Sunday, July 21, 2013

Realist. Optimistic or Pessimistic?

Let's begin by working from a similar set of definitions.

Realist ( - One who is inclined to literal trust and pragmatism.

Pragmatism ( - ...the doctrine that the meaning of an idea or a proposition lies in its observable practical consequences.

Optimistic ( - One who usually expects a favorable outcome.

Pessimistic ( - A tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view.

Now I believe that I am a Realist whose life experiences have molded me into a pessimistic person and I constantly struggle against my nature. I would prefer to be naturally optimistic but at the moment, it is something I have to work very hard at.

From the outward appearance of never smiling to the internal criticisms of everything which are almost constant, I am doom and gloom, inside and out. And yet, I feel that recognizing this issue is a good step in the right direction. When I catch myself frowning or thinking negative thoughts, I can say "STOP!" and try to look at things in a new way.

What made me think of this today was a beautiful summer thunderstorm that began as I was walking out of the grocery store. It was raining steadily but not too hard and everyone was sitting around waiting for it to end instead of braving a few drops and walking the 30 feet or so to their vehicle before their cold food got too warm.

I walked out into the rain, smiling. I was thankful for the Baptism Mother Earth was giving me (I need all I can get!), the way it was cooling things down, and how it would help a very parched land. Plus it reminded me of the "Duck Walks" I had with my sister who was handicapped and could not run. I remembered her wonderful tinkling laugh and how I'd scamper under trees trying not to get too wet and then running back to my sister's side because she could not run to get out of the rain and I didn't want her to suffer alone (though she never really did seem to mind). It was beautiful and happy to me though I am sure most of those folks sitting under cover waiting for it to stop didn't see it that way. I have to admit, I found it quite amusing that it began to pour furiously before I had made it out of the parking lot.

Now I am not always able to be optimistic. Earlier today when a man picked up his son and then pushed in front of me to let him get something out of a display I was browsing, I was quite angry and disappointed at how rude they were. It seems parents cater to their children's every whim, that saying "No" or pointing out that walking in front of someone else is rude (and it is polite to say "Excuse me") have been completely forgotten in order to keep a child happy. So I just turned away, went somewhere else and waited for them to finish. It is one of those examples that reinforce my pessimism.

I can't change the world but I can change how I react to it. For me, as my doctor put it, that requires "Better Living Through Chemistry" but it is better than ending up in jail. Some people are alive today because my "Death Stare" has not yet been perfected. And I think that is all I will say on that. Read into it what you want.