Can You be an Optimistic Realist?

Written by Susan Dunn, MA, Life & EQ Coach

Continued from page 1

If you’re plagued byrepparttar suffering of terrorism and tsunamis, for instance, set aside a time to figure out what YOU can do about them. You will quickly realizerepparttar 126073 dilemma of world leaders who actually have to do this on a grand scale; but you will also find small things you can do in your own world to address these ills. Call your local Red Cross. They’ve been waiting for your call. IN THE MEANTIME, keep your own life going in a positive direction, with optimism. If you’re determined that you can’t be happy until allrepparttar 126074 ills ofrepparttar 126075 world have been addressed, you’ll be a long time waiting. You will also fail to address what you can address, because of lamenting over larger things which basically are beyond your control.

If you want to turn around your attitude, turn your face in another direction. To focus on what’s right about things doesn’t mean you don’t KNOW what things are wrong, or how wrong they are. It means you’re making a choice about your own portion ofrepparttar 126076 world, your responsibility in it, and your outlook.

Does it help “the world” if you go on a tirade first thing inrepparttar 126077 morning and dump all your frustration on your spouse? Of course not. Remember you and your spouse are also a part of “the world.”

From an objective position,repparttar 126078 young man mentioned above has a good job, a nice home, plenty of food, clothing and necessities, and a lovely wife who was cheerful, lovely, and dressed to go to her job forrepparttar 126079 day. That’s a scene halfrepparttar 126080 people in this will never have.

Optimism means, inrepparttar 126081 words of Faulkner, not “slayingrepparttar 126082 real forrepparttar 126083 unreal.” The moment this young man had was real, and it was good. Then he got into his own head and dragged up allrepparttar 126084 reasons he could think of to be unhappy; reasons which exist and are available to all of us, but so isrepparttar 126085 contentment ofrepparttar 126086 immediate reality.

It’s almost like he takes pride in being able to figure out there are ills inrepparttar 126087 world, as if he were only one who knew this and were concerned about it.

For an example of what your self-talk does to you, consider this scenario. Let’s say Fred is feeling low. He thinks his life is impossible; it containsrepparttar 126088 usual array of hard work, too much stress, arguments with his wife and kids, a puppy that won’t get house-broken, and a home plumbing system that keeps backing up.

However, his job, wife and kids are all within “the normal range.” He walks outside and has a chat with his neighbor. The neighbor has a 23 year old son who is schizophrenic and lives with him and his wife. They are retired, living on a limited income, and suffering health problems. Most of us would say, “There but forrepparttar 126089 grace of God go I,” and go back inside with a prayer forrepparttar 126090 neighbor, but a sense of gratitude for our own set of problems, which is much smaller and somehow seems, now, more manageable.

Fred,repparttar 126091 pessimist, however, goes back inside feeling lower than ever, having decided that ifrepparttar 126092 world is that awful, why try at all.

Pessimism has its roots in our beliefs, which feed into our expectations. If a perfect world is one of your beliefs, orrepparttar 126093 feeling that you can’t be happy until you live in a perfect world, why not take it out and have another look. Write down your core beliefs and then go over them with optimism and pessimism in mind.

Now, in Spanish there are two “to be” verbs. One, ser, means a permanent state, such as, I am a woman. Soy mujer. The other is for temporary states, such as, I am furious. Estoy enojada. English doesn’t make this distinction by means of different verbs, but I will close this using “be” inrepparttar 126094 ‘state’ sense, not ‘trait’ sense: You can be pessimistic [trait] and still survive. We all know people who are and do. But it may be necessary to be optimistic [state] if you want to thrive.

Learn about optimism and have it available. Be able to change your self-talk and attitude. This flexibility will develop your emotional intelligence, and inrepparttar 126095 long run,repparttar 126096 happiness you save may be your own.

©Susan Dunn, MA, Life & EQ Coach, . Offering coaching, Internet courses and ebooks for your personal and professional development. I train and certify EQ coaches. for FREE ezine.


Written by Pauline Wallin, Ph.D.

Continued from page 1

Research has shown that people who make a habit of such comparisons are generally less happy than are those who base their success on their own internal standards.

Here’s why:

When you compare yourself to people who have more than you, your inner brat gets into gear. Just like little Johnny andrepparttar chocolate cake described above, your inner brat dwells on what's missing, which makes you feel victimized. You'll never be satisfied, no matter how much you have, as long as someone else has more.

This isrepparttar 126072 same mentality that fuelsrepparttar 126073 huge salary demands by top athletes, actors and CEOs: "I'm making $20 million, but that's not enough becauserepparttar 126074 other guy's getting $30 million."

If comparing yourself to people who have more than you makes you feel worse, should you instead concentrate on comparing yourself to those who have less or accomplished less? Actually, no. While it might be comforting forrepparttar 126075 moment, it could backfire inrepparttar 126076 long run.

You could end up feeling even less secure, worrying that you’ll lose what you have. Or you might feel guilty for having more than others, such that you subconsciously sabotage your future success.

It’s best not to compare yourself to anyone. Other people’s achievements don’t diminish your own, and their misfortunes do not improve your lot.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn't compete, nor that you shouldn't strive to improve. However, do it forrepparttar 126077 right reasons -- not because your inner brat is whining, but rather to develop and grow. That way, you’ll enjoy your accomplishments so much more.

Pauline Wallin, Ph.D. is a psychologist in Camp Hill, PA, and author of "Taming Your Inner Brat: A Guide for Transforming Self-defeating Behavior" (Wildcat Canyon Press, 2004) She is also a life coach.

Visit for more information, and subscribe to her free, monthly Inner Brat Newsletter.

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