shirtlifterbear: (Default)
[personal profile] shirtlifterbear
I know that the world is a big bad nasty place with the TSA and paper cuts and North Korean nuclear centrifuges in it. I also know that choosing to look on the bright side is an intellectual choice that is not popular in certain circles, and is even disparaged and mocked by some if not all in the world.

But I just had a class today on the spiritual dimension of health and as the lovely snow fell outside the window, I realized an interesting set of things that the discussion about our lecture on grief, acceptance and forgiveness helped me become aware of:

1) The two angriest, nastiest-toned students, the ones who constantly challenge the teachers and ask questions they already know the answers to (as a test of the instructor, I guess?), those charming individuals?

They both argued against forgiveness. One said that "forgiveness is selfish."

My response was immediate and I blurted out: "Forgiveness is selfless."

She did not agree.

The other guy, who is, I'm sad to say, an Evil Queen Giving Us A Bad Name, said that "no one can truly forgive, they can only choose to ignore how they were wronged." *gasp* That? IS AWFUL!

I was filled with sadness for them both. Not from a superior position of pity, honestly, but a sadness about how their lives must be, day-to-day, with that mindset.

2) My mother is a Pollyanna. Of cosmic proportions. For the love of little green apples, her name is Glenda! We've called her the Good Witch for DECADES. (Yes, the Baum books spell it Glinda, and "Wicked" spells it Galinda, but I choose my own reality. BE TOLD!)

And that optimism rubbed off on me, big time.

Optimists think things are going to work out well, and in a self-reinforcing way only notice the instances when that belief is supported by events. Which makes them more optimistic because they were "proved" right. I refer to it as a Virtuous Circle.

Pessimists do the exact same thing, same reinforcement and all, but they focus on the instances that prove that things don't work out. Which makes them more pessimistic because they were "proved" right.I refer to it as a Vicious Circle.

Sure, that's a pejorative way to label the two mindsets. Um, so what? The term Pollyanna has come to have a negative connotation, and I reject that interpretation outright and am reclaiming the term Pollyanna for good. Why? Because I choose my own reality.

3) Mean people suck.

They just do.

I don't know if it's that they're lashing out, or that like Lucia in "The Opposite of Sex" they "have a death wish. I just direct it at others."

For whatever reason, malicious intent or no, they are Debbie Downers. Or worse.

I DO NOT WANT THEM IN MY LIFE.

My Livejournal is a ray of sunshine, dammit. I choose it to be. Sure I have some down times, and I've talked about them here, but by and large, and by a great margin, my posts are upbeat and happy-making.

Happy-making.

That is just about my favorite phrase in the world.

"That movie, 'Julie and Julia,' was so happy-making!"

"I just reread 'A Night In The Lonesome October' and it's so happy-making!"

"'To Say Nothing of the Dog...' is SUCH a happy-making book for me I can't stop rereading it!"

"[livejournal.com profile] tbass teases me in such a happy-making way!"

"My mom just called to tell me that it's snowing and she's watching it drift down from her recliner with a good book and it's happy-making!"

HAPPY.

MAKING.

HAPPY-MAKING.

Say it loud, say it proud:

I choose to be happy-making!

BE TOLD!
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Date: 2010-11-22 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pretzelcoatl.livejournal.com
Forgiveness never seemed like such a hard concept for me. (Disclaimer: I'm just talking about me here.) I can forgive someone yet still not want to maintain contact with them whatsoever. In fact, that's how I view the hardest kind of forgiveness to work -- acknowledging that you have to let something go that someone did to hurt you, and distance yourself, thus making things easier on yourself (and possibly the other person). So I guess in a sense that it's selfish, but it's less selfish than me constantly feeling angry at someone who isn't worth my time. And I think it's selfless because that prevents me from having the same grudge against people who haven't done anything wrong.

But then again, I can also understand why people don't forgive.

[/dumb comment]

Date: 2010-11-22 11:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
Sometimes, forgiveness is about forgiving yourself for being really mad at the person.

Y'know?

Carrying all that anger around is poisonous!

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Date: 2010-11-22 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genxcub.livejournal.com
"Optimists think things are going to work out well, and in a self-reinforcing way only notice the instances when that belief is supported by events. Which makes them more optimistic because they were "proved" right. I refer to it as a Virtuous Circle."

This made me think of a video I saw about prayer. Being non-religious, of course I think the actual definition of prayer is absolute bunk (you ask for something and it is given to you... no exceptions).

However, the studies on prayer I find to be incredibly interesting. People who pray for things very often want them so much, they can make them "come true" because they're actually working to do it. So it's not that it's a prayer being answered, it's a mindset. Optimism is probably the better word for it.

I'd never call myself an optimist in a million years, but I don't think I'm a pessimist at all, btw.

Date: 2010-11-22 11:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
What is that joke?

"God, why don't you let me win the lottery?"

A voice booms out "Meet me halfway, buy a damn ticket."

I do think you're right about the people who look forward to things being much more likely to DO something to make those good things happen!

Because Eyeore?

Did it largely to himself.

