Friday, February 20, 2015

Optimism and Pessimism



Optimism and pessimism – two diametrically opposed personality traits. We all know people who fall into both categories. Relatedly, each of us falls into one of the two categories as well. 

Like most personality traits, pessimism and optimism exist on a continuum. A pessimistic person has moments of optimism, and an optimistic person has moments of pessimism. However, each of us leans one way or the other. Generally speaking, we each view the world through either a positive or negative lens. 

Many people become negative over time after experiencing pain and heartache in their life. However, I believe this is a vicious cycle. Negative thinking results in things that will only bring about more negativity. Furthermore, people do not want to be around negative people. It's a real buzz-kill. So when negative people alienate those around them due to their negativity, the resulting loneliness results in even more negativity. The monster has been fed. 

But the cycle can be broken. We own the cycle. 




Some of the most positive and uplifting people in history (Martin Luther King jr., Gandhi, Anne Frank, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller) haved experienced unimaginable pain...but they did not lose their positivity. 

Positivite thinking can truly enhance one's life. Is it a magic cure for all ails? Of course not. But it can change the entire way that a person views the world
Do you believe pessimism and optimism are inborn personality traits, or do you believe that they develop over time? Can they be changed? Are you glass half-full or glass half-empty? 

146 comments:

  1. This is a great discussion! I really can't speak for anyone else but myself. I feel that I was born an optimist, but learned to be pessimistic. I almost always think 'What's the worst that could happen?", and then formulate a plan if it does. So I guess I'm a pessimist with a plan, which helps me to feel more optimistic.

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  2. Half empty. I honestly don't think they are innate but given all the shitty dealings I've had with life, I just wished I'd documented every bit of bad of luck and negativity (against luck and positivity) for proof as to why I tend to be more the pessimist.

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  3. I used to be very pessimistic, always expecting the worst to not be disappointed or hurt. But this has changed in the past few years. I am becoming more and more optimistic and the pessimism only comes up when I'm really stressed. I believe that a positive attitude changes everything for the better and I'm learning at the moment that this is very true. Positivity might not always change the outcome but it changes how we feel about it :) Thank you for always being optimistic. I love that about you and I'm learning so much from you! <3

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  4. Hello Keith, I have to say at different times I have been both.. I think you are right when someone has a bad experience it does affect how they may look at things in the future. I guess now I battle with my thoughts and try to be optmistic.Great post, enjoy your weekend!

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  5. Half full of something I don't like very much.

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  6. A little bit of both for sure. I was so down last week when my husband lost his job. It wasn't his fault. His boss ran the company in the ground. He did nothing wrong. He worked there for 12 years. I kept thinking how sucky it was that I had to cancel activities for the boys. Activities they enjoy. But now things are looking up. I'm much more positive this week. Fingers crossed that things just get better!

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  7. I am an optimist, but.......................

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  8. I tend to agree with Beate - although I like to think of myself as a fatalist - que sera sera!

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  9. At heart I'm an optimist, always have been. Still, as you say, pain, etc... can cause one to become negative. It's something I struggle with now, but I'm working hard to regain my normal ebullience; one day, one choice, at a time.

    People like you help.

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    1. Just wanted to add: Deciding to take action, reach out to others, and sharing helps one to remain or become a more optimistic person.

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  10. i think personality might be a bit 'baked in' at birth, however, i think your childhood home and parental and family influences can shape you very much into pessimism or optimism.

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  11. half empty for me....the worrier type.

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  12. Of course they can be changed. Takes both internal and external forces, but it can happen.
    I'm half full. Realist, but I prefer to see the world with hope.

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  13. Excellent post, Keith! You make a very good point! I think a few things that contribute to whether a person is optimistic or pessimistic may be there at birth and I'm sure circumstances influence it, but I believe most--nearly all--of it is a person's choice.

    One of my all-time favorite quotes that I've kept in mind for years is what Martha Washington said, "I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be, for I am persuaded that the greater part of our misery or happiness is dependent on our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."

    I was theorizing the other day that the key to happiness might be to just believe everything will go wrong: that way if things do go wrong I won't be disappointed, and if they go right I'll be surprised and delighted. Then I realized my theory was that pessimism was the key to happiness!! hmmm... I better just stick with half full!

