Monday, March 26, 2007

What we tell ourselves

There is a fine line, I think, between Norman Vincent Peale, Pollyanna, Eor and Poe. We know a lot about the impact our thoughts and feelings have on our perceptions, thoughts, health and spirit. The fine line exists between choosing to be positive (or negative) but rooted in reality, and choosing to be positive (or negative) and rewriting events to make them fit our 'positive' or 'negative' outlook. Clint Black has a song that says 'We tell ourselves that what we found was what we meant to find'. Understanding the nuances of circumstances, evaluating the real impact to our life, finding ways to focus our efforts and attention on good feelings and outcomes--these are all choices to be positive and keep perspective and as much control as is available to us. Fabricating a myth to accompany events - even when it is designed to make us feel better - usually ends up making us feel less engaged, less confident, less sincere, less realistic and ultimately fails to bring us the happiness that leads us to choose fabrication (or amplification) as a strategy.

If you look in the news section you will see an article from the British Medical Journal discussing post traumatic stress syndrome and long term psychological illness. The study seems to show that context, culture and expectation bear more heavily on whether people subjected to extreme and often violent stress later develop mental illness.

The point is, that if we are waiting to be insulted, we probably will. If we are looking at life from the point of view of the victim, we will probably become victims. If we focus on the traumas that affect us, we will probably be traumatized. We have all known people who faced great challenges and endured, sometimes even defeated them. When I think about the ones I know, it seems to me that they acknowledged reality, accepted it, then found a way to make the best of it. They didn't rewrite it to suit, so they didn't have to try to integrate unreality into their lives.

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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