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OPTIMIST vs PESSIMIST vs REALIST — In movies, there are protagonists and antagonists. In the real world, some protagonists and antagonists make up your life. Just like the yin and yang, they need to co-exist to attain harmony. The world needs balance to survive.

Everyone strives to have a healthy and balanced mindset. What makes a person healthy mentally? Who is better, the optimist, pessimist, or realist? Which one are you? It is time we dig deeper into these three personas.

Optimist vs. Pessimist vs. Realist: The Differences

An optimist is someone who sees the good and the positive in everything. The pessimist sees the bad and the negative. On the other hand, the realist doesn’t mind whether it’s good or bad. They only focus on practical things.

An Optimist

Optimists tend to wake up on the good side of the bed. You always have that feeling that today is a good day and it will only get better. An optimist focuses so much on the good side of things. You tend to blame other people when things don’t go pleasantly as you expected. 

When you are blocked by failure, you find ways to get out as soon as possible. Being happy and seeing the positive side of things are good. But like everything else, too much of anything can be harmful too.

A Pessimist

Pessimists are always known for their negative outlook on life. Science has shown that pessimists are also results-oriented; but, expecting more negative results. There is a concept called defensive pessimism, where a pessimist allows a negative mindset to reach one’s goals. Surprisingly, this kind of mindset provides unexpected outcomes and results.

A Realist

You view life as real as it gets. You see things as they are. A realist accepts that good and evil exist and is uninfluenced by optimistic and pessimistic views. A realist doesn’t care about the equation of good and bad. They feel it is better to let go of the calculations and just have a good time. However, maintaining a balancing act between bad and good can be stressful for a realist.

The Difference

It seems that being a realist is like a beam that holds both sides of the scale pans. This beam balances both the good and the bad. Though, many disagree with this idea. Pessimists and optimists are also able to observe the present and its realities.

The difference between the three lies in a person’s interpretation when they face life problems. You can either exaggerate your problems, focus on the positive or negative outcome, and act out based on any of these.

Pessimist and a Realist

A pessimist views the world in darkness and hopelessness. You feel you are running out of luck all the time, and things don’t work out for you. You always complain if problems arise. You don’t care about finding a solution to your problem.

A realist is someone who understands and believes that life can go smoothly and all of a sudden can take a detour. You allow yourself room to attract opportunities. If you are a realist, you have a fair judgment on things. You don’t use positive or negative filters to make your decision. 

A realist is an objective person. Sometimes having an unbiased perspective may not always be possible and productive. People associate pessimism with realism by not considering the good things and seeing the wrong things as unavoidable. Pessimists often think of negative outcomes, and by doing this, they feel that they are also realists. 

They have this mindset because they witness many bad events happening at present worldwide. A true realist is aware not only of the bad things but also the good. They are very observant individuals. They want to be mindful of everything that is happening in their surroundings.

An Optimist, a Pessimist: Glass Half Full and Half Empty

An optimist loves opportunities from which they can gain something good from. You don’t see failure as a bad thing. Instead, you look at failure and success as two complementary concepts that have to go together to achieve a good life.

You are always on cloud nine, and you see that the grass is always green wherever you are. You take risks and are hopeful for positive results. Because of this attitude and mindset, optimists usually make historical discoveries and inventions that have improved many lives.

They are very hopeful that there are solutions to all human problems. They are positive that this COVID pandemic will soon be controlled, and everything will be back to normal. Optimists are least likely to experience pandemic-related anxiety.

Optimism can be more effective when you adapt it to reality. You have to acknowledge the possible negative emotions that come with the situation to have a more balanced outlook of reality.

Effects of Optimism

Optimists are very confident individuals. They push through even when the going gets tough. They tend to see that despite all the hurdles, they can make it through. But optimists can hurt themselves if they continuously fail in anticipating the possible negative outcomes of the future. You should not be trapped by irrational optimism.

Being optimistic and confident is not at all bad. However, too much positivity and confidence can cause you to pursue inexcusable risks and encounter undesirable situations. You are often in a positive mood, thinking that nothing wrong will happen to you and your family. The COVID virus is everywhere. You are too optimistic that you won’t catch it; you don’t follow basic health protocols. You are putting yourself and your loved ones in danger of getting seriously ill.

Here is another example of a situation where an optimist can fall short. An optimist who is very passionate and spontaneous decides to open a business. They invested a lot of money as start-up capital without studying the business fundamentals and current market. 

What do you think can happen to the business? Vision, passion, and capital are not enough to make it big in the business industry. You need to do market research to determine your market’s preferences and financial capabilities.

Is Pessimism Helpful?

According to research, there are two types of pessimism: defensive and depressing.

Defensive pessimism is when you expect negative situations can happen and be mentally ready to face these situations anytime. You are doing something to prevent the negative event from happening. Despite your efforts to prevent it, you are still open to the possibility that the situation can worsen.

This is your way of protecting yourself from disappointments. This is your defense mechanism. Defensive pessimism is the intense tendency to see and focus only on the negative, whatever the situation may be.

Depressing pessimism is when pessimism is linked to mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression. This can lead to suicide in adults. Between the two, defensive pessimism is considered the most appropriate in most situations. This is because defensive pessimism makes you aware of the negative setbacks of your decisions. This type of pessimism can even motivate you to become strong.

Can You Be Optimistic and Pessimistic at the Same Time?

Pessimistic optimists are persons who are both optimistic and pessimistic. They have negative thoughts and fears, but they balance this out with seeing the good and positive outcomes of the situation.

Do You Prefer the Realism Approach?

Some individuals have come to believe that the realism approach is the healthiest. Optimism is an extreme inclination toward positivity, while pessimism is extremely inclined toward negativity. These two extremes should be balanced out so you can have a more realistic approach to life.

Realists acknowledge concrete evidence and are practical and logical. They can recount incidents in more detail and are free from emotions.

Every person desires to have a balanced life. There is that initial and even permanent tendency to view optimism as good and pessimism as bad. To achieve balance, you try to put yourself in the middle of the optimism-pessimism scale. You consider both bad and good outcomes as best as you can.   

What’s An Idealistic Person Like?

The opposite of a realist is an idealist. A realist may see the world as it is, while the idealist sees the world as it should be. An idealist is a person who desires what is perfect and best. Unlike a realist, an idealist lacks the sense of the real world. An idealist is an impractical person.

An idealist believes that the world is perfect. An idealist knows that good things come to people who deserve them.

Not everyone is alike. Everyone processes information differently. The personality traits have their pros and cons. One is not better than the other. You should strive for balance for you to have a healthy mental state. 

There is nothing wrong with being optimistic, pessimistic, real, and wishing for the ideal. What matters most is that you know and are aware of realities and how things work. You can both be hopeful and expect the worse at the same time.

Find Your Happiness

Your personality trait does not measure happiness. Everyone deserves to be equally happy. Happiness is best defined by you. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are or what’s your personality type. What’s important is you feel happy and content about yourself and your decisions.

Optimists are positive people, so everyone wants to be optimistic. But, that is not the case. If you base your happiness on being optimistic all the time, this is not genuine happiness. This is just a perceived and shallow happiness.  

Don’t be a prisoner of yourself. Don’t let your personality define you. You have to find happiness whatever your situation may be. Your true happiness is inside you. Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC) is here to help you understand your personality better. They will guide and support you in achieving genuine happiness.

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