I generally feel like I’m a pretty optimistic person. If I’m negative, I try to keep it critical and tied to the reality that is going on. I think it’s part of my ENFP Myers Briggs tendency. Not to mention those strength finder qualities: Ideation, Activator, Maximizer, Positivity, Woo (YEAH WOOO!!!!).
But sure, there are some exceptions to the rule.
Guy: “It doesn’t bite.”
Me: “I don’t want to hold the snake.”
Guy: “It doesn’t bite. Here.”
Me: ” I don’t want to hold the snake.”
Guy: “next I get cobra.”
Me: holds rice snake.
Those who know me would attest to my tendency to look for solutions, positives and opportunities in even the bleakest of situations. If anything, I struggle with people who are overly critical or pessimistic. I know it sounds bad, but I often see them as obstacles in the way of progress. While what they have to say might very well have merit, I get all Simba and Rafiki about dweling on the past or problems. They are to be learned from and offer the map to do better in the future. Otherwise, its just about getting cuaght up thining too much about the stick that hits you in the head.
This doesn’t mean I don’t get sad. I do find myself more sad and broody on my travels as I go around the country. I don’t get quite as bad as American Beauty, staring off at the plastic bag on the sidewalk, but I do find myself more introspective and often concerned with the fate of things. This has certainly been worse as my travel has increased and Senior Douche-face took the white house from Barrack (also, could he be happier right now? Did you see the story where he is like kite-surfing or something with Richard Branson? You go, Obama. You go, Glen Coco.).
So, I suppose the take away for me is identifying those times where I find myself overcome with the negative. For me, broody is a good word. And I don’t want to remove this part from myself, I like this introspective part. I think here it is more a matter of balance. Not allowing sadness to overcome and lead to pessimism or hopelessness. Maybe even anger.
I know many of my friends have written about the political change with Trump in office. And I certainly is something that becomes one of the first things I check now each morning. It’s hard to see his lack of grace, isolationistic policies, greed and arrogance and not fall into a pessimistic place. Social justice, equity, and helping those in need are core tenants for my Christianity and humanism. So yes, it’s hard to remain optimistic.
But I don’t want to write about that. It just feels too big. Done too well by other people who feel passionate about these issues. I suppose my goal here is to work harder on seeing the positive in difficult situations. Not getting too analytical about why people behave the way f behavior, but instead focus on some of those good, old fashioned core qualities Roger’s talks about. Believing in the goodness of people, removing obstacles to growth and understanding we are all, sometimes in broken and troubling ways, striving to become something better.
That, and I suppose if I’m going to get deep for a minute, the importance of not letting pessimism keep us from exploring the world around and taking chances. I think that is the true message behind this one. Pessimism keeps us from reaching towards our dreams and goals. Its our fear and worry about negative outcomes. So maybe that’s also something I’ll think on.
To conclude, no discussion of pessimism would be complete without this little gem from our friends across the pond.
“When you are chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, just whistle.” #lifeofbrian
February 8, 2017 at 2:01 pm
I feel like I am optimistic for and about other people and about big picture things. Yes, even in the face of Senior Douche-face (let’s make that stick), I try to focus on how mobilized people are against him and the good in most of the country. But I am often pessimistic about my own life and situations. I tend to think out worst case scenarios. This can be helpful in preparing for them, but not when I focus so much on them that I come to assume that will be the outcome. So I struggle with focusingmy optimism inward. Or even realism in all situations.
February 8, 2017 at 7:16 pm
it is really difficult to respond to the pessimism, sadness and anger you have for the new POTUS. Senior douce face says what exactly? I felt sad and angry at times for the past 8 years but really tried to keep a lid on it.It did not work a lot of the time. It is difficult when you are passionate and emotional about your values. But this is a 2 way street with values. The left is not right because they keep saying it, nor is the right. This seems to be a driving force right now with those who lost the election. What about all the folks who had the same sadness and anger over issues, (gay marriage, obamacare, birth control, abortion, LGBT rights, etc) for the past 8 years when Obama wrote the EO’s? There are always 2 sides to the any story. So name calling somehow just takes the first 11 defilements and kind of makes them somewhat hypocritical. One’s like grudge, dominance and manipulation; and future one’s like hostility and debasement? I would suggest that the left needs to get over it, suck it up and drive on. Cause this is what the right has had to do for 8 years. just my take.