At what point do you recognize the results of placating a chronic pessimist.
- When you start feeling drained, annoyed, angry at yet another the world is going to hell in a hand-basket tirade?
- When you start feeling doubt, guilt, shame or worry when you’re invited to an event hosted by your historically pessimistic family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor (etc.).
- When you conjure up yet another lie to get out of one more tired debate?
Are you aware of the hazards these sour souls sow? Hazards similar to breathing second-hand smoke?
- How many people do you associate with who firmly believe their glass is permanently half-empty?
- Who do you know are 100% convinced there’s absolutely NOTHING we can do about what’s going wrong other than to preserver as best we can.
- How many times in recent memory have you heard: is it’s only to going to get far worse before it gets better.
Are you — right now — ready to stir things up with those suffering from chronic cases of doom and gloom? Yes! Good! Keep reading. No? Keep reading when you’re too tired of listening to yet another oh-woe-is-me story.
The next time you experience other cough of doom and gloom ask your pessimist this odd question, “May I sneeze in your face?”
Before they respond to your ridiculous question pretend to about to sneeze in their face. Watch their reaction.
Make it clear to die-hard pessimists you’ve become more aware of the hazards of listening to (thus enabling) their sneezing in your face — er make that moping around you. Ensure they understand they can mope all they want — just NOT around you!
Words are seeds to deeds.
Seeds take time to sprout and grow. Have you noticed growth is a dance between how and when? For example how did non-smoking spaces / places grow in the USA? Non-smoking regulations formed from social norms that slowly embraced facts concerning the hazards of second-hand smoke. New norms (backed by laws) provided venues for — the how — and when — to grow more smoke-free space(s).
Smoking historical perspectives . . .
Over the past seven decades the western world witnessed as well as embraced both a social and cultural evolution of how we perceived (then experienced) the effects of second-hand tobacco smoke. In the 1930’s and 40’s when smoking became de rigueur for both genders, social norms treated tobacco smoke far differently than we do today. Seventy-six year’s later in 2006 the Surgeon General’s report took direct aim at the hazards of second hand tobacco smoke.
What does tobacco smoking (as well as second-hand smoke) have to do with moping? In a moment you’ll discover how hazardous BOTH smoking and moping are to our physical, emotional and spiritual well being.
Historial pessimism perspective . . .
Our emotional well being over the past two and half centuries finds US citizens on a steep roller-coaster ride between valleys of pessimism and mountains of optimism. Starting with the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) to our most recent troop involvement in Libya the USA Wikipedia war tallies 118 conflicts and/or acts of war in 244 years. Since the founding of a republic guided by a vision:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
a young Republic experienced at least 118 events to both mourn and mope about.
The more time we’re consistently exposed to both second-hand smoking, mourning and moping the more hazardous it becomes to our overall well being. How so? Simply put, the more we tolerate unhealthy habits we slowly enshrine these life-draining ways of living into social / cultural norms. Social / cultural norms that embrace and celebrate unhealthy habits to include doubt, guilt, shame and worry.
A friends’ suicide rattled me enough to make me reflect on how I enable pessimism.
I know the hazards of second-hand moping from first-hand experience. For five years I shared a home with a soul who loved his misery. On August 16, 2016 a kind, gentle, give-the-shirt-of-his-back kind of soul decided to end his life well before his time. Apparently it was far better to die of carbon monoxide asphyxiation than continue living in a world he was 100% convinced was going to hell in a hand-basket.
Year after year I witnessed his tobacco use increase from a few smokes a day to a few packs a week. He never smoked around me (or other non-smokers) because he knew the hazards of second-hand smoke. With each new the world is going to hell in a hand-basket rant inspired by yet another:
- priest being caught for sexual abuse
- politician being caught for yet another crime
- office politics invading how he thought he should do his j.o.b.
a parasitic misery consumed his sense of happiness.