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  14. I think it is a combination....a personality trait in some aspects and a learned behavior in others. It takes self awareness to control pessimistic tendencies - observing the effects over time and taking steps to change your thinking. It is directly tied to how you view yourself and whether you have hope, courage, resilience, and a sense of mastery over circumstances as to how optimistic you are. If you believe in yourself and your abilities and take responsibility for the choices and circumstances in your life, then you can look at life with optimism that you will prevail no matter what. If you blame life's circumstances on things beyond your control and blame others for your choices, you can be very pessimistic. Having faith that all things have a purpose and that you can learn and grow from every circumstance keeps you focused on goals and aspirations and keeps you positive no matter what. So, I guess I would say I am a positive person who sees things as half full. I am always looking for that silver lining in every cloud.

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  15. Maybe they're inborn but they can change over time. And I have to disagree that negative people alienate the people around them. I think it's just as alienating to be going through something tough an have someone relentlessly telling you what the positives are! As for those of us who tend to be pessimistic, sometimes it's just easier for people to expect the worst. It certainly helps me prepare in case it does happen.

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  16. Interesting post. I think people's personalities are genetic, but they can adapt if given proper tools to do so. If a child has an optimistic person modeling how to deal with things that might otherwise disappoint, frustrate, or anger him, he can learn to adapt and have a much happier life. I had a good role model, my dad. He also didn't let us sit around, feeling sorry for ourselves and didn't try to psychoanalyze us and discuss our feelings ad nauseum. So I'm not sure if it's from birth or a learned behavior, but I'm a glass half full kind of person. :-))

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  17. Both are inborn traits. But they are shaped through the growing up years. They get ingrained or they get better developed through maturity and as you've said through unfortunate 'painful' circumstances.The bottom line is they are not far from the inborn trait in later years.Thoughtful thoughts Keith!

    Hank

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  18. I tend to be an optimist but I l on't like to not take unnecessary risks. I'm saftey minded and conscientious so I rarely get into trouble. I know that a lot we worry about will not happen but I'm mindful about the welfare of others because I care.

    I believe we can all change with a bit of effort. My glass is half full.....

    Have a happy weekend.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. However I make a lot of typos, hahaha. that should be I don't like instead of II on't like. My apologies.
      JB

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  19. I will admit that I am a pessimistic person.... but this year I'm changing it. I really want to move out of state, but to do that I need a 2nd job in PA first to save. I think my pessimism has hurt me in job interviews... along with something else I need to learn to control. :\ Fortunately, since I work in a library... we do have books on learned optimism!

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  20. I tend toward optimism. There is nothing to be gained by pessimism. Pessimism drags us into the gutter. I believe one can choose optimism or pessimism. Even when difficulties happen in one's life, one can find a positive way to think and continue I think.... Perhaps I am naive, but if so I prefer to be.

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  21. I believe that we can change our lens ~ I love seeing things in a positive way and I don't certainly don't want to be around negative minded people ~ Also, positive thoughts attract positive events and like minded positive people ~

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  22. They can be brought on by experience and the views of parents kids learn from and such, But can be changed. I prefer to be a realist, if the glass is half full or empty, drink it or fill the damn glass. Easy peasy lol

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  23. I think some folks are, indeed, born with either a negative or positive personality and other folks become either negative or positive due to circumstances.

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  24. Part of our personality but you can definitely continually move yourself along the continuum by daily choices. Positive thinking is such a wonderful life skill.

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  25. They definitely develop over time and who you are around. Life makes you who you are for the most part.

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  26. I am believe that if you are pessimistic you are much less disappointed in life.

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  27. I am believe that if you are pessimistic you are much less disappointed in life.

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  28. I have been through a lot in my life but I have learned that being optimistic is healthier. I agree that the more negatively we think more negative things happen, so I have developed a positive outlook on life. I am happier and healthier mentally and physically for the most part, and it makes those around me enjoy my company, too.

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  29. Eternal optimist here. I probably can't be fixed. I have my days of despair but then I'm back at it. How about you?

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  30. I'm mostly optimistic and always have been. I think some people can change their lives but most don't/won't because it requires a lot of work. Most folks don't want to work that hard. They may be on the right track and then something happens and they are back in the same old rut.

