Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Optimism and Pessimism play a large part in our day to day existence and of course the role they play is in our thoughts in what some refer as our self talk. The average person usually chooses to mix more optimism into this internal monologue but depending on their life experiences and coping skills may mix in a moderate dose of Pessimism. Often beyond our life experience our career choice may have an influence on the amount of optimism and pessimism included in our thoughts. A human service work may be optimistic when thinking about any particular subject, while a stock broker may be more pessimistic. In each case the optimism or pessimism may have served them well in past professional decision whoever professionally each has learned to look at things from both sides. We can see where an overly pessimistic stockbroker will miss wonderful market opportunities whereas an over optimistic human service worker might put a client at risk or burn out in their profession rapidly.
In my late teens and early 20s I was a very pessimistic person and a member of the punk culture that was largely based on anarchy. While anarchist ideology in itself is not all negative the punk brand we practiced in the late 70s and early 80s was based on the perceived failure of the generation before us. I suspect that most involved in the sub culture were from dysfunctional backgrounds like myself.
When I hit an emotional brick wall in my late 20s after ending my addictive behaviors it became necessary to learn a new method of thought or self talk. A large part of this was to start taking personal responsibility for the things that were in my control as well as releasing things that were out of my control. I with the help of others learned that the abuses that lead to my anger was not my fault, however lashing out at others with anger was not acceptable. I found as my self talk became less pessimistic as I learned new coping skills my anger greatly decreased as I no longer based new situation entirely on past experience.
One of the things I have learned in life is I never have a bad day however I may have had some bad minutes. If I spend the rest of my day dwelling on those bad minutes and basing my perception on those bad minutes then my day will be in my perception a bad day. However if I let go of dissatisfaction those minutes caused my day turns around and my self talk is optimistic one again. One phrase I use in my kit of positive self talk tools is “It is never too late to start your day over.”