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Are You Ultimately A Realist Or A Pessimist?

Realism is the tendency to accept the practical life. But are you ultimately a realist or a pessimist? Let’s find out.

A curious girl trying to find out whether she is a pessimist or a realist
Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

Realism is a way of life, besides pessimism and optimism, that forms the overall worldview of an individual. It is the lens you use to see and perceive the world around you.

A lot of people have their own reasons behind accepting things in life. Some view it as meaning or significance, while others view it as a necessary resource to stay alive.

Likewise, the distinctions between realism and optimism are far too large to be confused with one another. However, this is not the case with pessimism and its negative worldview.

For several years, I thought I was pessimistic and believed in the ultimate reality of things. I was so confident with my pessimism that I didn’t even try to look for other possibilities.

But, after meeting some actual pessimists, I can now say that I am more of a realist with slight optimism. Still, people are not totally aware of the distinctions between the two. Hence, they often confuse one for another. 

The reason behind it is that realism and pessimism have a lot in common with each other, which makes it difficult not to identify with the other side. Pessimists view themselves as realists, while realists view themselves as pessimists.

So, “How can you identify which one you are?”

“Are you ultimately a realist or a pessimist?”

Let’s find out.


Why do you confuse realism with pessimism?

“Do you often think about whether you are a realist or a pessimist?”

Well, the good news is, you are not alone. Most of us think that realism is the ultimate source of pessimism. But that isn’t the truth. In fact, most of the misunderstandings arise from experiencing both of their effects.

Realism and pessimism are contrary to the worldview of optimism. While optimism routes for the ultimate world, the former and the latter accept the reality as it is. However, they do so in different ways.

Even I was completely unaware of the distinctions between the two due to certain similarities they possessed. Nevertheless, I came out of that misunderstanding once I encountered some actual pessimists around me who accepted the reality, but with a different view.

 A cat representing the thin line between pessimism and realism
Photo by Trinity Kubassek from Pexels

I know that there are some realistic-pessimists or pessimistic-realists, but you are not equal on both and have a dominant one.

So, “Why do you often confuse realism with pessimism?”

Well, here are 3 possible reasons for doing so.


1. Both are not totally influenced by the bright ideal world:

Both pessimism and realism are the ideas that do not seek inspiration from visualizing an ideal world. A lot of what optimism stands for is the exact opposite of the two worldviews.

These orientations are more likely to dwell on the reality and understand the truth behind it. Moreover, these views also try to incorporate their own understanding that goes against the bright ideal world of a true optimist.

Therefore, both pessimism and realism are not totally influenced by the bright ideal world.


2. Both look for details and subtleties in ideas:

Ideas are good and inspiring as long as they are perfect. Both pessimism and optimism do not believe in vague representations of ideas that lack in details and subtleties.

In fact, both pessimism and realism find peculiarities in anything that seems impractical. Realists and pessimists are detail-oriented in nature and seem to identify with things that might hinder the application of ideas.

Hence, both realism and pessimism look for details and subtleties in ideas.


3. Both resonate with the dark side of reality:

This is the most obvious reason why pessimism is confused with realism. You see, we come across many bad incidents in life that affect us mentally and emotionally.

Now the way both pessimists and optimists absorb it is different. However, both the latter and the former resonate with the brutal and dark side of reality that goes beyond expectations.

Therefore, both resonate with the dark side of things as opposed to the brighter side of things.

So, here we have discussed the reasons why people confuse realism with optimism.

But, “What are the differences that can help us distinguish one from the other?”

Let’s find out whether you are a realist or a pessimist in the next section.


Are you a realist or a pessimist?

Now, as I said before, one cannot be a realist or a pessimist all the time. The preferences change, especially when you are understanding and dealing with things in reality.

There is no answer to whether you are actually an optimist or a pessimist. However, we can say that the degree to which an individual adapts to his worldview is relative to his desire to be at peace with reality.

A man who is a realist but not a pessimist
Photo by Kelvin França from Pexels

So, if a person finds peace in becoming more of a realist or a pessimist, he will accept his view without any hesitation.

One important thing to note here is that you can be anything you want, but you will always have the other side of the view in your subconscious mind while making decisions or finding out patterns in the reality. Hence, you use all of the worldviews together.

But, “How to know whether you are more of a realist or pessimist (dominant side)?”

Here are 5 insightful and spectacular ways to distinguish between both.


1. Pessimism has a dark streak to it, realism doesn’t:

If you think that pessimism and realism are the same, then you are hugely mistaken. While it is true that both have some similarities concerning the idea, yet pessimism has a dark streak to it.

Now, this dark streak doesn’t have to be violent or sadistic, but just the acceptance of the singularity of cynicism. Even though it exists in harmony with idealism (optimism). In fact, pessimists are skeptical of the idea of optimism and consider it naive.

Realism, on the other hand, doesn’t have it. It doesn’t look for dual sides, just the practical things at hand. Hence, the pessimism is dark. Realism can be dark only in unhealthy cases.


2. Pessimism looks for hurdles and limits to it, realism doesn’t:

You must have heard the famous quote by Sir Winston Churchill, 

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

The same is the case of pessimism, which only sees the hurdles and accepts it as the ultimate fate or destiny to life. Most pessimists believe that difficulties and shortcomings in life come to teach you the fruitlessness of efforts.

A realist might point out the hurdles or difficulties in life but realizes that one has to look for better ways to overcome them. This doesn’t put pessimism in a bad light. But, it has its own perspective of the situation.


3. Pessimism never resonates with optimism, realism does (to an extent):

Pessimism is the exact opposite of optimism, which also means that a pessimist will never believe in the bright side of things. Even more so, he will point out the disadvantages to it, which can be frustrating in severe cases.

In other words, pessimism doesn’t completely resonate with optimism. It will always end up ignoring it. Realism, on the other hand, resonates with optimism. It recognizes the need for positive thinking to tackle real-life problems.

It doesn’t mean pessimism is immature, but it doesn’t have much to identify with optimism in the long run.


4. Pessimism conforms to a set of beliefs, realism doesn’t:

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that pessimism confirms a set of beliefs that are stone rigid and do not change irrespective of the situation. Moreover, this set of beliefs are very personal and individualistic.

But, realism, on the other hand, has no such stone-rigid set of beliefs. In fact, it is very adapting and resourceful in nature. However, it lacks a goal that pessimism has. Still, realism is very different when it comes to its applications and seldom follows a rule or guideline.

Hence, pessimism has a set of beliefs, realism doesn’t.


5. Lastly, pessimism has an ideal world of its own, realism doesn’t:

“Do you think pessimism has no ideal world of its own?”

Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Believing in an ideal world is not just a sign of optimism but also pessimism. However, this idea of an ideal world is very different from the stereotypical idealism. 

Instead, it is dark and murky with no hope whatsoever with the circumstances. In other words, it is an ultimate black hole.

Whereas realism just believes in a practical world, reality. Of course, it can have a realist ideal world too, but that will also be very much practical and grounded unlike pessimism.

Hence, pessimism routes for an ideal world of its own, while realism doesn’t.

5 insightful ways to distinguish between realism and pessimism

Final Words:

To sum up, you can be a pessimist, optimist, and realist, where one dominates the other two views. However, you can confuse yourself with pessimism and realism as both appear the same, superficially.

But, the above insightful ways can easily guide you to understand the distinctions between the two and the way they influence our nature and identity.

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