How to be optimistically pessimistic…

Life. Its weirdly wonderful and yet somewhat meaningless. I could spiral into an existential crisis and ponder why I’m alive, why I’m here. Why we exist, how do we exist…blah blah blah. Lets skip the whole “You are nothing but a speck of dust in the grander scheme of things” and move this post in a more positive direction.

I see life in a very positive light. We exist and live. Live…that word is most important. I eat chocolate, watch tv shows, go out with friends, listen to music and dance like an electrocuted bee. I live, however I am not ignorant.

The world is not a nice place. Every week, people die. People attack groups, judgement and discrimination are common practices. So why should I eat chocolate and go out with my friends? Why should my life be significantly happier than others.

I don’t have the answer. I don’t think anyone does. I could be involved in an accident tomorrow, or the victim of a crime next month. For all we know, the human race can be wiped out before Christmas. So live while you can!

Recently we watch a talk about Negative Visualisation. To visualised your life in a negative way to give you a greater appreciation for your current state. I believe this is the reason for my world view as explained above.

My problem with this video is how Leo talks about Negative Visualisation. Yes I get the concept as I have just explained. Basically stop being so self involved. Look at your life and count your blessings. Leo tries to take it a step further. He seems to believe that if you don’t have friends/family/pets/arms/legs/sight or hearing, you should still be thankful for your breath. Let me tell you if all I had was my breath I wouldn’t be too happy about living. He goes to extremes to demonstrate why stoicism is a positive tool to use in your life. I respect that. But being a paraplegic who is deaf dumb and blind isn’t the best life to lead. Many may find that dismissive or rude, but I can tell you no one wants to live that life.

For years I have visualised various negative scenarios. What would i do if my parents died? What would I say to a person about to shoot me? How would I deal with an illness like cancer? This may sound like a bizarre notion that I could be so gloomy. But in fact it has help me appreciate my life. My imagination is one of my greatest gifts. However it does tend to go to dark places, like those mentioned above. I would spend an hour creating a life where I have an illness. I imagine telling my friends. I imagine how I would adjust to life while being treated. I imagine my death.

Now before you put me on suicide watch, know this, I’m happy! I don’t want these things to happen to me. I just love a good story. I use these negative thoughts in my fictitious writings. But they actually have a positive effect on my psyche.

I’m not sick! My parents are alive and well. No one has tried to shoot me. I am alive.

My life is great and I love it. More so because if I think of how it could have gone. How badly my life could be if my situation was different. Well, thinking of what could have gone wrong makes you love what has gone right.

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