Speaking of doing it, I'm optimistic about YOU!

*wink*

Date: 2010-11-22 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] furrbear.livejournal.com
I recall reading that we each make our own Karma.

Date: 2010-11-22 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
We create our own future!

One action at a time.

Stir in a little random chance.

Bake for 70 or so years, and voila:

Cake!

Date: 2010-11-22 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fearless-son.livejournal.com
I think that Heinlein had a good quote about this:
"Don't ever become a pessimist, Ira; a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events."

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Date: 2010-11-22 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blot.livejournal.com
if optimism is when you expect it to go right, and pessimism is when you expect that it won't go right.... I must say I have found the most forgiving people among the pessimistic crowd.

i am not sure those people were "pessimistic" I think they were just angry.

I suppose optimism and pessimism is when you make a prediction for the future? bwah whatever.

Date: 2010-11-22 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
Perhaps the two approaches are about how you interpret events, rather than expectation.

And the positive or negative interpretation is what influences thoughts of the future?

Date: 2010-11-22 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bitterlawngnome.livejournal.com
Pollyanna and pessimist are equally unrealistic, IMO. Mostly "the universe" doesn't care one way or the other, so you might as well make of it what you will...

Date: 2010-11-22 11:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
I think that "making of it what I will" suits me just fine!

The actual mileage may vary, but I will enjoy the trip!

[[nods]]

Date: 2010-11-22 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] huxbear.livejournal.com
Sing it, brother! [[waves hands in the air]]

I'm nothing if not a pragmatic realist when it comes to human nature but I'm also a deep believer in *intention* and the power of one's *outlook* to affect your behaviour and thereby (in a macro way) your reality.

People who *insist* on "the worst case scenario" are sh*t-scared, honestly. They're universally *terrified* that something even WORSE will happen if they're not "prepared" for the worst thing they can *imagine* and -- honestly? -- I've NEVER met a happy, contented or *satisfied* one of 'em.

I've met LOTS of happy, contented, salt-of-the-earth, caring & generous pollyannaists... ;o)

I've often said "My hopeful frame of mind might jusbe *be* wrong, but at least I'm *happy* on my way there..." ;o)

Re: [[nods]]

Date: 2010-11-22 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
And I might add that Pollyannas?

Are much more FUN to be around!

"Hey let's go to Agate Beach, we might find some pretty ones!" is a lot more fun than "Why bother? We'll never find any!"

I think that makes me Pooh, and not Eyeore, and I'm ok with that.

Re: [[nods]]

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Date: 2010-11-22 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quetz.livejournal.com
which remindeth me: I read "A Night in the Lonesome October" to K each night this October as a bedtime story, and it was indeed happy-making.

Also, I am sitting here looking out the window at snow flurries, and that is happy-making. I think it is time for a cuppa tea.

Date: 2010-11-22 11:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
And your comment?

Is happy-making!

*grin*

Date: 2010-11-22 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eric-mathgeek.livejournal.com
My Livejournal is a ray of sunshine, dammit

It truly, truly is. And you are amazing for it.

(BTW, in Wicked, it starts out Galinda but then she decides to drop the a and make it just Glinda.)

Date: 2010-11-22 11:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
I do me level best, guvnor!

*hat tip and grin*

I just wanted to forestall everyone telling me that my mother spells it wrong. She does not, for it is her name.

And Galinda is still the funniest thing from Wicked: "You can call me, Galinda!"

Date: 2010-11-22 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] big-bloo-ogre.livejournal.com
Out of all the things life (and politics) teaches us, it's that "Some people in the world are not happy, will never be happy, and want to make sure that NO ONE ELSE can be happy if they can't." Some people just get off on crushing other people, it's a form of sadism. They have this bizarre thought process that tells them that "the only way they'll be happy is if they're above other people, and to do that is to tell *everyone* else that they're wrong wrong WRONG." These are the disgusting people who ONLY smile when they see other people's sadness, and they need to FEGCH OFF. Go wallow in your OWN shitpile and stop FLINGIN' it at other people like some adolescent monkey!

Date: 2010-11-22 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
And it kills me when they're all "I'm only telling you this for your own good!"

No, they aren't!

They're only telling you this because it gets them off!

Feck the fecking lot of 'em, we say!

Slainte!

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Date: 2010-11-22 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eric-mathgeek.livejournal.com
Oh, and the guy who said "no one can forgive..." -- clearly he meant that *he* cannot forgive...

You're right, it's sad. I thought about saying more, but I'll just go with happy-making and leave it there. :)

Date: 2010-11-22 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
Yeah, he had told me outside class one time that he hated the program, and hated the teachers.

All I could stammer out was "Then why are you here?" and back away slowly.

Yay happy-making!

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Date: 2010-11-22 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sugarcollider.livejournal.com
It's having people like you in my life that has helped me in my long recovery from Negative Nancyism. :)

Date: 2010-11-22 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
Every time I see you use the Richard Simmons icon, I think:

"Now THAT is one optimistic guy!"

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Date: 2010-11-23 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lostncove.livejournal.com
That's so lame.

