Positive Re-inforcement

I am an eternal optimist.  (Most annoying I know, but I just can’t help myself…)

I will mostly always find the silver lining in that cloud that hangs over your head and I am a shameless hope junkie.  I will mostly always hope that the fact that AF is late means that there is a viable pregnancy on the way, I will *always* believe that the many amazing women that I have met on this infertility journey are destined to become mothers and I always believe that we will never be given more to deal with in life than we can handle.  I believe that everything happens for a reason even though most of the time that reason is never evident at the time of the happening (cos isn’t hindsight 20/20 after all?) and that the reason for that particular strife in our lives will be revealed to us in time…

I was chatting to my friend earlier today on MSN and I was being annoyingly hopeful and ever optimistic.  I mentioned that I realised I was probably annoying with my ever hopeful optimistic attitude.  She told me that she thinks my optimism is sweet and that it means that I have not allowed myself to be broken and jaded by this journey (or something along those lines) and it got me thinking. 

Why is it that I am that ever hopeful girl?  Is it because I believe that God wants only the best for us in life – even if it means that He has to walk with us through the trials we struggle to weather?  Is it because I was born like this?  Is it as simple as saying that some people are more predisposed to positivity than others?  Or is it something one learns?  I think it might be a bit of both… growing up I was taught by my folks to find at least one good thing in the bad things that happened to us.  So when my toe got caught in the car door and my toenail popped off I thought “at least I get to go the doctor now and I’ll get a lollipop”.  When my nose bled so badly that I had to get admitted to hospital I thought “yay, no school for three days”.  When I fell off the handlebars of my sisters bike and had to have gravel pulled out my chest with tweezers I thought “at least I never broke my arm where Michelle rode over it in her panic.”

I have always seemed to be able to see the good through the bad.  I think it is just habit now.  This is not to say that I am that ever sparkly super irritating Barbie giggling girl all the time.  That would be way to Stepford for my liking.  I have my moments of giving into the darkness.  I get sad and frustrated by happenings in my life just as much as the next gal.  But somehow I seem to bounce back to “ever optimistic” sooner rather than later.

What do you guys think?  Do you think people are inherently positive or negative?  Are you able to see the good through the bad that is happening in your life at all?  

(I know that many of us are going through a trying time right now and this post may come across as flippant or ambivilent to some of you… this is not my intention at all… please feel free to clobber me over the head if this post makes you feel tender.)

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19 thoughts on “Positive Re-inforcement

  1. Thought provoking Sam. I can’t speak for everyone, but can speak from my own experience. I think I’m generally a really positive person, hence the various successes in my life, but I do believe that sometimes, in some area’s that positivity can get warn down by being knocked down a few too many times. Case in point, 6 pregnancies, no babies has taught me that no matter how positive I try to be, no matter how hard I pray, it won’t make an iotta of difference when it comes to a positive outcome with regards to my fertility. Its the one area in my life where I’ve learnt that its easier to accept the worst from the beginning than to hope for the best and be disappointed. Every now and again I give in to hope, hence the whole point of our conversation, and then, when I am for the upteenth time disappointed on my infertility journey I get angry with myself because I should know better, because I’ve been taught better.

    And I by no means was wanting to sound condescending when when I said I thought you optimism was sweet, its just that I think although we’re both infertile, there two distinctly different journeys one goes on, and the 6xKuKd experience has left me being wary of optimism and hope and always expecting the worst.
    Sad hey?

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  2. I normally send emails in response to comments but would like to comment here..

    Shaz, I never thought your comment on MSN was condescending at all and yes I completely agree that we each walk our own infertility journey. I cannot say what I would be like if I had walked in your shoes, but I do think I may not be *as* eternally optimistic as I am now. I do think that the experiences we have in our lives can impact the level of optimism that we feel and how quickly we get out of the dark spots… I think in the case of infertility it speaks to how we each protect and guard our hearts dependant on what we’ve been through… Thanks for your honesty as always! I love you!!!

    Jen – I’ll be hoping for the best too 😉

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  3. It’s a really good topic and a really good question. Maybe it’s also about how strong you are feeling at the time. Especially when it comes to infertility stuff. Sometimes I can deal with everything, and sometimes I can deal with nothing.

    If you look at optimism in general I do think some people are more optimistic than others. But when it comes to infertility I think your whole personality can get turned upside down.

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  4. I think everyone is different based on life experiences but I agree with your positive approach. I feel like there is truly a mind-body connection and that our attitudes affect our physical well being. It wasn’t until I started accepting the notion that if I wasn’t pregnant at that time, there was a good reason, and it made life so much easier when I finally got there.
    *hugs*

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  5. barring very unusual circumstances, i don’t believe in nature so much at all. because, um, i wouldn’t have crwaled out of my gene pool. nor my husband. we both have advanced degrees whereas a lot of our relatives didn’t even make it through high school.
    k was sooooo negative before her met me–and over the last 11 years, i have turned him into a much more postive person.
    though, during my two years praying to G-d, the universe to get p__________, i held out zero hope that it would happen. zero. and clearly, it didn’t effect the outcome. : )

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  6. Very apt topic Sam and very well written. You seem to have achieved your optimism through yourlifes journey and I say well done to you. It can be VERY trying at times not to give in to the over bearing feelings we sometimes get- but somehow you have managed to work through lifes knocks. Thats not to say that it will always be like that. I think you onto a good thing and all I can say keep it up girl. I definitely thing there is a connection between body and mind and our actions. Its just really difficult to get a grasp of them all at the same time when it feels like the universe threw the whole world at you at once.
    Lots of love and positive thoughts.

