Therapy Poem 2: Pessimism

Pessimism is one of the hardest forms of suffering.

Pessimism is unassuaged by goodness.

Pessimism looks a gift horse in the mouth

and then punches it.

Pessimism insists on calling badness inevitable and constant

and then making it such to perpetuate itself.

Pessimism does not allow space for the possibility of improvement.

Pessimism rebuffs all comfort, refuses any opportunity, and distrusts every joy.

They say they want life to get better.

I want the same for them.

Perhaps life will spontaneously untangle itself for them.

But probably not.

They say they want their feelings to get better.

Pessimism is a simpler creature than that.

Pessimism gets attached to misery

because it thinks predicting unrelenting catastrophe will prevent or ease future distress.

Pessimism believes if we do not hope, we will not be disappointed.

Disappointment comes from a perceived drop in goodness;

pessimism is total blindness to goodness.

Thus a pessimist is, in fact, perpetually disappointed.

They say they want the world to get better.

The world seldom gets better when positive outcomes are preemptively dismissed.

Change is fueled by hope – we must start with hope.

But it’s so hard for them to say they want to try to be better, let alone believe they can.

Be kindest to pessimists.

Even in the face of goodness, they experience no joy, internalize no relief.

After they maximize their fill of negativity, they harden themselves to prevent pain,

sealing within all former pain instead, suffocating themselves in it.

We can only try to poke small holes for air to get in.