Successful self-healers either already possess, or learn to cultivate, an optimistic mindset.
When it comes to healing the mind and body, I’ve seen repeatedly that doubt, skepticism and a pessimistic mindset will keep us stuck. But more than this, I believe it’s critical to dig in and understand why we develop pessimistic mindsets in the first place.
Simply trying to outsmart your subconscious or change your mindset with willpower rarely works and often backfires. Beyond this, we can often fall into even more insidious beliefs if we try to overcome a pessimistic mindset only to fail: we might feel defective, broken, ashamed or begin to hate ourselves for not being able to do what other people appear to do so easily.
I believe every human being is a born optimist. None of us would be walking and talking adults if we were born pessimistic! Babies learn to walk by falling and falling and falling but they never ever give up. Babies have to learn to talk by first making grunting noises and drooling everywhere while sounding ridiculous, but they don’t let embarrassment or shame stop them from continuing to learn and eventually they triumph.
Pessimism, in my opinion, is a learned strategy deployed in childhood as a protection mechanism to mitigate the emotional damages that come from repeatedly enduring the pain of disappointment.
When people show up to work with me who begin to use pessimistic language (seeing failure instead of success, seeing limitations instead of possibilities, expressing doubt instead of hope/inspiration etc), I know it’s time to get curious and dig in. I never try to persuade a skeptical person to be optimistic, and I encourage you to avoid this with yourself.
In almost every case what I’ve discovered is that at some point in the pessimistic person’s childhood their trust was broken one too many times. The cost of trusting or hoping only to feel disappointment yet again becomes too great a burden, so they begin to assume the worst ahead of time. If disappointment is one of the most painful experiences in your childhood, then being injured or frustrated or stuck isn’t as bad as believing you could get free, only to meet that old familiar emotion again: disappointment. It’s safer (emotionally) to believe in limitations than possibilities for this person.
However, for those of us who maybe adopted a pessimistic approach to life because we have unhealed trauma related to optimism/trust, we usually have to heal that first before we can do anything else.
Often, just seeing and acknowledging this pattern and why it was created is enough for some people to find understanding, self-love and begin to nurture an optimistic mindset.
Remember: everything we do, say and feel (emotionally and physically) are clues to our subconscious psychology, our protection strategies and what we need to address to shake off the shackles of our past and move into a freed up mind and body.
Rather than trying to override these patterns, shame ourselves for being “defective” or force our minds and bodies to behave the way our now-adult consciousness believes is “right,” we will heal faster and more fully if we allow the wounded child inside to have its say and get integrated into the adult we are now.
Please share your takeaways below, and whether you agree with me about born optimists and pessimists.
* Disclaimer: The contents of this blog and accompanying YouTube channel are for informational purposes only and do not render medical or psychological advice, opinion, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided through this website is expressly the opinions of each author and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. This is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a medical or psychological problem, you should consult your appropriate health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Links on this website are provided only as an informational resource, and it should not be implied that we recommend, endorse or approve of any of the content at the linked sites, nor are we responsible for their availability, accuracy or content.
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.