Optimism Schmoptimism

For someone who is naturally inclined (either by nurture or nature) to see the glass as half empty, it can be an ongoing struggle to re-frame your position to view the glass as half full.

When you catch yourself experiencing a moment of “pervasive unsatisfactoriness” (Buddhist’s call it “dukkha” – Mark Epstein, M.D. explains this in more detail in his book, Open to Desire), pay attention to how you are phrasing your disappointment.
The statement “My life is shitty” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you say it – or even think it – then, yes, your life is shitty. This is not to say that you should try to block out the fact that you feel your life is shitty. Feelings are valid. You probably have plenty of reasons to think your life is shitty. Instead of re-enforcing the Shit Aspect of your life, try to re-phrase your statements in a more positive light:

“This tofu dish tastes less shitty than I expected it to.”
“My self-cut hair looks less like shit than that person who spent $50 at a salon.”
“Today the world has shit on me less than yesterday.”

I know, I know…I got a long way to go before I can call myself a Buddhist.

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