Build me up Buttercup

Every so often, I get down on myself and I vow to be more positive, accepting, and appreciative of who I am. I considered writing down the qualities I like about myself, much like people jot down “grateful” lists. And then I decided to not only write the list, but to post it as a blog. So, here I go: Some things I like about myself:

I never completely lose hope. Even when things are going wrong—in the world, with my books, in my love life, with friends—I’ve never yet reached a point where I feel completely hopeless. I’m a bit like Little Orphan Annie in that I know things might royally suck today, but “the sun will come out tomorrow.” If I’m wrong, at least my “glass-is-half-full” outlook got me through the day.

When I love someone, I really, really love that person. I’ll admit that while I *like* a lot of people, the list of individuals I love is smaller, but I would do anything for them. I think it’s just as wonderful a feeling to truly care about someone as it is to know someone truly cares about you. (Of course, this does not include toxic, abusive, or otherwise “unbalanced” relationships.)

I am willing to work really hard for what I want. That’s not to say I don’t accept help when it’s offered (or ask for it), but I’d rather do the heavy lifting to make my dreams come true, even if it’s painful and tests my patience, than accept something less than what I want because the journey is easier or will take less time. (Someone please remind me of this in the coming months as it relates to my next book being published…)

I’m funny. I’m not Tiny Fey stand-up-comedienne funny, but my particular brand of sense of humor is appreciated by many. (And it helps with my writing.)

I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong and own up to my mistakes. I can apologize. Think about the people in your life. I bet you can find at least a couple who never say they’re sorry or even acknowledge their role in anything negative. I’d rather be wrong and admit it than always think I’m right. And by admitting when you’re wrong, you learn about the other person—how willing they are to forgive or meet you halfway.

I don’t take my loved ones for granted. I’m not sure I was always this way, but losing someone I loved more than just about anything or anyone else in the world opened my eyes to how quickly things can change.

I know when to let go. I tend to hold onto things for a long time because of the aforementioned “glass-is-half-full” mentality. Because of this, I’ve stayed in relationships (platonic and romantic) for too long because I gave someone the benefit of the doubt or assumed things would get better. But I have a threshold and once it’s met and I realize things are shitty and not likely to change, I acknowledge that I deserve better and I move on without looking back (much). On the one hand, I wish it didn’t take me quite so long to reach my limit, but on the flip side, I never want to get to a point where I’m easily able to turn my back on someone I once cared about without even trying to resolve our issues.

I possess the ability to forgive. People, even really great ones, screw up sometimes. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.” I don’t believe in unconditional forgiveness, as there are some things that are unforgivable, but I’ve found that I am a happier and healthier person when I don’t hold onto my anger. This is especially true if a person has expressed sincere remorse, but it’s also possible to forgive someone in your heart without them even knowing.

I’m easy to please. Just treat me kindly, show me you appreciate and accept me, listen when I speak, make me laugh, laugh with me (and at me in a kindly manner), allow me to respectfully disagree with you sometimes, have my back, and trust I have yours, and we’re good.

I’m not a follower. I try to form my own opinions about people rather than blindly take someone else’s word for it. I try to understand that a person’s negative feelings about another is based on their own experience with said person and that there are three sides to every story—person A, person B, and the objective truth.

I prefer understanding and kindness over making fun of others for entertainment value.

I’m a work-in-progress. I embrace learning and becoming a better person.

Well, that’s all for now. If you know and like me, feel free to comment about how great I am! Kidding! But, if you’d like, share any qualities you appreciate in yourself in the comments.

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Hope vs. the worst-case-scenario

I love the feeling of being hopeful and excited and anticipating good things. It’s a rush. The future is wide open and bright and great things are comin’ around the mountain. In contrast, when things take a disappointing turn, which they often do, it’s like a punch in the gut. Sometimes being let down hurts so much that I can’t catch my breath.

I have to ask myself: are the hopeful moments worth the disappointment that often follows? Is it better to not allow yourself to believe good things will happen in the first place so that you have less distance to fall when things come crashing down?

I posed a question on the Meredith Schorr, Author page on Facebook asking people if they allowed themselves to get excited and hopeful about things or if they were always focused on the worst case scenario and waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under them. I got mixed responses. I’m somewhere in between.

I do allow myself to get keyed up about things. I try to be cautious and stay in the moment, but I do find myself getting revved up about the “possibilities” and I have to consciously reign myself in. But no matter how many times reality does not meet my expectations and I swear to never allow myself to believe the best case scenario is within my grasp, I find myself living that high again at some point.

On the flip side, even when things are looking good and there is no reason to suspect anything bad will happen, I automatically assume the worst is just around the corner and the slightest suggestion that something *might* be off sets me into a panic and a whirlwind of self-doubt. Even though I allow myself to get excited for a period of time, part of me is always waiting for things to fall to shit. Probably because they usually do. And usually, it is the precise moment when I allow myself to consider that maybe my doubts are in my head—a result of bad past experiences—that disappointment sets in. And when, through no fault of own and with the best of intentions, I find myself defeated and beaten down, I  insist I’ll never be able to pick myself up and begin again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my sister that I can’t do it anymore—I can’t keep dusting myself off and starting from scratch when failure is imminent.

But it feels so good to be hopeful. When I’m in positive spirits, it’s contagious as I am better able to talk my friends off the ledge too. I smile more. I have more patience. I go to sleep with a sense of peace and look forward to the days ahead of me. Each day I have faith is a day I enjoy living. That’s not to say I never engage in a pity-party of one. When the shit undoubtedly hits the fan, I cry. I sulk. I curl on my couch watching mindless television. I text my sister insisting nothing will ever work out for me. I enlist my friends to go out with me for a drink (or three). And I scream at my best friend Alan for dying and leaving me without his guidance and unflagging certainty that someone as special as me should always have hope because I, more than anyone else he knows, deserves to be happy. But then I wake up, dust myself off and start all over again. I don’t really have a choice.

So, at the end of the day, I guess I believe the hopeful moments, however fleeting sometimes, are well worth the subsequent crash and burn. And even if I didn’t believe it, it’s who I am and if the past is any indication of the future, it’s who I will always be.