Discounting the positive

I am so guilty of this. I never realize I am doing it until I look back on the situation months later. When I say discounting the positive, I don’t mean just negative thinking. When you have depression it’s just natural to look on the negative side of everything. That kind of thinking is hard to reverse in of itself, but discounting the positive is taking it one step further. When your experience contradicts your negative outlook, you go as far as to discredit the good that’s happening by saying it doesn’t count.

I’m sure I do this regularly for little things, but when I catch myself having done it for a big thing, I get annoyed with myself. Last summer I found out that I won a fellowship I applied for. It was from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). I should have patted myself on the back. A national agency liked my research proposal enough to fund it. I should have taken advantage of that moment and celebrated it. It’s not an everyday occurrence that you get funded, especially in my field. But no, not me, I didn’t celebrate. I said to myself, I guess no one else applied this year and that’s why I got it. *face palm* I even waited a few weeks to tell my supervisor the news. She was wondering why I wasn’t doing the happy dance all over the place.

I expected not to get the fellowship, so when I did, I told myself it doesn’t count because no one else applied. In doing that, I completely disregarded the good in the situation taking away the potential happiness it could have given me. Instead, I felt sorry for myself being their only choice. Now that I look back, what was I thinking?! First of all, I have no idea who applied and second, who cares. If my research proposal wasn’t good they wouldn’t have given me the fellowship. It’s not like these nonprofits just throw money at people.

So now, almost eight months later, I will be a little proud of myself. I’ll celebrate by putting another check mark in the I’m not such a loser after all box. It’s never too late to be happy about something. It doesn’t have to be something big-ish like this either. The small victories count too. I have been told at the end of everyday, I should take inventory and write down something good that happened, no matter how small. I have been trying to remember to do this and it does help a little. Today, I got to sleep past 7am. I’m going to relish in that for a little while.

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