Magazine article Psychology Today

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Magazine article Psychology Today

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Article excerpt

Protected by Pessimism

"THE USES AND Abuses of Optimism" (December) was a highly informative and interesting article that rightly suggested that having a pessimistic perspective may sometimes be more beneficial and rewarding than blind optimism. No human drive is more compelling than our need to preserve our own existence. At times, being pessimistic may best serve this need by preparing ourselves to flee and arming ourselves to combat potential dangers.

KENDEROW

Wallingford,PA

your article on Optimism was great, but nowhere were optimism and pessimism even defined. The way pessimism is described seems more like simply being cautious. Meshing pessimism with caution may contribute to people second-guessing simpler ideas. I'd like to see an article on how to be a healthy skeptic instead of a defensive pessimist.

RANDY ZEITMAN

Via email

DECEMBER'S OPTIMISM PIECE gave no clear answers or advice. We should not be wildly optimistic, except when we should. And we should let pessimism lead the day, except when that does not make sense. How do we determine which to use in advance of an event? Maybe pure rationality, but that isn't good either. How are we supposed to be optimistic, pessimistic, accomplished, and have good relationships all at the same time?

DIANA D'AMBRA

Maplewood, NJ

Perspective Versus Proof

IN "REALITY LITE" (December) Raj Raghunathan asks: "Would you choose to know the full truth with all its good and bad, or live in a curated reality and be happy?" A confident and wise person is not destroyed by discovering that his or her spouse is cheating. He would know that any human being is capable of cheating. He fully accepts the imperfect world with its imperfect people, including his family as well as his own self.

MICHAEL J. GORMAN

Whitestone,NY

Life Changing Words

thank you for taking the shame out of being a quiet and sensitive person who needs time to process and respond to the world. …

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