Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pessimism won't work.

I apparently wrote this in January of 2011. I have no idea why I didn't post it. Poor thing has just been sitting here, waiting for me to go through my posts and find it. I'm not going to alter it, this is the original draft.

I tend toward the negative.  I always have.  It's a character flaw that I've worked on at various points in my life.  I understand that pessimism doesn't work.  It robs people of initiative and makes happiness impossible.  Not to mention,  it's extremely unpleasant to others.  Really, who wants to be around someone who never stops complaining?

Since having my daughter, I've thought a lot about the person I want to be and the life I want to live.  After all, I am now a role model.  My child will look to me for cues on how to behave.  She will learn how to deal with disappointment, challenge and all those negative things by watching how I deal with them.  Do I whine and give up when things don't go how I feel they should?

During my periods of forced optimism a strange thing happens.  I actually AM happier.  Things seem to be better.  Is this because they are better?  Not really.  But my perception is shifted.  My circumstances haven't changed, only my focus.  I have fewer problems, but more challenges.

Our society tends to blame others for any issues we have.  It's the economy/my job/my upbringing/that person over there.  And so on.  If I were just treated the way I deserve to be treated, my life would be better.  If you would just _______ then I could be happy.  But since I am not treated fairly then I am released from any obligation to treat others decently.

Here's an interesting thing I've observed.  The happiest people are not the ones with the money/power/prestige/stuff.  They have normal jobs and bills to pay.  Their problems are the same as ours.  What they do have, that others do not, is gratitude and personal responsibility.  

Personal responsibility.  They recognize that they are in charge of their actions.  They, quite simply, choose to be happy.  Being accountable for your thoughts and actions isn't comfy.  It requires an acceptance that when things go wrong, you had a hand in causing it.  It means that when you do something wrong, it is because you CHOSE to.  The negative consequences are earned.  The flip side is, you can improve your situation.  You don't have to sit around waiting for someone to hand you the magic happiness wand.  You are capable of making choices and taking actions to set you on the right path.  It may not be easy.  In fact, it is almost guaranteed not to be.  But empowering?  Definitely.  Worth it?  I believe so.

Gratitude.  Being thankful for what you have.  It is so easy to overlook this.  After all, I deserve the good thing in my life, right?  I'm a good person.  I work hard.  It's the bad things that are thrust upon an innocent me.  It's so easy to overlook the good.  My beautiful daughter usually takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours to go to sleep at night.  During that time I'm in her room rocking her with my eyes closed so she will hopefully get bored and sleep.  There is so much I could do with that time.  If only she would go to sleep easier.  But during that time I get to hold my beautiful, ever growing not-rally-a-baby-anymore baby.  I get to cuddle her and give her the knowledge that she is important and loved.  When she finally goes to sleep I get to open my eyes and see her face in the peace that I helped create for her.  I get to kiss her sweet-smelling cheek.  (And it does smell sweet.  She smells delicious, but that is a different post.)  She is in my arms, safe in my home, happy and healthy.  So many things to be grateful for.

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