KIDDING

Date: 2010-11-23 12:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
We old farts are expected to be cranky.

Some of us are simply better at it than others!

*wink*

Date: 2010-11-23 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
Great, now I'm whistling the damn tune!

*grin*

It is the perfect song for this post!

Date: 2010-11-23 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gldngrrl.livejournal.com
THIS is why I love you :D

Date: 2010-11-23 04:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
That and my fabulous taste in men!

*wink*

Date: 2010-11-23 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celluloid-jam.livejournal.com
I love this!

Date: 2010-11-23 04:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
Yay!

I just couldn't hack any more Debbie Downerism!

Bah to that, bah I say!

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Date: 2010-11-23 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] westwind-mv.livejournal.com
Some folks say the glass is half-empty.

Some say it's half-full.

Me? I say "ooh, we could add some sparkling water to that and make it a spritzer!"

;-)

Date: 2010-11-23 03:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] badrobot68.livejournal.com
If my glass is half empty, I add vodka! That's the key to my happiness.

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Date: 2010-11-23 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nicolemarieh.livejournal.com
ilu so hard right now! :)

Date: 2010-11-23 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
*smooches*

I love you right back!

Date: 2010-11-23 03:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fingertrouble.livejournal.com
Scary - especially as I'm guessing they might end up around dying people - where forgiveness is important and possible cos all the important crap just falls away...if they impede that I hope karma gives em a big bitchslap.

'
Optimists think things are going to work out well, and in a self-reinforcing way only notice the instances when that belief is supported by events. Which makes them more optimistic because they were "proved" right. I refer to it as a Virtuous Circle.

Pessimists do the exact same thing, same reinforcement and all, but they focus on the instances that prove that things don't work out. Which makes them more pessimistic because they were "proved" right.I refer to it as a Vicious Circle.'

Hmm very big wide generalisations there. Sometimes some of us just see the glass half-way y'know? Realists...

I never trusted the happy-happy crowd I have to say...usually selling something.

Date: 2010-11-23 04:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
I'm only responsible for my own happiness, and am not selling a damn thing!

And as I keep saying, it works for me, buy your actual mileage may vary!

Date: 2010-11-23 03:05 am (UTC)
ext_646489: (Default)
From: [identity profile] goodolmike.livejournal.com
I couldn't agree more. I have down moments, but I choose to embrace the good stuff in my life. It has certainly worked well for me!

Date: 2010-11-23 04:20 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-11-23 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] badrobot68.livejournal.com
I love that you referenced Lucia in The Opposite of Sex.

Date: 2010-11-23 04:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
Of course I did!

LOVE HER!

Date: 2010-11-23 05:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tzaddi-93.livejournal.com
Forgiveness is an act of compassion. I have always found that people who cannot forgive others first cannot forgive themselves. It's sort of like a mash-up of low self-esteem and narcissism: "I'm not worthy of forgiveness, which makes me miserable, but it's all about me, so you have to be miserable too."

Date: 2010-11-23 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
Yes, that's the exact mash-up of Miserable Human Being!

"Here are my neuroses, let me drown you in them!"

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Date: 2010-11-23 06:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fogbear.livejournal.com
I don't understand how anyone can believe that forgiveness is anything but selfless. If you never forgive, then you end up alone.

I'm of the "hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and everything will be fine" school.

Date: 2010-11-23 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
I believe in wearing suspenders and a belt, and am thrilled when I don't have to use them both!

I hope that metaphor made sense!?!?


Date: 2010-11-23 02:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kev-bot.livejournal.com
Everything about you is happy-making. You are one of my best and brightest beacons of yay. I am so glad you're in my life, and to have someone else who gets that optimism, not cynicism, is the better choice.

Date: 2010-11-23 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
We are the Hey Yey Boys!

YEY!

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Date: 2010-11-23 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cattycritic.livejournal.com

I just read a quote this morning that said, "pessimists complain about the wind, optimists hope it will change, and realists adjust the sails." I'd like to think it's not that trinary. I like to adjust the sails, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

[livejournal.com profile] notlostonme had a discussion about things similar to this topic - if you dwell on the hurt people have caused you, you're letting them keep hurting you, and they win. Whereas, if you take what they did and learn from it, use them as a negative example, improve your compassion, and maybe even completely deconstruct the deed by making something positive of it, basically you and everyone else wins, and their efforts to harm you fail at least partly. Some people start charitable organizations in response to their traumatic events, for example.

Harold Kushner said in a lecture I saw, that forgiveness isn't saying what they did to you is okay, it's refusing to let them and what they did rent space in your head for the rest of your life.

Date: 2010-11-23 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirtlifterbear.livejournal.com
There's a line in the "Under the Tuscan Sun" movie that sums it up for me:

"You know when you come across one of those empty shell people, and you think "What the hell happened to you?" Well there came a time in each one of those lives where they are standing at a crossroads... someplace where they had to decide whether to turn left or right. This is no time to be a chicken-shit."

I think the people who don't "get" forgiveness? Who don't get over it? Who don't choose to let shit go?

Empty shell people.

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