Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dissonant connection

Recently, I've been focusing very hard on changing a long-term habit of mine from defaulting to "No" rather than "Yes" when invited somewhere, or when I have an idea, or make tentative plans to act on something. I'm extremely good at talking myself out of things. Now on the good side, that makes me almost immune to peer pressure, but peers (particularly mine) are frequently sources of positive pressure too, which I'm also resistant to, which isn't so good after all :) I can easily list (or invent) many, many reasons not to do even clearly beneficial, fun things. Which means that in order to break my habit I have to overpower the part of my thinking that jumps in with a "No", forcing it to become a "Yes" until that becomes my new standard.

I was expecting this to be much harder than it has been (although it hasn't been completely trivial) and I wondered (as I like to do) ... why? Today I found my answer! I think this whole default to "No" when taking actions is an outlier in the rest of my thinking, and that in every other aspect of my life it's the reverse.

For example:
When I listen to a new bit of music, or watch a new movie, or read a book, I always go into the experience expecting I will enjoy it. That's why my reviews are always so "soft". Any of these artforms have to go out of their way to piss me off, before I will even consider not liking them. Exactly the same applies when I deal with people. While I'm not good at initiating any kind of relationship, and am basically an awkward dork around anyone I don't know (and many I do!), I hold a strong belief in the goodness of others, that everyone has good in them. There are, of course, people who challenge that belief by their actions, although no one I know personally (but I'm sure you can guess which political figures fit into this basket!).

So maybe living as the positive person I (on my good days) believe myself to be, is no harder than treating the remaining parts of my life, which I pass judgment on before the fact, overthinking religiously, as if they're no different to putting on a DVD, something I rarely analyse too deeply. Hurrah!