Maybe you are someone who sees things from a pessimistic perspective. Do you assume the worst, so that you can be pleasantly surprised when things turn out well? Are you cautious about taking risks in order to protect yourself from the worst case scenario? When things go wrong, does it serve to reaffirm your expectations?
A pessimistic approach to life isn’t all bad, but it can prevent you from making the most out of the opportunities that come your way. There are times when we are wise to be cautious, to minimise risks and to not get overly confident in our abilities, but if you’ve had enough of seeing the glass as half empty, you can alter your thinking in order to see things from a fresh perspective.
It’s Not All About You
Naturally pessimistic people typically blame themselves when things don’t work out. They might think ‘she was rude because she didn’t like me’, ‘I didn’t get the job because I didn’t get a degree, I’ll never get a job’, ‘I can’t find my keys because I lose everything’ or ‘my partner stayed out late because he hates being around me’.
In contrast, an optimistic person will look at a range of possibilities. They realise that they don’t have the power to determine the outcome of every situation. In the same scenarios, they might think, ‘she was rude, maybe the last customer was a nightmare or it’s time for her lunchbreak, ‘I didn’t get the job this time, maybe they had an internal candidate, better luck next time’, ‘I wonder if anyone has moved my keys’ or ‘my partner stayed out late, it has been a whilst since he caught up with those friends’.
If you are trying to develop a more optimistic outlook, a good starting point is to work on identifying a range of possible reasons why an event might have occurred. Other than you, what could have happened to cause that negative outcome? When you start blaming yourself, challenge these thoughts, consider other external factors that you have no control over.
Challenging yourself is far from easy. Whilst challenging someone else’s perspective can seem like a natural response, we all find it hard to question our own thoughts. This is why it can be valuable to attend counselling, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The counsellor will listen, but when you state something that doesn’t add up, they will challenge. When you get used to this approach, it can become easier to adopt it yourself.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will also help you to decide on a course of action and identify manageable steps that you can take to get there. As you take each small step, you will gain a sense of achievement and this can support a growing confidence in your ability to make positive changes.
If you are looking for a counsellor who offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Amersham based Cognisant PDC has the experience and professionalism to help you alter your thinking. With our support, you can take the steps towards the positive change that you are looking for. You can find out more about our confidential one-to-one sessions here. Could we help you to see the glass as half full?