Optimists vs. Pessimists – Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
Just hearing the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Pythons can brighten my day. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to have been born with the inability to be cheered up by little things.
I grew up with a pessimistic mother, and an optimistic father. My mom is the person who always expects the worst (and it usually happens), and my dad accepts everyone with a big smile and a ready hug. He loves inviting guests over, telling jokes (never mind that he always forgets either the beginning or the end of the joke), and he loves art.
3 Things That Help Me Move Up
I think I was my dad’s child the first twenty something years of my life, but as I turned thirty, I started turning into my mom. I started worrying, sensing negative remarks in my friends even when they’re silent, fearing that my husband would stop loving me, etc. Sometimes when I speak, it’s as if I hear my mom’s exact wording, and it scares me a little.
But there’s a cure. Or at least, help. My dad invented it for me and it’s called: the love of art. Movies, books and music are my sanctuary. Here’s how it works:
I perceive movies as the lightest form of art of the three. I use it accordingly. Its purpose is to entertain me when I’m tired and lifeless, incapable of doing anything. Comedies make me laugh, horrors shake me up, dramas perhaps show me some new perspective or convince me that my life is actually pretty good, compared to what it could be (I don’t have to worry about being imprisoned for witchery just because I own a black cat, for example.) Sometimes seeing a good movie is a great way to break the ice with my husband (in those icy periods – most of you probably know what I’m talking about).
When the movie is over, we can talk about what we liked or not liked about it, and once the conversation starts, it’s easier to move on to more sensitive stuff.
I use music for instant cheer-up. I can listen to “Always look on the bright side of life,” or any happy hit of the 80’s to put me back on my feet. It’s amazing what introducing music in your life can do for your mood. If you don’t believe me, just try it for a few days. Wake up to the sounds of an 80’s music radio station, or any music you like. Play music in your car when you’re driving and sing along. Sometimes even speak singing – it’s another ice breaker. It can make a clown out of you, or it can just make you cute.
This is where I get my strength. It’s where I reiterate my thoughts, relive my long-forgotten experiences and emotions, where I learn new things. This is where I read something that I’ve always known: that cynics are cowards, and people who show their happiness and tears are brave. Literature teaches me how to be a better person.
One of my professors in college told me that communication between partners is the hardest thing in the world. I think that’s right on for my parents. The optimist never understood the pessimist and didn’t know how to help her. The pessimist didn’t trust the optimist and was always angry at him. They never resolved their problems.
If I want to be good at communicating, I have to know and love myself as much as I can. Art helps me find myself, and it makes me look at the world in a much more positive way.
About the author: Ana Brady is a mother of two, wife, writer, and an entrepreneur of sorts. One day she realized working without a boss is much better for her health, and now she works on a project on lab labels.