see the light of hope amidst so much darkness…

The fact is, if you can’t pull yourself out of that rut, you will eventually end up in the clutches of pessimism. Do you know what impact this will have on you long-term?

1. Being pessimistic changes your outlook

Pessimism changes your outlook on life and everything that surrounds you. Suddenly, everything seems dark. You might also feel like you’re becoming a very pessimistic person. This vicious circle prevents you from finding your way out.

Whenever you find yourself deep in pessimism, it becomes more difficult to spot new opportunities and appreciate the new experiences that come your way. This is all down to one thing: fear.

2. It changes the way you listen

Whenever you’re in this mindset, everything you hear will be magnified by your ears. All you need is to hear one negative comment, or for someone to be rude to you, and you’ll magnify this into a heavy sense of unease.

In that moment, phases will pop into your head, like “You’re worthless”, “It was always going to happen sooner or later”, “No one will help you this time”, or “The world is against you”. These words will make you feel even more discouraged and will haunt you in the pessimism that you’ve surrounded yourself with.

3. It changes the way you speak

Just as you start to hear negative things, it’ll also change the way you see things and you’ll start to talk very differently than you used to.

At times like this, you’ll say sad things, words that are full of pain that reflect the state of pessimism you find yourself in.

So what’s the solution? Force yourself to use less extreme, more realistic language. One example of the type of extreme expressions we might use when we’re feeling down is, “everything always goes wrong”. Try to be aware of when you use these expressions, and change them to use more realistic language.

4. It affects your personal relationships

Eventually, all this pessimism will affect your personal relationships. You might not go out as much, or the pessimism that surrounds you will start to spread to your friends.

Discover: How to Attract Positive Energy to Your Life

This causes you to isolate yourself, only adding to your sense of loneliness. The best advice is to try to talk about your problem with your friends, to try to have a good time, and most of all, to not shut yourself off. These will be your best allies against pessimism.

5. It puts your future at risk

Becoming discouraged, being pessimistic, and feeling hopeless can eventually paralyze you. Unable to keep fighting, you’ll watch in despair as things start to spin out of control, making you feel worse.

If you’re starting to feel like this, you need to ask for support. Don’t isolate yourself or hide your pain. Instead, ask for professional help, so that you can start treatment as soon as possible, and begin to move forward with your life.

Never be ashamed of asking for help. Everyone goes through hard times at some point or other. The important thing is to remember that you can move forward, stronger and more resilient than ever.

Learn to talk about your problems with others, and to let them see what’s going on inside. The way you see things isn’t the only way and, right now, it probably isn’t the most accurate. Let other people open your eyes. And, of course, don’t hesitate to consult a psychologist if your troubles persist.

Note: the advice and information in this article are only meant as a guide. If you don’t feel that they apply in your particular case, we would recommend consulting with a psychologist, who can help find the best strategies and treatment plan for you.

  • Martínez-Correa, A., Reyes Del Paso, G.A., García-León, A., and González-Jareño, M.I. (2006). Optimismo/pesimismo disposicional y estrategias de afrontamiento del estrés. Psicothema 18, 66–72.
  • Fernández-González, L., González-Hernández, A., and Trianes-Torres, M.V. (2015). Relaciones entre estrés académico,apoyo social,optimismo- pesimismo y autoestima en estudiantes universitarios. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology 13, 111–130.
  • Contreras, F. (2006). (2006). Psicología positiva: una nueva perspectiva en psicología. Diversitas: Perspectivas En Psicología 2, 311–319.
  • del Valle, C. H. C., & Mateos, P. M. (2008). Dispositional pessimism, defensive pessimism and optimism: The effect of induced mood on prefactual and counterfactual thinking and performance. Cognition and emotion, 22(8), 1600-1612.