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  7. Good question. My husband is always the eternal optimist, and I am too, really deep down in there. I like to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. That way, I’m not surprised if things don’t work out.

    But I hope like crazy for the best.

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  8. It’s the classic glass half empty / half full mindset. It’s too easy to get all negative in this world, but that attitude harms not only the person but people around him/her too. Putting a positive spin on things is good on so many levels, and unfortunately difficult to do in this day and age, I think… unless one makes a conscious effort to do so. So for you to have this positive outlook automatically? It’s awesome 🙂 Don’t doubt yourself, k?

    [I’m making my rounds visiting potential cross-pollination sites, btw – hi!]

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  9. God I wish I was so positive. I am such a negative person. I always think the worst. I worry constantly. But, I have seen some pretty crazy things go on in this life and I know that the worst can come and for me usually does.

    So good for you. The world needs more people like you to balance out the people like me. It would be a pretty sad world if we were all negative.

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  10. I think people are inherently a little bit more of one or the other. It’s what makes us who we are. I know I have to guard against over-optimism, because it’s in my nature. I grew up in a home with a very strong polarity, my mom the half empty and my dad the half full/overflowing. I promised myself I never wanted to be at either end of the spectrum, ’cause each has its own challenges. I try therefore to be a half glass person, if it’s half, it’s half, if it’s full it’s full etc. My rationalism can get a little irritating at times…despite these efforts to be rational I still end up being a half full person most of the time…ever confident, but the dual always rages…

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  11. Maritza, I’d have to say you and I are alike in that aspect. I think in most area’s of my life, I’m definitley a “the glass is half full” type of person. Unfortunatley experience with inferility has taught me to be a “the glass is half empty” in that aspect of my life. Not just to avoid over optimism, but also to protect myself against what feels like the inevitable disappointment and hurt. I prefer to call myself cautiously optimistic.

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  12. Hi,

    I am also quite positive, but I think I am more of a realistic person. I, however, also agree that your upbring, personality and occurrances in your life, do influence you!! I think to be a positive person/personality – is great!!

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  13. This post is like the antidote to what I just wrote! It’s been nice to come over here and read it.

    I don’t know if people are inherently born one way or another or if life shapes them to be that way. I did have a friend nickname me “The Hammer of Negativity” in college but in my defense I was in a very bad relationship then. Am much happier now!

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  14. well, psychological research does support the idea that many people simply polarize themselves as either positive or negative in their views of the world. I myself tend to be negative, but I am getting more middle-of-the-spectrum with time. negativity wears one out!

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  15. Hmmmm, that’s a tough one. Growing up, my mom was (and still is) so optimistic that she refused to believe that any bad could happen. It was all I knew and I tried hard to live the same way. It became too much to always feel like I was “pretending” to be okay with everything. No matter what happened, I could find the good. This meant never really having to deal with the bad because it just didn’t exist. Many years of an eating disorder where I shoved all those feelings to the deepest part of my being taught me that it is okay to just be pissed off at the world and to get it all out. It’s not okay to stay in the dark place for too long, but it is necessary for me to go there.

    I like to consider myself a realist now. I still hope for the best, but allow myself to deal with the bad parts before moving on with picking out all the “good” stuff again.

    We all cope with things differently. Totally optimistic didn’t work for me, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing for you. Keep following your heart, Sam. I’ll love ya no matter how you deal with things. (:

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  16. Interesting question! I don’t think we are born that way but our childhood influences certainly fashion who we become. I have been doing alot of reading on the subject lately (by suggestion of my therapist he thinks I stress & worry too much surprise surprise) and I don’t think 90% of parents understand how much a child absorbs in those 1t few years. They are so easily influenced by how the parents act & react, what they say, the environment etc. I know my parents are excessive worry warts and can be very negative. I am however trying very hard to change that & the way I think and react to situations

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  17. Great post Sam! I grew up with one very positive father who believed that God would provide all our needs and heal all our hurts with such strong child like conviction and he believed strongly in the power of positive thinking, and a Mom who was more realistic and as time went by became very negative. So I’ve had both ends of the spectrum. I also try and find something good in every bad situation, but if something really bad happens, like a death or a loss or something, it takes me a while to orientate myself again. I’ve always been the positive one, and that was entirely to my own detriment, I never learned how to deal with major setbacks and found myself struggling really hard to get through them. So at the age of 36 I’m finding myself learning like I’ve never done before.

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