I’m one of those people who, when asked how I am, wants to provide a comprehensive response. The five-minute analysis, complete with side-commentary. “Fine” just seems to cheat not only me, but you in our tiny interaction. You asked, therefore I should give you a full and honest answer. And that answer is usually starts, “I’m fine, but….”
That impulse for full disclosure is innocent, if ponderous, in itself. But I’ve noticed it may be the tip of the iceberg of a tendency to stare at the bad stuff around me, while only glancing at the good.
We live in a time of relentless positive emotion. It’s all good, right? Many around me are ruthlessly optimistic, and expect not just a “fine” when asked how I am, but a booming “Great!”
This social undercurrent has thrown me for a loop. I come from gloomy Europeans, not brash Westerners. It just feels strange to walk around proclaiming how great life is, when if you actually take a minute and look, there’s this, and this over there and then these couple of things that need attention, and….
Over the decades, I’ve noticed that while I was busy doing my important work of noticing where the problems are, I was a little like the princess and the pea. While fulminating over whatever — the small paycheck, a beloved person’s drinking too much, how a relationship isn’t real enough, growing pollution — I overlooked the layers of feather beds supporting me.
I also noticed that others, who plowed ahead with what was good, ended up in a reasonably enviable place. This isn’t about denial. I may have been right about the bad stuff I perceived, but I had the balance all wrong.
Things may be out of whack, but I can move forward in a positive way without necessarily succumbing to denial. In fact – and this is the continual mind-blower for me — that moving forward in a positive way can affect the things that are out of whack. Improvement over here, might truly help improve things over there.
This post is part of a series of posts on trust, based on the 21-Day Salutes originated by blogger Colleen Wainwright. The intention is to write daily to help shift a habit. Originally, she had been told that it takes 21 days of new behavior to change a habit. She has since found out that it is apparently takes much longer. Oh well….