Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Facts Versus the Stories We Tell Ourselves

optimism and facts

Recently, while researching something for work - freelance or full time, who knows anymore - I came across an article about optimism. The basic premise of the piece was that most of us take the facts of our lives and spin a story around those facts, and it's the spin that determines whether we're optimists, pessimists, or something in between. One of the keys to optimistic thinking, according to the author, involves looking at the facts without emotion and then making a concerted effort to spin the most positive story possible.

Sounds good, in theory

Admittedly, sometimes the most positive story one can spin is pretty weak. Like when I miscarried the twins, the single thread of positivity we held on to was that my no longer being pregnant meant we could attend a family reunion, the likes of which probably won't ever happen again, in Germany. Had I stayed pregnant, would have either been due to deliver right around then or caring for newborns or coping with preemies born months earlier. 

So what's going on right now? The BabbyDaddy, as it turns out, most likely needs something in the neighborhood of thousands of dollars of dental work. Dental work, I should add, that was already done, badly, by his old dentist and needs to be redone. Uncool. Yes, we have dental insurance. No, it's not that great. I feel like dental insurance involves paying more than you need for just a cleaning when you have good teeth and paying out of pocket (when all is said and done) when you have teeth that need maintenance. 

Right now, it's just so easy to spin some really depressing stories about it all. 

I'm supposed to be working to save money so I can get off the crazy train and back into babyville, but every since going back to work things keep popping up. The furnace. Vet visits. Teeth. The promise of a $500 bill from tufts from a miscarriage that I had months ago. And on and on. I suppose I should be grateful that I am working steadily versus working in dribs and drabs, since it's just demoralizing, not disastrous.

As to the optimistic fiction I've been spinning around all these facts, it's simply this: I've never been more motivated to keep it together in my entire life than I am right now.


  1. Cute blog! Love the flowers! Sorry to hear about your miscarriage. I love your baby wearing photos!! :-)

  2. p.s I am from:

  3. I saw you on SITS - and as I read your post, I kept thinking that not only do you have to deal with all the bad stuff right now, but it hasn't stopped raining in forever...which always seems to make things worse, doesn't it? Sending a hug.

  4. Aw, thanks so much for your note, Lynn! I'm thinking maybe if it was sunny, things would feel just the tiniest bit not dark. Here's hoping for sunny days ahead, literally and figuratively!

  5. I'm sending a HUUUGE hug your way. I know what it feels like when everything seems like it's all coming crashing down at the same time. Trying to be positive sucks when you have all these negative things going on. I think that you put a great positive spin on it, though. I don't know if I could've done that!

    From SITS

  6. I know exactly what you mean. It takes all the fibers of my being to spin positive, although I know it's all an act. The alternative would just plunge me deeper into the dark hole...kwim? I think you do an awesome job of staying upbeat and positive with all that you have been through and continue to go through. No one would blame you for having a bad attitude, but opting to see the pluses versus the minuses takes strength and courage.

  7. @Trianna Thanks for the encouragement! Means a lot, even through these virtual channels. I've been lucky in that I've had so many people around propping me up with positivity.

    @Teresha I definitely feel you on that dark hole! Sometimes I'm standing right at the edge - drives the BabbyDaddy, Dr. Positivity himself, nuts! Thanks for all of the kind words and encouragement you've given me in the last few months - it has meant a lot!

  8. Love this post because it is so true.
    Earlier in the year I discovered that the Director of the non-profit that I am working for has been stealing. I reported him, and earned myself the lable of 'whistle blower / traitor.
    You can imagine the positive I spinned for myself, but the reality is that he turned out to be really powerful. In short he tried to dismiss me, and I had to hire a lawyer to help me to prepare my case in proving his guilt and to keep my job.
    Lawyers are expensive. Fact. Positive story that I am telling myself? Yeah,..

    I do hope that your positive stories turn to reality so that you get back into babyville!

  9. Really enjoyed reading this post. I think about how crazy my life is sometimes....just constantly on the run with the kids activities, work and our side business but then today I was driving down the street and I saw this older women in her 70's to 80's nicely dressed with a cardboard sign saying need help. Have Cancer and need money for meds. I looked a bit further and in a chair was her husband, also nicely dressed with a mask on and an oxygen tank with the sam sign. It really put things in perspective for me. My life is great!!! I am happy, healthy, have 4 wonderful and healthy kids, a husband a job and am inspired daily by my job and the people who wear our hospital gowns. Here is an older couple who probably have a lot of love for each other and are forced to stand on a sidewalk because they can't afford drugs to treat cancer. Hard to swallow!!

    Thanks for the comment on our Annie & Isabel blog too:-)


  10. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Just came by from SITS. I agree that it is difficult to stay positive though I doing believe that negative thinking can be a downward spiral. Something about the hormone change.... When things get tough I go back to thinking one day at a time!

  11. I am in that same boat right now! "Keep going. You can't give up." Is my "optimistic spin."

  12. @Shelly All right, then, we'll both keep going! :)


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