Sunday, February 22, 2009

Giving Up Before You Begin?

Garfield Minus Garfield

Poor Jon. He seems destined to remain a shlub for the rest of his life. From the looks of things, he's long since settled into his role.

That reminds me of another role. I attended a High School play recently and the lead actress seemed to mope about the stage at odds with her supposedly chipper, upbeat character. She rarely looked up at the audience, and smiled only once — at the closing scene. It made me wonder if she was smiling out of relief that the play was finally over.

I asked my daughter about the actress later. I wondered if she had a bad case of nerves. Although my daughter acknowledged that was the case, she also made an interesting comment. Apparently, this young actress was so worried about the poor state of preparation of the play she went on stage in low spirits practically guaranteeing failure. Fortunately for the play she was not the only actor onstage.

Not to pick on the poor girl, but isn't that just like life? How many people do you know, perhaps even yourself, where the outcome was predetermined before even beginning? Then the task was undertaken with no faith, no determination, and no resolve to succeed. Instead, the task was endured as a burden — a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.

Depressives are particularly prone to this type of thinking. They're already halfway there with the oppressive feelings of heavy sadness. It doesn't take much to push us into the world of bleak pessimism. Honestly, if we think we've got it bad now, imagine how bad it will be if we give up? What I have learned through years of hard experience, however, is that just because I am depressed doesn't mean I have to be miserable.

In fact, I learned that I closed doors of opportunity simply by nature of being pessimistic. I wasn't expecting anything good to happen to me, so I was never looking out for it. I did manage to find plenty to justify my self-pity, however. To a degree, this is that highly touted law of attraction, though I believe it is more a case of tuning one's radio to the wrong stations as opposed to the nebulous Universe waiting to grant your wishes.

Instead of experiencing self-fulfilling prophesies of doom, let us all work harder on liking ourselves and pushing to make the best of any situation. That's why I work so hard to change my thinking. I know that if I can change my thinking, I can change my life. Depression loses much of its power over me then.

And that actress? Well, the second night came around and I hear she put on a fantastic show. Her nerves got the better of her the first time around, but she was better prepared for the second. There's a lesson to be learned in that.

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