Reality in the eyes of a cynical optimist

I read an interesting blog post this morning, If it walks like a duck…., all about the power of words used to describe a chronic illness.

I admit that at times I have encouraged people to look for the silver lining on clouds, and I try not to do that anymore if it’s not the appropriate situation.  Personally, I get very frustrated when people do that with my health.  They suggest that things will improve soon, even though they won’t.  People tell me that if I change my attitude, I’ll get better.  (Been there, done that, no dice.)  I understand wanting to remain positive, but I think it’s also important to be realistic.  I am not suggesting that we all dwell on the negatives, but ignoring the negatives doesn’t make them go away, either.  I’m all about accepting the reality of our situations.  Now, clearly I don’t always do this (see the many blog posts on taking a medical leave of absence from work, something I should have done far earlier; I’m too good at denail) but the point is that I attempt to do this.  I might fail, but I do try to keep a realistic view of things.

Despite certain appearances, I’m actually a very optimistic person in general.  I’m also very cynical.  I consider myself a cynical optimist – it seems like a contradiction, but it actually works out very well; I anticipate problems, then look on the bright side of everything.  But the thing is, that doesn’t mean that I pretend everything is perfect.  We all have problems, and I think it’s important to recognize them and accept them.  I could pretend I’ll get better next week, but then how would I feel when that didn’t happen?  It’s ok to hope for something better, as long as it’s realistic.  Living in a fantasy sounds nice, but it just doesn’t work.  If we don’t accept things, how can we move on to have lives outside of of these problems?  Personally, I’d rather move on.

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