While I give my friend props for not falling down conspiracy theory wells, I slowly began to realize he had no time for optimism. In his view silly optimists (like me) need pessimists to have a sense of purpose. (I chuckled when he conceded to the notion the reverse is equally true!)
Sadly my efforts to breathe life into a sense of hope died on August 16, 2016 when I got a call from the Police department asking who I was. I had called my friends’ cell phone within hours of his suicide. I explained I was his housemate. In one heart-breaking moment I learned my friend decided life wasn’t worth the effort. With a trifecta of:
- advancing poor health (fueled by increased age, tobacco and alcohol use)
- his pessimist world view and
- his growing disdain for his j.o.b.
he shed his mortal coil. Though I wept at his funeral and still miss his wit and wisdom I also feel relief. Relief that despair has one less voice.
My friends’ suicide rattled me enough to make me reflect on how I enable pessimism.
Each time I listen to yet one more we’re doomed story I offer air to fire. Each time I offered a glass half full (to someone who knows only empty glasses) my deed ignored their desire to be heard. My optimism fueled their pessimism. Time to end my pessimism enabler!
- How many pessimists do you enable by tolerating a chronically dire attitude?
- How many souls grace your calendar, holiday table or daily routines who sincerely believe it’s going to get far worse before it get’s better.
- When you scroll through your address list (or book — for us old-fashioned souls) how many names would you check off as more often than not — pessimistic?
More questions to ponder . . .
- Do you tolerate nay-sayers as part of the price you pay for their attention, affection or amoré?
- Do feelings of doubt, guilt, shame or worry grow each time you invite negative-baised souls over for dinner or take their call?
- How much damage control happens post mope session?
- What sorts of self care do you practice to cleanse the negative energy doom and gloomers shower upon you.
- Do you take a hot bath after surviving yet another evening of listening to your dear sad sacks?
- Do you numb yourself with whiskey shots to dull your anxiety?
- Maybe you resolve to address your pessimistic preacher by ghosting them.
It’s taken decades to adopt then absorb ways to navigate a smokers’ deeds balanced with non-smokers needs. Given the exponentially increasing expanse of pessimism fuel by current affairs, now more than ever it’s time to face head-on the hazards of chronic moping. How?
Explore these three ideas.
Remember how we survive and thrive when we explore ways to collectively create solutions to problems. History documents how humans seem hard-wired to help when asked to help. Asking for help when hope is all but dead requires a sense of optimism. To rekindle optimism tap into the power of exploring (versus analyzing). When pessimists feel heard
- facts appear
- fictions dissolve
- clarity grows
- solutions arrive.
When pessimists discover you’re unable to enable their pessimism you’ve taken solid steps to avoid the hazards of second-hand moping! Hazards of second-hand moping include ever-increasing feelings of doubt, guilt, shame and worry.
Explore your pessimists’ ability / capacity to be optimistic.
The next time you’re confronted with another doom and gloom debate ask two questions.
A) “Do you want things to get better?
B) Or, do you want things to get worse?”
- Watch / listen closely to their response(s).
- Time how long they take to respond.
- Do you best to take in their state of being — their truth.
- Pass no judgments.
Exploring (versus analyzing) these two questions allows:
- roots to solutions to grow.
- time to set healthy boundaries to gain and maintain healthy relationships.
Each time you ask (then possibly explore) these two questions you come to learn what (if any) role optimism plays in their life. When you discover you simply have a die-hard pessimist on your hands take stock in how that relationship affects / effects not only your life, but the lives of others you hold near and dear.
Tap into Socrates wisdom found within his quote: “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”
Pessimism thrives on illusions of knowing. We feed a sense of knowing by exploring. As we wake-up to a reality there’s always (yes — always) more to explore we discover just how little we really actually know. When pessimists allow themselves the freedom to simply not-know they invite optimism by way of child-like curiosity.
Pessimism is a taught trait.
Curiosity is a born trait!
Allow you inner child to take your hand to lead you away from the hazards of second-hand moping!