Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just believe

I have never put too much stock in "the power of positive thinking." In fact, I remember that in high school I was certain that if I thought I was going to get an A I would curse myself into getting a C but if I thought I had screwed up I would definitely get an A. It sure seemed like my grades had little to do with my effort or self evaluation, so it made sense to come up with a superstition to get me through the anxiety of waiting to see what random grade would be assigned to my work this time.

I took that superstition with me in life and felt that if I ever got too excited about something or started to get my hopes up I would definitely trash any chance of it happening. I know a lot of people have small superstitions about saying things out loud and jinxing their luck but I took it further and recited the negative in my head in order to appease the gods and have a small chance of getting what I wanted. This all convinced me and others that I was a pessimist.

The truth is I'm an optimist. A brilliant therapist once said that what I was actually doing was thinking positively because I was thinking negatively in order to achieve a positive outcome. Well that blew my mind. I started to reconsider my personality type which had been sporting that pessimist label since high school.

When that whole "The Secret" thing came out and got on Oprah and everywhere I took a chance on it. Maybe I could change my life with the power of belief. Maybe I was dooming myself by thinking about what I didn't want to have happen instead of what I did. After all, hadn't I created the triplet pregnancy merely by stating to anyone who would listen in the 4 months preceding my fertility treatment that I was going to have them? Like hell I was going to go through fertility treatment twice people, so I declared to the world that my one time was going to pay off. And what do you know? So I knew it seemed to work.

And so I tried, I really tried. I created one of those dream boards. I went out and purchased poster board and magazines and cut out pictures of what I wanted and what I hoped to achieve. I meditated on it daily. And, while I haven't looked at it in a while, I'm relatively certain I did not lose weight, start exercising, or become the highest earner in my Partylite region. Hmmm.

It just felt uncomfortable, all that positive thinking. I kept worrying that I was ruining things by getting my hopes up. I kept wondering if every stray negative thought had ruined the whole set up. I eventually hid the stupid board so I'd stop looking at it. And I stopped trying so hard.

But when we got the offer on the house and the quick close was part of the package, meaning we would be free to write offers on our own future home immediately, I got excited. I declared to the world that I was moving in January. Be it January 31st at midnight or not, I didn't care. I was not staying in this apartment a minute longer. So then the anxiety set in. Was I setting myself up for disappointment if January came and went without a house? We aren't buying an 'ok' house, this is going to the The One. How can I find that in a month? Then there started to be problems with our own home, the inspection, and now the appraisal fell far short of the value of our contract. What was happening here?

Was I experiencing a comeuppance? Was this my punishment for getting my hopes up? Should I stop stating that I was moving in January? Did I need to make it more clear that I was not just moving but moving into my new house in January in case the wicked fates decided to throw an earthquake to make me move out of the apartment and into some kind of gymnasium shelter somewhere just to make a point? What am I supposed to do?

I am holding fast to the belief that I am going to find my dream home in time to move Jan 31, but it terrifies me. I know our home has been just waiting for us to be free to make an offer on it and I believe things happen the way they're supposed to but what if I'm supposed to spend 6 more months in this apartment? Good lord. That just can't be right. So, Universe?


Prove me wrong.


  1. Positive psych has been roundly and solidly debunked. If we could all think our way to happiness and wealth, it would be a very different world.

    But I'm all for optimism.

  2. You gave me so much hope in this post. When I read the first paragraph with grades I was thinking she is talking about ME! Being a 30something single mom going through uncertainty of unemployment in a housing crisis makes it really hard to stay positive, but once a while, things like your post brings hope back. I will pray/meditate for your positive outcome!

  3. Wow. I know exactly what you mean. During our IVF procedure, I convinced myself I was NOT pregnant, then when the first blood test was positive, I was sure the second would not be, and when they both were, I was sure there would be no heartbeat at the 7-week ultrasound. Then, when there was not one but THREE heartbeats, I was sure there would be something wrong with one of them, or with me. But I knew deep down I was just protecting myself from getting my hopes up and having them dashed.

    Good luck on the house - we put in our offer on Oct. 18 and we're moving in end of January.

  4. The mother - it does seem though, that negative people draw negative crap to them doesn't it?

    Shopgirl - so sorry you're struggling. It is easy to say "things happen the way they're supposed to" when you're not struggling with the basics in life but I truly think that it has held true in my life that there are lessons in everything and I'm where I'm supposed to be, even if it sucks.

    Edith - fertility treatments are so scary anyways but I think pregnancy and parenthood means you never rest easy because your pregnancy/child could be taken from you at any time. How can you ever relax?

  5. Gee...I was hoping to relax any day now. Not likely, though, huh? :)