Sometimes the events we are going through seem to go hand in hand with a teaching: nothing can get better. This belief is irrational, but although we are aware of it, we accept it as a golden rule that perfectly describes reality. For that, facing despair is not easy … but neither is it impossible.
In fact, no matter how much we believe that this vital pessimism fits perfectly into the unfolding of life before our very eyes, and that any more positive interpretation of what the future will be like means deceiving yourself, what we know thanks to research in psychology and neuroscience shows that this is not the case.
Although it may seem like a lie, the hopelessness and pessimism associated with the symptoms of depression and sadness are, like hope and optimism, ways of seeing the life that we are building for ourselves, and which are not. given by “reality” as it is.
The story of pessimistic life
It’s counterintuitive and hard to understand at first, but desperation is something that we learn, something that arises within ourselves and that it is relatively independent of external events that we cannot control.
This implies two things:
- The predictions we make about what our life will be like depends on our mood.
- Desperation and pessimism are not more “realistic” ways of looking at things.
But then … why do we tend to think of despair as a way of seeing reality without additives, in a way more honest and alien to feelings and desires? If we realize, we tend to see optimists as ‘dreamers’ or ‘down-to-earth people’, while we attribute a greater ability to see things unfiltered to those that are more bitter and pessimistic.
The answer has to do with a psychological compensation mechanism that we are going to see now.
Make up for the desperation
From an early age, we learn to see things in terms of the balance between disadvantages and rewards. Going to the bathroom alone means that we will receive praise from our parents; neglecting our schoolwork will mean that teachers and our parents will get angry. In one way or another, we will notice that in almost everything there is a compensation mechanism.
Despair makes us notice a failure in this way of seeing reality, but not at all. On the one hand, we see that our efforts don’t match the results we get (e.g. no matter how hard we try to please a person, they shouldn’t treat us better).
In the most extreme cases, we notice that absolutely all efforts to protect our integrity and well-being are in vain, and we may end up giving up altogether. This phenomenon is known as learned helplessness.
however, the compensation mechanism survives the way we judge this desperation on its own. Somehow we come to the conclusion that pessimism is the most accurate way to analyze what is going on. Because? Because being pessimistic is painful and you have to have compensation.
Paradoxically, this system of balances that people who have lost hope get rid of in order to believe in it a way to make mistakes about themselves survives in their ideas, but with a difference: if it is, it only serves to produce bitterness, sadness and discomfort.
Accept the ability to construct reality
So whether we are optimistic or desperate, our outlook can never be neutral or objective.
Our brains are not made to absorb all the information from the world around us and the processes going on there, but it constantly selects relevant information through bias … and that’s not necessarily bad.
simply there are interpretations of what is going on that are more useful than others. And pathological pessimism has no advantages in itself, so … why suppose it gives us a more reasonable perspective on the facts?
Dealing with despair and regaining hope is not just a way to feel better: it is a statement of principles that involves using our own ability to extract interpretations from facts for our own benefit, rather than leaving them behind. . us to move forward. In fact, it is one of the principles of cognitive restructuringOne of the components of cognitive behavioral therapy: finding alternatives when reading reality.
So, if you think that it would be helpful to put some more excitement in your life, you can start by considering the following points.
1. Set goals
Often times, desperation is the result of a lack of goals. When there is nothing to do, emotional stagnation arises, Boredom and hopelessness, because it is assumed that nothing important or good will happen.
To get out of this dynamic, set specific, reasonable goals for yourself, like starting a training plan or starting to learn a topic on your own. It’s also a good idea to break this plan down into small, short-term sub-goals, so you can immediately see the progress you’re making.
2. Surround yourself with positive people
Optimism is contagious, so being in touch with people who see things through hope is always positive and empowering. Getting used to these social circles will give you more opportunities to experience new sensations, Moments of euphoria and, in general, of happiness.
3. Get out of your comfort zone
Desperation is bitter, but it also has an addictive component: it allows you not to assume important responsibilities and not to run the risk of going through moments of nervousness. However, small doses of frustration and stress are needed to progress in some areas of life.
For example, for a shy person it may be uncomfortable to meet new people, but after a first moment of nervousness the reward may become much more satisfying than the initial comfort of the comfort zone.
Therefore, we must try to force ourselves to perform acts of courage which in the medium and long term will be positive.