How Pessimists Count Their Blessings
Thanks to my husband for this one.
I remember exactly the context in which we first heard the term “internally decapitated,” but out of respect, I will leave that out of this discussion. I don’t mean to be flip.
But wouldn’t you agree that internal decapitation sounds like a huge, gigantic, monumental bummer? I mean—you’re alive, yes. And that’s good. Your story isn’t over, as it would be with external decapitation.
Makes a regular crappy day sound like happyfacerainbowsallthetime, don’t it?
My husband and I fall on the pessimist side of the continuum. I suspect optimism and pessimism are part of one’s essential nature and not changeable, or at least not easily. And besides, no matter what scolds say about the benefits of optimism, it takes all kinds to make the world turn. Pessimism has its place. We need optimists to imagine the possibilities and pessimists to prepare for everything that could go wrong. Optimists need us pessimists to keep from floating in their happy bubbles over the rainbow, wheeeeee.
But while optimists might be able to climb out of a funk by counting their blessings, that doesn’t work for me. I can’t repress the “so what?” of pessimism. Appalling, I know. But there you have it. I can think of a million good things and still not manage to distract myself from whatever is eating me.
My version of counting my blessings is reminding myself how much worse things could be. And I can’t think of much worse than internal decapitation. So yeah, I might have failed at a job, broken my favorite mug, got in a fender-bender, sprouted a zit, offended a friend, and stubbed my toe, but at least I’m not internally decapitated.
So all in all, it’s been a good day.
P.S. Somewhat related–If you haven’t heard it yet, I highly recommended springing a few bucks for this recording of comic Tig Notaro doing an incredibly brave, insightful, and, yes, very funny show shortly after being diagnosed with cancer and losing her mother.
Wheelchair photo is available from Shutterstock.
Dembling, S. (2012). How Pessimists Count Their Blessings. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 9, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/quotes/2012/10/how-pessimists-count-their-blessings/