Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I share something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life. Last week, I saw a beautiful photo on Facebook, posted by Annabelle Bryant. I shared the picture with the following status update:
Yes, it’s true. I’m a natural pessimist. Whenever I begin something, I can easily list of all of the things that could end badly. I believe in Murphy’s Law, that anything that can go wrong likely will. I get a niggling sense of doom whenever things are going too well, like the universe is out of balance and something bad is bound to happen to regain equilibrium.
I’m seriously jealous of the natural optimists around me. They seem so, so . . . happy.
So I battle the pessimism. I figure that I don’t have to surrender to natural negativity. How? Here are my tips:
Look for beauty around you. It’s the age-old “take time to smell the roses” suggestion. Maybe the reason that proverb has hung around so long is that it works. I intentionally look for rainbows after rainstorms, colorful sunsets, shapes in the clouds, constellations of stars. I look for animals doing their thing around me, whether it’s the amazing web spun by a small spider or a blue heron flying over our yard or a cat jumping to a height I never imagined it could. I pause to gaze at pretty architecture, beautiful art, and my hunk of a husband. I take note that there is beauty in the world to be savored.
Count your blessings. Yep, an attitude of gratitude goes a long way toward contentment. Instead of focusing on everything that could go wrong, I try to recognize everything that’s going right. And the list is pretty long. On a day that my car breaks down or my novel isn’t coming together or even my cat dies, I have so many things to be thankful for. I have a home, friends, family, reasonable health, pets, music, books, chocolate, bacon,. . . and the list goes on. Most people figure out their lives look pretty darn good when they count their blessings.
Think what’s the best & what’s the worst that could happen. When I’m worried about something going badly, I do better to consider all of the possible outcomes. Usually I discover that the best outcome is really awesome and the worst outcome is survivable. So regardless of what happens, I’ll be okay. I don’t know if this one works for everyone, but this exercise settles my nerves and pushes down the pessimism.
Act like an optimist. Yeah, sometimes I just fake it until I make it. I slap on a smile, do my thing, and see how it goes. Thankfully, pessimists are often wrong, and things go just fine. Sometimes if you act as if, then things fall into place after all. And I avoid having wasted unnecessary negativity.
I am indeed a natural pessimist, but I doubt that my friends and acquaintances would say that about me. Because I’m battling my pessimism. And I think that I’m winning. (How’s that for some optimism?)
This wasn’t in my ROW80 goals, but I did write a short story this week–a YA paranormal (not my usual genre). Here’s the rest of my progress:
1. Edit/rewrite SHARING HUNTER, a YA contemporary novel. No more progress.
Edit two short stories–one needs a final polish, the other a full edit. Already done.
3. Read 10 fiction books. I’m up to 9. Here’s the list:
White Cat, Red Glove, and Black Heart by Holly Black
Firelands by Piper Bayard
Almost a Scandal and A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex
Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World by Kristen Lamb
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Started Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells on Saturday.
4. Finish craft book: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson. Read another chapter. Typed up more notes. Four short chapters left.
5. Visit and comment on five ROW80 blog posts per week. Done.
6. Attend at least one RWA meeting. I’ve attended the Northwest Houston and West Houston RWA meetings. I’m planning to attend the Bay Area RWA meeting this Tuesday.
Are you a natural optimist or pessimist? How do you handle that approach? And how was your week?