You see, this is why I’m afraid of counseling: optimism is good, and pessimism is bad. How many sane, patronizing articles are out there praising the virtues of an adjusted optimistic outlook? How many of them acknowledge that it’s not always easy to change the way you think? How many of them offer useful, concrete ways of doing so? I read the little brochures, and see:
Some attention to your thoughts and a few simple exercises to change some thoughts can help prevent the emotional exhaustion, the lack of enjoyment in interpersonal interaction, and the loss of general well being that comes with a pessimistic style of thinking. Try optimism.
Gee, thanks, I hadn’t ever thought of that. It addresses all my concerns about learning to place a realistic amount of responsibility, credit and blame upon my own shoulders. I feel that the author would really listen to my reservations about using optimism as a blanket characterization or a panacea for all mental ills, and would fully consider that pessimism may not lie at the root of my problems.
I’m afraid that when I go in tomorrow, a professional problem-evaluator will tell me that all I need is a little Right Thinking, I should just deal with the one or two things I’ve been pathologically avoiding, bite my tongue whenever I start to blame myself for something and everything will be perfect again. And I’m really worried that he/she will be right.