>Just read an article called “How to Practice Safe Optimism” by Tamar Chamsky.Here’s a link to the whole (really good) article. I could write a blog entry about each one she lists, but today I will just stick with one:
Strategy Five: Define success flexibly: Value process, not just product An optimist hopes for the best, but has realistic expectations. There isn’t just one bull’s eye of success and everything else is failure. This usually means girding ourselves for slow progress and defining success broadly. When we set unrealistic expectations we manufacture unnecessary disappointment that we then have to waste our precious energy overcoming–it’s an additional hurdle which we don’t need right now.
This reminds me of what I read in Never Good Enough (a book about perfectionism) and what I learned in DBT about black and white thinking. Currently I am working on “cognitive restructing.” Due to my perfectionism, personality and other things, I tend to have really distorted expectations for myself.
Success has been defined in my mind in black and white terms. Such as, “Your teaching licensce was non-renewed. Failure.” “You’re single with no children at age 25. Failure.” “You don’t have a ‘real’ job. Failure.” “No graduate degree. In fact, no idea what you want to do with your life. Double failure.” I could keep going but this isn’t helping things. SO I have to change these thoughts into degrees. Such as “You survived two years teaching inner city teaching. Success!” and “You will make a better wife and mother one day because of your committment to healing of self and waiting until you are older and wiser. Success!”