Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Pessimism

Emotion Pessimism

When you want to write the emotion pessimism, it's important to "show" the emotion your character is experiencing through their physical reactions and dialogue, rather than "tell" it. In this article we provide you with inspiration so you can avoid show; don't tell and immerse your readers in your story.

Pessimism is an emotion characterized by a negative outlook on life, a belief that bad things will happen, and a lack of hope or confidence in the future. Pessimistic individuals tend to focus on the negative aspects of situations and may find it difficult to see the potential for positive outcomes. This emotion can be caused by a variety of factors, including past experiences, personal beliefs, and environmental factors. It can be a challenging emotion to overcome, but with practice and a shift in mindset, it is possible to cultivate a more optimistic outlook on life.

  1. Different Types of Pessimism
  2. Situations Associated with Pessimism
  3. Physical Reactions to Pessimism
  4. Thoughts Associated with Pessimism
  5. Atmosphere of Pessimism
  6. Verbs Associated with Pessimism
  7. Emotions Before Pessimism
  8. Emotions After Pessimism
  9. Telling Pessimism Examples to Avoid
  10. Practical Examples of Showing Pessimism
  11. Exercises for Showing Pessimism

Different Types of Pessimism

Here are some different types of pessimism:

  • General Pessimism: A negative outlook on life in general
  • Learned Helplessness: A feeling of being powerless to change one's circumstances
  • Fatalism: Belief that events are predetermined and inevitable, leading to a sense of hopelessness
  • Catastrophizing: A tendency to imagine the worst-case scenario in any situation
  • Defeatism: A belief that failure is inevitable and not worth trying to overcome

Situations Associated with Pessimism

Here are some situations where a character might experience the emotion of pessimism:

  • A series of failures or setbacks in the character's personal or professional life
  • Constant criticism or negative feedback from others
  • A traumatic experience, such as the loss of a loved one or a serious injury
  • Growing up in a negative environment, with parents or caregivers who were pessimistic or critical
  • Feeling helpless or powerless in a situation, with no clear way to improve it
  • Being exposed to negative news or media on a regular basis
  • Facing a particularly difficult challenge or obstacle that seems insurmountable
  • Having a negative mindset or worldview, where the character always expects the worst to happen

Physical Reactions to Pessimism

Here are some physical reactions a character experiencing pessimism might have:

  • Slumped posture
  • Frowning or scowling
  • Lack of eye contact or avoiding eye contact
  • Speaking in a monotone voice
  • Heavy sighing or deep breathing
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Negative self-talk or self-deprecating comments
  • Refusing to engage in activities or social situations
  • Lack of interest or enthusiasm

Thoughts Associated with Pessimism

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing pessimism might have:

  • What's the point of even trying? I'll probably fail anyway.
  • Things never go my way. I'm always the unlucky one.
  • I don't think I can handle any more disappointment.
  • I'm not good enough to succeed. I don't have what it takes.
  • Why bother making plans? They always fall through.
  • I'm doomed to a life of mediocrity and unhappiness.
  • Nothing ever changes. This is just how it is and always will be.

Atmosphere of Pessimism

Here are some ways that you might reflect the emotion of pessimism in the atmosphere of your scene:

  • Use dark, gloomy, or dreary settings like a rundown apartment, abandoned buildings, or a graveyard.
  • Incorporate bad weather like rain, thunderstorms, or heavy fog to create a sense of foreboding.
  • Use muted or desaturated colors to evoke a sense of hopelessness and despair.
  • Include objects that symbolize negativity or loss like broken mirrors, wilted flowers, or empty bottles.
  • Use metaphors or similes that convey a sense of defeat, such as "the sky was as gray as a prison wall" or "the silence in the room was as heavy as a boulder."
  • Include dialogue that reflects a negative outlook, such as characters expressing doubt or cynicism about the future or their own abilities.
  • Use sensory details to evoke a sense of decay, such as the smell of mold or decay, the taste of bitterness or regret, or the feel of cold, damp air.

Verbs Associated with Pessimism

Here are some verbs commonly associated with the emotion of pessimism:

  • Complaining
  • Frowning
  • Sighing
  • Grumbling
  • Despairing
  • Belittling
  • Worrying
  • Doubting
  • Criticizing
  • Resenting
  • Sulking
  • Brooding
  • Blaming
  • Regretting

Emotions Before Pessimism

Here are some emotions that may come before a character experiences pessimism:

  • Disappointment
  • Frustration
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Uncertainty
  • Insecurity
  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Betrayal

Emotions After Pessimism

Here are some emotions that may come after a character experiences pessimism:

  • Hopelessness
  • Despair
  • Defeat
  • Resignation
  • Cynicism
  • Bitterness
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Disappointment

Telling Pessimism Examples to Avoid

Here are some examples of telling the emotion pessimism in a sentence. You should avoid things like this:

  • He felt really down about his chances of success.
  • She thought there was no point in trying, as things never went her way.
  • He couldn't see the bright side of anything, no matter how hard he tried.
  • She believed the worst about people and situations, and didn't see any reason to expect better.
  • He was convinced that everything was going to end badly, so why bother?
  • She was sure that things would only get worse, no matter what anyone did.
  • He was always expecting the worst, and usually found that he was right.
  • She had given up hope of anything ever improving, and just tried to get through each day.
  • He was certain that the future held nothing but disappointment and regret.

Practical Examples of Showing Pessimism

Here are some examples of showing pessimism in a sentence:

  • She trudged through the rain, knowing that her plans for the day were ruined.
  • He stared at the empty inbox, convinced that no one cared about his work.
  • The dark clouds on the horizon made her feel like the world was closing in on her.
  • He couldn't help but think that everything was going to go wrong, no matter what he did.

Exercises for Showing Pessimism

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing pessimism:

  • Start by brainstorming situations or events that could make a character feel pessimistic. Consider personal setbacks, disappointments, or failures.
  • Think about the character's past experiences and how they might shape their worldview. Have they been let down by others in the past? Have they faced repeated obstacles or challenges?
  • Use sensory details to convey the character's pessimism. Describe the way they slump their shoulders, sigh heavily, or gaze into the distance with a furrowed brow.
  • Consider the character's internal thoughts and dialogue. Use phrases like "What's the point?" or "It's never going to work out" to convey their pessimistic outlook.
  • Experiment with writing scenes from the perspective of a pessimistic character. How do they interact with others? How do they approach challenges or opportunities?
  • Play with contrast in your writing. For example, describe a sunny day in detail, then have the character dismiss it as "just a temporary reprieve" from their usual gloom.
  • Use metaphors or symbolism to convey the character's pessimism. For example, a wilted flower or a stormy sky could represent their internal state.
  • Consider the character's relationships with others. Do they tend to bring others down with their pessimism, or do they keep it to themselves? How do others respond to their negative outlook?

Want more help with showing emotion instead of telling? You find more help in our full list of emotions.

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