    I'm a glass half full kind of person.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  31. What's funny is that I had this discussion in one of my WIPs between two characters. Someone pours water into a glass and asks if it's half full or half empty. My clever heroine says the glass is half full because she watched the other person fill it...if they drank from it, or poured water out, then it would be half empty. ;)

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  32. 'But the cycle can be broken'. Up to us to have healthy habits. Start observing your responses, and try to focus on positive outcome , not negative facts. ~ Thanks for kind words on my blog!

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  33. Love this post Keith. I think at the core of it for me is free will. We can choose to see our self as the victim of our experiences or the creator of them. We can always choose to feel better because life doesn't happen to us, it happens through us.
    I also like how you describe that it isn't all or nothing on the optimism/pessimism scale. We all go through phases and cycles and knowing we are all in this together makes it better for me. If anyone wants a good read I recommend the Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor or his Ted talk. Thanks for your conversation inducing blog Keith. Happy Weekend!!

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  34. A pessimist could be changed into an optomist, but it's going to take a lot of work that they probably are not going to put forth the effort for change.

    http://www.joycelansky.blogspot.com/

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  35. I'm optimistic and a half-full person. I think I was born that way. I've had my disasters but I keep moving on and expect something better even if it isn't what I'd hoped.

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  36. i think there is a lot that plays into our viewpoints on life,
    past experiences, life circumstances, and i think that we can change over time...i think too our hot buttons play into as well...there are certain things that set some people off that dont for others....

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  37. "A glass half empty's just as full
    And love lifts more than sorrow's toll."

    I don't usually quote myself - that's kinda a weird, narcissistic thing to do - but those are two of my favorite lines in my poem, Now.

    What I want to say is that I think it's important to see the whole picture - perhaps different shades of it at different time. Reality, though, is that the glass is BOTH half empty and half full.

    Similarly, outlook is determined by genetics and environment/life experiences.

    How do you continue to ask the best of questions? Smiles.

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  38. Hi There, My motto has been (for a long time) and still is: "Surround yourself with POSITIVE people".... Negative people can bring one down... I've known both --and truly think that we are ALL a piece of both (depending upon the situation). I try very hard to keep my glass half full instead of half empty....

    I am basically a very optimistic person who 'tries' to see the best in everyone. I think of myself as one who is positive and happy (which I am). HOWEVER, I am also sensitive and do allow things to get me down at times... (Think that moodiness is just part of being a female... ha)... When I do get down, then everything seems to bother me... But--I don't carry grudges, seldom get mad --and when things do go wrong, I'm OVER them quickly and NEVER harbor them... So--how do you like my crazy answer???? Overall though, I am a positive person (I hope)....
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  39. I don't stop with pronouncing the glass half full or half empty, Keith. I'm practical. The glass is simply twice as big as it needs to be.

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  40. I guess I am a true optimist ...
    Sometimes my hubby asks me , "what are you so darn happy about"
    (he tends to be a little on the pessimist side)
    My answer to him 'everything" LOL
    See I told you I was a true optimist ...

    Good post, Keith ...

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  41. I believe that both are taught. Nomally I am an optimist. Grief however can change that in an instant. One day I hope to get back to who I used to be. Enjoy your weekend!

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  42. I'm a half-full kinda gal. I think O/P is both inborn and learned.

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  43. I'm an optimist. I think we develop into pessimist or optimist because of many experiences in life. I think some people conquer huge problems by optimism. We also have some control over our choice as well. This is a good topic for people to stop and think about.

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  44. I'm pretty sure most of our personality traits are inbred. Changing anything is hard, but to be applauded. But being aware of our thought processes is important and can help those who are depressed.

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  45. It's a combination of nature and nurture. If I give the glass to someone else, then it's half full. If the glass is given to me and I'm very thirsty, then it's half empty. I always say I'm the most cheerful depressed person I know.

    Love,
    Janie

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  46. If my glass is half full, I think, "Mmmm, I have more cool water to drink and quench my thirst." If it is half empty, I feel quenched. Life is how you look at it and handle what comes your way. Everyone I meet tells me I am the most optimistic person they know. I have had sadness, especially losing my husband not long ago after he was disabled for several years, but I know he would not want me to give up on life, be sullen and sad for the rest of my years. Sure, I have days of sadness and missing him, but I always take him with me in my heart on all my ventures.

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  47. I'm definitely an optimist, and have been for as long as I can remember.That doesn't mean my life has been a proverbial bed of roses, but I believe having a positive outlook helps us bounce back from tragedies.

