Monday, January 19, 2009

The Half-Full Glass - Trying to Stay Optimistic

It seems like there isn't much cause for optimism these days. Lots of folks are having a tough time, and with a gloomy forecast for the economy in 2009, it's hard to have a positive outlook on the future. Sometimes I feel like things are only going to go from bad to worse.

I've always been cautiously optimistic at best. My whole life I have battled pessimism and negative thinking. I have felt time and again that I brought myself down and caused my own misfortunes by having a dim view of things. That old self-fulfilling prophecy.

I wish I knew how to be more optimistic. I mean, I do have a sense of optimism about things. I don't get down about the fact that I have MS. I don't get all gloomy and doomy about my future as far as that is concerned.

I would like to be more optimistic about the future in general, though. I think about what I want my life to be like, say five years from now, and sometimes I feel down about it. I catch myself thinking no good things will happen. I refuse to let myself envision my future self having a lot of money and living in a nice big house. That would be optimism, and my mind doesn't seem to want to go there!

It takes work to fight off pessimism. Sometimes I think we just don't want to get our hopes up about things. Or past experience has taught us not to.

I tend to have little spurts of optimism. Today was a good day. I started the ball rolling on trying to become employed again by meeting with a job counselor and signing up for some career assessment classes. I felt pretty good after that, like I had gotten on the right track, and I could see myself becoming employed in the next few months.

I think sometimes we just don't want to get ahead of ourselves with the optimistic thoughts. That way, we think we won't be disappointed when things don't work out. But of course, we still do get disappointed when things don't work out.

Being optimistic seems like the better way to go. I'd rather feel 'up' about something. If it doesn't work out, the disappointment is short-lived, and I can just move on. I'd rather be hopeful right now about my future and the future of the nation.

So I will remain, as ever, cautiously optimistic. But maybe with a little less emphasis on the cautious part.

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