Tuesday, June 20, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0209 - Optimism and Feeling Down


Is it OK if I feel sorry for myself once in a while?

This morning, I got up early to drive my son to work for 6:00 am (he really doesn't like going to work so early) and quickly realized that my sleep had been so disruptive that I already felt exhausted. My bottom was sore from all the bowel movements in the middle of the night and I was moving about like I was a centenarian.

My wife asked how I was feeling. At the time, I was thinking about the gratitude project, realizing I had forgotton to make the diary entry for the day before. I admitted I was feeling down, but then challenged myself saying, "I really have so much to be thankful for." But as I did so, I felt tears of self-pity rolling down my cheeks.

Those moments don't occur as much these days, but I'd be a liar if I didn't admit that sometimes I am just tired of being tired and sick of being sick. As it is, today hasn't been half bad. I got a good start on handling the 1800 corporate email messages waiting for me (I have approval now to put in a few hours of telecommuting for work). I was able to respond to a few of those messages and begin thinking about corporate IT priorities again.

Today I also completed the optimism test at the http://www.authentichappiness.org site. The results were interesting.

Optimistic people tend to think good events will be permanent. In that area, I'm average. Optimistic people also tend to believe bad events are not permanent, but temporary. In that area, I am very optimistic. Optimistic people believe good events are pervasive throughout all areas in their lives. On that scale, I am moderately pessimistic. Optimistic people believe bad events are not pervasive throughout other areas in their lives. On that scale, I am moderately optimistic. And finally, optimistic people are hopeful in general. Here I am clearly average.

I don't know whether those results make me an optimist or a pessimist, but it is probably not as important to answer that question as it is to realize how I think about permanence and pervasiveness.

Perhaps taking the test answers my question above. Yes, it is OK to feel sorry for myself occasionally. Hey, it's going to happen whether I want it to or not! But I already know that those feelings won't last. On the other hand, my realism (I prefer calling it that rather than pessimism) about the permanence of good events is very useful for me as an IT manager, as a father of teenage boys, as a software application developer - this may be a very useful feature of my personality. We'll see.

So today I have felt both sorry for myself and pleased with myself. Not a bad day, I guess.

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1 comment:

Katie Delahaye Paine said...

I think both gratitude and optimism are part of the "gifts" of the cancer experience. As a breast cancer survivor I know that my attitude towards so many things changed, for the better. I also empathize with the need to blog. Even two years later I was still feeling the need to process feelings so I started http://kdpaine.blogs.com/survivorblog to deal with all those emotions.