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  48. Clearly, the glass requires more liquid as to be filled. Beer? Whiskey? Wine? Perhaps tea or cool water?

    I have been accused of being blindly optimistic and caustically negative. Opposite sides of the same metaphoric coin, and it perhaps depends on which side it lands when flipped. The trick is to find equilibrium between the two aspects. I am a huge believer in balance.

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  49. Another interesting question. I think they might be in born characteristics but I do think they can be changed like any other characteristic we might want to change, like being impatient to more patient, etc. I think I'm more of a pessimist though in looking back at my life, I really have more reason to be optimistic because things usually do work out.

    betty

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  50. Depends on what I'm drinking in that glass. :) I know, lame answer! :)
    Cheri

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  51. I used to be optimistic where other people are concerned. After years of watching people do stupid stuff over and over again, I am a lot more cynical now. I don't think I was born this way. It's just dealing with stupidity of others has toughened me up some over the years.

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  52. I think it is partly in a persons makeup to be either way but you can change it if you try.
    Me? With a name of happyone I'm definitely optimistic! : )

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  53. I believe it develops. Show me a cranky person and I'll bet you something very sad happened to them or lack of sex or love and then they become unloveable and the beat goes on. Come on folks, be nice to the cranks and break the dreadful cycle

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  54. I think our viewpoint is mostly based on how we grew up and our life experiences. BUT, I also know that depression is often inherited. I hope I am a noptimest! I always try to lift people up and make them feel better. You are right, we do own it!!

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  55. I think that people prone to clinical depression will go on a sort of autopilot mode for pessimism, but overall I think it's a learned behavior. My father is VERY pessimistic... so pessimistic... and it's difficult not getting dragged down with him. Because I've always been close to that kind of energy, it's been really important for me to step back and not let that pessimism poison me as well. It IS contagious... (all energy is)... but fortunately it's also controllable. I'm not saying it's easy, but it is possible. Personally, I can honestly say I waffle between the two. Innately, I think I'm more optimistic... it's taking joy in the little things... but I most certainly do have to work at it.

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  56. Well, you know from my blog that I try to keep things positive, but sometimes hardships come our way, and we can't help but get upset or negative from time to time. I was always a cheerful little girl, so I do think we have personality traits from the start. But on the whole, my glass is not only half full but filled to the brim. :~) I'm so glad that I have a blog friend who is so optimistic. Thank you, Keith.

    ~Sheri

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  57. Oh wow-loaded questions that are not answered simply. Negative people can suck the soul out of a person and I believe, they thrive on that. There is one person I know who is so caustic and so negative we try to see very little of her. Has she had a difficult life....I don't think so. Her parents were wealthy, they did not suffer. She is highly intelligent as is her brother and yet she and her brother have lived in the home they grew up in almost all their lives. She is in her bedroom that she has been in since she was 7 and she is now 51! She has never held down a job for any length of time, has gone to school more than once but has never done anything with her education (neither her brother)-never owned a home or lived away from home. Yet this woman will gives digs to me and other "friends" of hers. This is her nature but it has grown even more negative as the years progressed. My mother said once that she never met anyone so scared of life than this girl. There are people who suffer from depression or other brain maladies but there are others who are just negative and will fight in every way possible to remain negative. Instead of learning from their experiences they take these experiences to validate their negativity. Now, on the other hand, there are people who can be leaning to the pessimistic side but still can grow and learn because they keep that scale stable with realism. If a person is too optimistic they could see everything through rose-coloured glasses and be taken advantage of. It is to keep the scales from tipping so I like to say I am an optimistic realist. I like to see more of the positive side but have some negative to keep my eyes "open" and be able to grow from experiences and not be taken in.

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  58. I don't view them as traits that can be inborn or learned. I just view them as habits. Being pessimistic to me is just like chewing your fingernails.

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  59. Pessimistic people are sad and optimistic people I can relate to. It's realistic people who get on my nerves :D

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  60. I do believe we can own the way we look at the world. We can choose to be more optimistic or pessimistic.

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  61. I'm an optimist with moments of pessimism. I do't think we are born with it but that it is more of environmental influences. Is there a link between pessimism and depression, I wonder??

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  62. I think they way you face the futures is a learned behavior. My friend's sister was an optimumist until she married he husband.
    Afterwards, not only was their glass always empty, but it was also chipped and leaked on their carpet (staining it) and it was the fault of people on food stamps :) OK, I'm being silly now, but I think it's a choice.

