One of the toxic thought patterns many of us find ourselves perpetuating is a thought addiction to pessimism, a negative outlook that causes us to feel dread rather than positive anticipation, anxiety rather than excitement. We have a pervasive focus on what might go wrong as opposed to what could go right. We think in terms of worst-case scenarios. We expect the worst outcomes. A healthier approach would be to plan for all outcomes but apply our energy in a positive direction, to help ourselves manifest the desired outcome we want for ourselves.
We see our difficult life circumstances not as learning experiences but as signs we’re unlucky or unfortunate. We have such negative anticipation that we feel an inescapable sense of doom. We can feel like victims in our lives, victims to the bad circumstances we’re forced to suffer through. People who are optimistic tend to view challenges as spiritual tests, full of learning experiences and valuable wisdom.
Our pessimism is related not only to how we see life outcomes and circumstances but also to how we see other people. We see the worst in people. We find it hard to trust people’s intentions. We assume that people are out to get us. We feel as though people are victimizing us and controlling our lives. We fear the worst in every scenario in our relationships and friendships. We are suspicious of people, even acquaintances and strangers, people we don’t know but who we assume the worst about. Having a more positive outlook would help us to see that we are in fact connected and much more similar than we are different.
When we are pessimistic, we are constantly bringing ourselves down, inundating ourselves with negativity and toxicity. We can exacerbate our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. We can find ourselves turning to our addictions to try and escape the inner pain and turmoil we’re causing ourselves. We become so consumed by our pessimistic thoughts that we find it hard to think any other way. We become attached to, even obsessed with, our negative thought patterns. We start to think of positivity as naiveté or foolishness. We see people who have positive outlooks as not being realistic or prudent. We see ourselves as being more knowledgeable, more practical, better prepared for the realities of life.
In truth, we’re feeding our own internal pain and making our lives harder than they need to be. Uncovering our pessimistic thought patterns and working to dismantle them can work wonders in developing more positive thinking and therefore in manifesting better results for ourselves in our lives and in our recovery.
Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.