My first thought when I got out of the car was, I failed miserably. Again.
I’m a glass half empty kind of person. It seems to be my natural inclination. I’m not sure why, and I read an article once that stated people are generally either more optimistic, by nature, or tend to be more pessimistic. I seem to be the latter. And I’m trying to change that.
This past summer was the hottest on record here in Texas. I’m a runner, and every single run for three straight months was miserable. I complained. I whined. I moaned. I was negative. And then I always felt guilty for not being more positive and upbeat around other people on our runs.
That was the kind of run I had today–again. It finally cooled off a little, but it was extremely humid and we ran 16 miles. It seemed like we were always running uphill. And it seemed like all I could do was complain about it.
I tried to be positive and give a celebratory little yeah! when we ran down a small hill. But then we ran right back up another hill and my mood grew sour. I tried to keep it in as best I could, but I think I failed. All summer I’ve been aware that I’m complaining so much, and that puts me in a bad mood.
I’m not always negative. I was actually a very positive teacher, and was pretty good at motivating kids to learn (at least I hope I was). I’m also usually very optimistic about life in general, and I’m happy most of the time. It’s the little things that seem to cause my downfall.
Like the weather. Or people who don’t know how to drive. And stress always brings out my inner grouch.
I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort not to be negative. I don’t want to be phony about it and pretend things are other than they are, or gloss things over just to put a positive spin on them. I merely want to try and see the positives first, and not dwell on the negatives so much. There are times I can be cynical, or suspicious, and I always reserve the right to suspend belief when people tell me things. Part of this is a protection device, and goes back to keeping my walls up so people don’t get too close.
I tried to read a book once about people who made a promise not to complain. They wore a little rubber bracelet, and anytime they complained about something they had to move the bracelet to the other arm. The goal was to not move the bracelet, which meant not complaining for an entire month, and then trying to extend the complaint-free time for longer and longer. I never sent off for the bracelet because I knew I would fail. It seems somewhat inauthentic, to hold in feelings just to remain positive all the time. What if the complaints are valid? What if they’re the truth!
Someone once told me I was the most honest person he knew. I didn’t know whether to take that as a compliment or not, but I’d rather be called honest than dishonest, and sometimes I think glossing over the truth just to be positive is dishonest. I do know I can be bluntly honest–which could come across as being negative sometimes–but I try not to hurt others with that honesty, though I’m sure there are times that I do.
I have to wonder if others struggle with being positive as much as I seem to. Our modern life with all its pressures makes it tough for us to remain cheery. For me, I think it goes back to my struggle to accept things as they are, and not as I want them to be (as I wrote about in an earlier post this summer). Maybe it’s merely just another judgment I’m placing on whatever it is that bothers me. Perhaps–no, probably–rather than complain and say anything at all, I just need to learn to keep my big mouth shut.
Even if I don’t truly accept the situation, or my negative feelings, or the disappointment, not saying anything at all doesn’t have to mean I’m lying to myself if I don’t voice my complaint. It just means I can acknowledge it to myself, give it no value, then move on from it. And if I look a little deeper, I think it all truly begins at my disappointment with whatever has happened, so maybe disappointment is the trigger. Disappointment, and maybe not being able to control what is happening.
I think the key is to work on trying to see the positive first, acknowledging the negative thought, then moving on. Let it go. Adios, amigo.
Will I ever be a full glass kind of person? Doubtful. Can I at least work on half a glass full? I think so. What would that person look like, what would she sound like? Ah, well, all I can do is keep plugging away, and not let things get to me so much. Everything changes, including my bad moods, the weather, and half empty glasses.
And that’s what makes life interesting.