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  63. I tend to lean toward the positive. But they can be changed

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  64. I used to be a pessimist and then one day (ok... I met Brian!!!) ... I looked (REALLY LOOKED!!) at myself and those around me and said ... hmmmmmmm... I need to change some things about me and who I associate with and POOF!!! Optimism was born!!!! I realized I was a "drama-magnet" and that was making me a pessimist as I was letting others drama drag me down ... well no longer!! :)

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  65. Me? Glass half full!
    Pessimist or optimist...it's all up to you.
    I think it helps to surround yourself with positive folks.
    Some just need a little help...a nudge, a smile.

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  66. I was born an optimist. My daddy always said that if I opened a door to a room full of shi*, i would grab a shovel, start digging while looking for the pony.

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  67. I would say that I am about 95% of the time half full...(Don't ask me full of what!)

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  68. Hi Keith, More great questions! I think you did an excellent job of setting the stage in your opening explanation. The first thing that came to mind was something I read recently, which can easily be found by doing a Google search for "Attitude by Charles Swindoll". He pretty much says it is up to us how we react to things ... it depends on our attitude. Our attitudes seem to develop over our lives ... I don't think they are an inborn trait. This gets me around to something Nelson Mandela said ... "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." Thanks for an inspiring post ... I will choose to think my glass is half full. Have a good weekend. John

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  69. I honestly believe upbringing has a lot to do with it. If the adults in your formative years were optimists, then you will probably be an optimist too, and visa versa - although of course it isn't always that simple. Life experiences can change us too.
    I guess I'd say I try to be mostly optimistic...but sometimes I find my glass half empty!;)

    Have a great weekend!

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  70. I am half empty and i call that realism not negativism... I am a firm believer in Murphy's law also...

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  71. I'm a 'glass is half full' kind of gal. I work on having a positive attitude. It makes life so much more pleasant. And even during moments when I feel down or have a negative outlook, I work on improving my mood. I believe we are born with certain traits, and our life experiences also contribute to the people we become. But I also believe that we can change our outlook if we want to. We are in the driver's seat in our lives.

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  72. I can go either way - it depends on the day. I'm usually more positive on the weekends :)

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  73. I think we are born with a certain set of personality traits and our experiences shape us, too. There is a quote I like by W.A. Ward, "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." To me that means remaining hopeful/positive, though not delusional!

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  74. So many comments, I hesitated to add to them, but I had to leave my "2 cents"...I have always considered myself to be the toxic optimist, and had this confirmed when I was laid off 3 months ago. I was excited and happy to engage in the acitivity of finding new employment, although I was not happy or excited at all when I discovered how few decent paying positions are here in my part of the world. It seems to me that optimistic people are much nicer to be around, but we need that little bit of cynicism (kind of like pepper in a stew) to be well rounded.

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  75. It seems to me that Jennifer Wagner's referral to W.A.Ward is a very wise one: take stock of the situation, make adjustments if necessary and when possible, and carry on with eyes and ears wide open to take in the beauty around us that could be missed if we are too busy feeling sorry for ourselves.

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  76. You pose an interesting question. I tend toward optimism, despite a lot of difficulties in my early life. But I don't know if that's just my nature or if I had input at some crucial, unremembered time. I do know that sometimes for me optimism is also a decision, so I gues it's a case of "both/and" not either/or.

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  77. I like to think I'm glass half full, but my husband says I'm more half empty. I know he's usually half full. Generally, I'm grateful for the half full part, knowing the other half is empty.

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  78. I'm not sure whether I'm optimist or pessimist but for sure I am a realist. I tend to see things for what they are instead of hoping for best or fearing the worst. I also strive to find positives in every negative outcome

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  79. Wise words. Negativity feeds negativity, and it is a real buzz-kill. This is a good reminder to choose happiness every day!

