Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Perception: Optimism? Pessimism? Realism? No. Hope!

Do you ever get the feeling that somebody is watching you? That they're analyzing your every move, your every smile, your every thought?
That they memorize where you live, and where you walk, and what you do?
That they think about you and what they're going to do with you the next time they cross paths with you?
Does it frighten you?
Does the thought that all those feelings culminate in a real person make your spine tingle?
Because it's all true.
Because I'm the one that's watching.

Ok. So you've got to be a little creeped out at least. And, I apologize, but it was all intentional. Today I want to talk about perception, optimism vs. pessimism, and where realism fits into the picture.
Now, all I said above was true. I people watch. I record the way they act and live out their lives. In conversations I analyze the person I'm talking with. I am beginning to hone the skill of memorizing routes to people's work and place of residence. I constantly think about what nice thing I can do with and to them the next time we meet.
But it's not at all sinister or meant to unnerve you. I do it because I'm wired that way, and because I, as your friend, want to make life better for you - hence, I pay attention. Now, granted. I am terrible with dates. And names. And numbers in general. But when I drive to someone's house, I associate the route with pictures, as well as just visualizing the path in map form. If a friend lives off of river road, I think of the road itself as a river, not a "road". I do that "female" thing where I can direct you to a location by the number of Wallgreens you have to pass, and the right turn you need to make just before the Starbucks near the World Market. Direction by Location, I call it. Or, I've also heard it called Location Derived Directions. Pretty cool huh?
Anyway. Back on topic (Btw....tangents are one of my weaknesses. I am drawn to them. Like the time....see?)
You were meant to percieve the statement "That they memorize where you live, and where you walk, and what you do?" in a negative way, drawing the worst conclusions. While, at the same time perceiving the statement "But when I drive to someone's house, I associate the route with pictures, as well as just visualizing the path in map form." in a benign way.
It's partly the way I wrote them. It's also partly your own perception.
See, we all have a tendancy to see things the way we want to see them. If we want a movie to be good, it will seem better to us than, say, the person sitting next to us who had no expectations at all. If we go into a restaurant "knowing" that their cashew chicken will taste bad, we, more often than not, will find it distasteful, and from then on associate bad memories with that establishment. It's all in what we choose.
Another way of thinking about this is "Mind over Matter". Doctors use it to try and help patients get better quicker, or to survive a life threatening injury or disease. If the person gives up mentally, their body will start to follow suite. If the person believes they will get better, or that the medicine will work, or that they are needed elsewhere and thus must get better no matter what, they will recover faster and respond much better to treatment.
"Ok" you might say "So being positive or negative about a situation will change it for you. What about reality. What about recognizing and admitting when there's no way out, when there's no cure, when there is no possible reason to support something?"
Do your realize what you're doing? You are taking a negative view of reality.
When you say "Admitting when there's no way out", you could instead say "Hoping and striving, against all odds, they surivived far longer than anyone thought possible."
When you are told "There's no cure", you can decide to "make the most of the time you have left, and live your last days of life to their fullest"
When you are advised against supporting something due to risk factors or a high probability of little to no return on your investment, you can then weigh whether the investment is in or for a friend and their project, whether the act itself is more important that the losses you will sustain, or whether it's the right thing to do morally but the wrong thing to do financially and act accordingly.
Life is, in and of itself, a series of choices. You can be realist about those choices, yes. But you also, in that realm of realism, choose a negative or a positive outlook and take on the situation.
The Bible is full of passages that tell you to hope, even against all odds, even in bad situations, to hope no matter what, and for always.

Psalm 71:14
"But I will hope continually
   and will praise you yet more and more."

  - Never cease hoping

Psalm 131:3:
"O Israel, hope in the LORD
   from this time forth and forevermore."

- Hope, no matter what

Isaiah 57:10:
"You were wearied with the length of your way,
    but you did not say, "It is hopeless";
you found new life for your strength,
   and so you were not faint."
 - When things look bleak, or you are tired because of your journey, do not lose hope. Hope will give you strength.

Psalm 9:18:
"For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
   and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever."

 - While another's hope may not have been fulfilled, the Lord promises that that will not always be the case. So continue to hope, for in the future, God will act on your behalf.

And while there are many more verses on the subject, the last one here is my favorite, and one all the pessimists and realists should learn from:
Job 14:7:
"For there is hope for a tree,
   if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
   and that its shoots will not cease."

 - Reality = The Tree is gone. Pessimism = Death has come. Hope = Death has come, and the tree is gone, but what it leaves behind will be it's legacy - that will sprout again, bringing new life where death once reigned."

Doesn't that sound like a much better way to walk through life? To be able to call yourself a realist, but also an optimist, hoping and praying for the best that that situation could offer? Many "trees" have fallen in each of our lives, but new life can spring up from their remains. Do not lose hope when life tries to steal it away.
Think about those addages: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." or "When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Then, you can see the sky, and be able to get back up."

I will finish with this. The actress Drew Barrymore said "When life knocks you down to your knees, well, isn't that the best position to pray?"
I know that I try my best in my physical condition to see all the possibilities that God has for me, and the ways he can use both my illnesses and me to positively impact my world. 
I hope that you all can find hope in sitatuions, and make the best of what life sends your way.
Because life has knocked me onto my knees, often in pain, often in trials, often in temptations. But I choose to pray that God will use us all for His glory.

Be Well!



carlinuxlearner said...

"Does it frighten you?"
I don't have anything to hide, so, no.

"But when I drive to someone's house, I associate the route with pictures"
Cool, I'm kind of the same way. I don't even have to know the roads, or how far it is, if I'm watching, I can get back without any directions.

And I like the post :)


Rae Hitchings said...

haha :) Thank you. Other than not..."creeping" you out, your response was what I was going for *grin*
I'm glad you liked it.

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