Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Talking myself happy

I am trying something I have always considered a little silly. My nature, in the past, leans toward the destructive side. Always wanting to party, always somehow envying misery even alcoholics. It's sick, I know. But I always thought there was something to the "noble" slide into misery and despair. Now I want to be an optimist or, at least, leaning toward happy.

Now I am trying to move away from that. Not the least of which, I kind of want to live a long and healthy life. I say kind of because I am still holding strong to many, many bad habits. One of which is complete and total cynicism. Cynicism is not realism. Just like optimism is not realism. And as for the old adage, "if you think the worst, at least you will never be disappointed," that is simply not true. When bad things happen, I am disappointed even though I expect the worst. A related trait is that I tend to belittle the good fortune that does come my way. Much like the other old adage, and I am paraphrasing, I wouldn't want to belong to a club that would have me for a member. All of this goes back to, of course, my beginnings. But I don't want to cling to all of this. I am tired of it. For instance, I got rejected or wait-listed by all of the top 20 law schools except for one. I expected that, plus I expected to be rejected from every other school. The top-20 one that I did get accepted into, I wanted to go to that one, even from the beginning. I want to live in that area. The resources for the area of law I am interested in are abundant at that school with numerous big firms that practice those areas. My first response: YAY! My second: Wait a minute, what's wrong with them. And so the cycle goes. I begin to doubt myself. Maybe this is a mistake. I will get a letter any day now telling me it was a mistake.

Anyway, I am now trying to be more accepting of the things that come my way, both good and bad. Good, we have a house that I like with a yard we can garden the heck out of. Bad, we are still trying to figure out where DH is working. Good, I get to go back to My State for field sampling, where I will get to see people I know and like. Bad, I have a lot of lab work to do in the next 75 days. Good, I am eating better because we can't afford to eat out any more. Bad, we can't afford to eat out any more. Good, we found homes for the kittens of a stray we picked up that was pregnant. Bad, I have to give my beautiful little guys away. And on it goes.

So the new thing that has taken me forever to write about is this talking yourself happy. I feel angry, I try to talk myself through it. First, it's okay to be angry. Second, breathe through it. Third, think happy thoughts, which could include beaches, hiking, skiing, etc. Fourth, really talk to myself about being happy. Repeat until the anger fades. I can't tell if it's working. Ask the telemarketer that argued with me about removing me from the call list.

1 comment:

Luke Gilman said...

It's great that you're thinking about this now. Law school is fraught with these kinds of double-edged swords. The environment can be so neurotic, the students so worried about jobs, clerkships, and doing better than everyone else, that even the most successful students can find ways to perceive themselves as failures.

It's easy to fall into the habit of hating on law school and you'll likely find it's a favorite pastime of a significant portion of your class. Resist the temptation. It really can be fun if you let it.