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Why Positivity is More Reasonable Than Pessimism

Updated: May 11

How Positivity Pulls You Up When Negativity Threatens to Trap You

In general, it is safe to assume that being positive is a more preferred state to be in than constantly being pessimistic and bitter. This is because negativity is like a force that pulls you down, into the abyss of depression and other probable illnesses. Positivity, on the other hand, is an effort you make in order to resist the negative "gravity" that is trying to pull you into the "darkness" of illnesses, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

This can be looked at in the following way: imagine you are climbing a vine in the jungle and suddenly you look down at the distant ground below. This sight fills you with fear as you realize there is a reasonable probability that you will fall to your death. The most obvious solution is to not look down too much and continue climbing (or going to the next vine and so on). However, it is certain that looking too much at the ground will eventually shatter your self-esteem and make you afraid for your life.

I wouldn't say that pessimism equals death, but for the sake of the metaphor, imagine that you are extremely high in the sky, climbing the vines of a jungle. You know that if you fall, it will not only kill you, but it will take a few minutes for you to hit the ground.

Negativity As a Dead End on Life's Highway

My question is this: What is the practicality of succumbing to bitterness, when it is a force that pulls you down from the height you have managed to reach thus far? Why fall down if it hurts your interest in even getting through life (assuming you are not fully complete with the option of suicide)? Even if it is not apparent, negativity hurts the mind like cigarettes hurt the body (external example).

It doesn't happen instantly, but it happens slowly. It slowly pulls you down into the darkness, where you find it hard to see, where it is cold, and where there is the potential of despair. It's the acceptance of submitting either temporarily or permanently to said "darkness," caused by losing most if not all the "height" you maintained throughout your life.

Beyond the "edgy" appeal to the dark side of the human condition, there is really no reason to be generally pessimistic when pessimism doesn't do the job a mindset should naturally do: maintain and improve good physical and mental condition.

This is where I bring the concept of emotional practicality, which is as simple as follows: thoughts and emotions that don't serve your endeavors in life, whether positively or practically, are best to have their functionality questioned before letting them become a regular habit in your mental life, aka, in the stream of your thoughts.

Take note that this is not a hedonistic approach; addictions also reward you through gratification, but unlike a healthy positive mindset, they can be destructive if left uncontrolled. The reasoning behind the practicality of positivity is not only because it makes you feel good, but also because it prevents you from doing the worst of all—committing suicide and thus, abandoning all hope for remedy, hope, or salvation.

Cultivating Resilience in the Face of Darkness

The problem with pessimism is that it can slowly but gradually lead you to suicidal thoughts if left unchecked. Like any kind of addictive substance, it is like a killer that hunts you slowly if you're not going to set a limit for it, if not defeat it entirely. Those who wish to be liberated from pessimism should thus look at themselves as if they are recovering from alcohol, drugs, and so on. I'm talking of course about the "serial" pessimists, those who are regularly negative, and again, it's their choice to be made.

As for the liberty of thought and emotion, it is okay to be sad, angry, cry, and so on; it is far preferable than forcing oneself a façade of happiness. Happiness is there as an indication of being in a positive mental state for a long period of time. It is to be worked on if one seeks not only to live from day to day but also to feel "alive" beyond mere survival.

In Israel, we have Holocaust Day, which is a day to remember the deaths and survivors of the Holocaust, the genocide of Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II. Believe it or not, some of the survivors actually celebrate life, as the harsh conditions in the concentration camps taught them the importance of not drowning in despair, as that would bring them closer to death.

They have their own victories over their former oppressors, in the form of good lives and families in a nation capable of protecting them from their enemies. Metaphorically, Israel, in my eyes, symbolizes the triumph of a formerly-oppressed minority against the pulling-down force of murderous anti-Semitism.

Seeing Beyond the Shadows of Negativity

Whether or not you agree with my thoughts, a great deal of surviving a genocide attempt is to resist the impracticality of pessimism even in the direst of times. Even if you have failed, at least be glad that you tried.

In order to reach a state of regular optimism, look at yourself as a gunslinger. Whenever something unfortunate happens (or at least, something upsetting), shoot first! Try to find at least one positive thing about it or about yourself in relation to it.

Once you become accustomed to finding positivity in almost every opportunity, no matter how small, you will then acknowledge the fact that not everything has to be all gloom and doom, even if it appears so at first sight and because of negative bias. Remember that much of what appears in front of you is not necessarily there, but in your mental life.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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