Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Filling a half empty cup

I've always liked to call myself an optimist, but the truth is that maybe I'm not.  I have a habit of assuming the worst about what people think, imply, or say to me and it's gotten me into trouble more than once recently.  I want to change this way of thinking.

Here's an example.  My husband blows off the way I would have done something and says "No, I didn't change Roo's diaper before his nap - but he'll be fine."  But what I hear is "You change him too often, you waste diapers and money, you do things the hard way, you crazy nutter."  So I get mad, he gets mad, and it's all because I have this hearing problem. 

Or I approach another mommy to try to make small talk at a moms and tots class and she is brief and doesn't pick up the conversation.  I could assume she's shy, or busy, or has to pee, or any reason for not wanting to talk to me at that moment, but I assume she's being a bitch and intentionally snubbing me.  That I'm (or my kid is) dressed badly or she's laughing at my toes or she doesn't want to be my friend because of some defect of mine.

Or someone comments about how they were back in pre-pregnancy clothes when their baby was 3 months old.  I look down at my mummy tummy and feel like they're judging me for still being the size I am and taking a shot at me for not trying hard enough.

Would an optimist hear other people's comments as criticisms and arguments all the time?  I don't think so.

I know that a lot of it has to do with how I was raised.  My family liked to argue and liked to veil character assassinations and verbal attacks as "jokes."  All the time.  You needed to wear emotional Kevlar to our dinner table.  There's nothing wrong with this, but some more emotional people are just ill-equipped to deal with it.  I'm one of them.  I still think I'm a freak in a lot of ways because of things people said to me fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years ago, even if they were only kidding around.

But that's a pretty weak excuse.  I have been living on my own for a long time now.  I've come a long way in my life.  The friends and family that I have now don't play that sport.  There's just no reason for me to think this way anymore. 

The question that haunts me now as I'm trying to stop being a Negative Nellie is do I run the risk of making a fool of myself because I'm busy looking on the bright side of everything?  Are people going to be laughing behind my back because I am going to become unable to hear snobbery and sniping?  Is it totally naive to think that people are nice?  Am I going to be become a doormat?

Though I guess that if I'm busy being Mrs. Positivity, none of that will matter, will it?  If I truly believe in the goodness of humanity, that really is all that will exist for me.

Well, from today onward, I am positive that I'm going to be much less negative. 

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