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  80. All a choice...negative things flow into my days all the time..as soon as I feel the weight of it and I start to become pessimistic about the entire day...I start to see the good from it...kind of like counting your blessings,

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  81. I'm basically a half full kind of gal. I've been through a lot and I do believe happiness is a choice beyond circumstances. You will find what you look for...and it could always be worse. ;)

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  82. Keith, I don't know where you live but after reading through a few of your blog posts I've discovered that I NEED to know you, albeit via blogging and that is all. All of your topics feed me in an intellectual way, they are thought-provoking, insightful and witty. I see that an awfully lot of other people feel the same as I. My blog is mostly fluff & puff and, quite frankly, I am bored bored bored with the same-ole, same-ole. I'm a perpetual optimistic, one who has confronted some awesomely awful life experiences. I don't quite know if I'm like dumb & dumber, or if my instinct for survival, one which we all share as humans, makes me continue on with a smile and take actions which I know are positive ones for me. So.
    I would love to use this subject of optimist/pessimist for a topic on a group blog post where we all expound on the same subject. Please let me know if you agree. And, if you do agree, I am extending an invitation to join our prestigious group called "By Invitation Only," as our 1st gentleman member. Thank you for making my day !!! Marsha

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  83. My glass (and hubby's) is always half full to full! Seriously. Does it mean my life is all bubbly and perfect? No, but it means that I always try to handle everything in a positive way. Attitude is everything!

    Big hugs, honey...

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  84. We own the cycle. Well said! If our ancestors hadn't been poked in the ribs periodically to see the beauty everywhere we'd all have perished long ago.

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  85. had to think about this one for a bit but I'm going to go with these traits being something you're born with. Some people suffer the worst of circumstances and pull through, others crack and break. We are how we react. You can probably actively work at making yourself a more positive person but you really need to work at it because it's not who you are fundamentally. I'm not sure if positive people have to work as hard at it. But then I wouldn't know as I fall into the negative camp!

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  86. I believe people are born with this in part and then I think they absorb this characteristic from their parents, then when adults if they have been influence to be a pessimist it is their choice to try and fight nature and learn a more optimistic approach, I am a half cu full kind of person but my husband is a cup half empty guy, he fights this everyday of his life, it comes natural to him to be pessimistic but that doesn't mean he likes it! I have a signal word that I say when he is falling back to the cup half empty side, brings him back to the light side, its Mr. Sunshine, just our own personal way. I'm not saying its wrong or right to be either,
    no judgement, but I do say you have it in you to change what you don't like..Takes all kinds to make this big old world go round does it not?

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  87. Dear Keith,
    I am an optimist. I think it is due to my upbringing. My father was of the Julian of Norwich school of thought: 'All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well'. That is way I have gone through life and it does help in times when things are not going well.

    Kirk

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  88. Definitely optimist. Had my pessimist years in my early 20s, but over it. How can anyone look at your own kids playing in the yard or swimming, and be anything but optimistic?

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  89. I feel we should all have a taste of failure to know the value of victory ... however, failure shouldn't make us pessimist. Instead, it should make us determined to try more and more and lead to optimism :-)

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  90. Keith I agree that we have both traits and that we lean one way or the other... I try to be the optimist and I don't always succeed but I never give up believing I will get there one day... Like you I believe that what you look for or talk about is what you will find... I want happiness and I want love... being an optimist will help me to get there... it isn't easy, we all have down moments... we are human after all and life tends to take over sometimes. . .

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  91. Fine post. I believe they're both habits that have formed over time.. they get fed and they develop. And they can be reversed.

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  92. I AM AN OPTIMIST :) I was a pessimist and I believe it was years of conditioning that got me to become one. It took awhile to unravel all of that and now I can honestly say that I'm an optimist through and through...so yes, people CAN change and it depends on what you choose to focus on. Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

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  93. I'm an optimist and have always been. Yes people can change but they need to be at a place of awareness to do that...same as everything I suppose.

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  94. I am more optimistic now. Some really bad things happened and I realized that expecting the worst does not always help. So for me the glass is half full. At least most of the time. :)

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  95. Hi Keith ... I am definitely a positive person, and my glass is always nearly full ... and will be regularly topped up ... cheers to someone who must be so positive about his future with his new bride ... enjoy, enjoy, enjoy - Hilary

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  96. I have to work at being positive, especially with age I work even harder at looking at things positive instead of the negative side-I agree with Beate that the outcome may not be what we want but we feel better with ourselves through the process

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  97. Like most things in life, it's both. The chemicals in our body may insist the glass is half full or empty, but we can also try and change ourselves for the better. I know I'm trying my best to see a half full glass when every nerve in my body tells me it's half empty.

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  98. I think we can’t be quite optimistic or pessimistic always... it’s the situation and attitude we look into things. No doubt, positivism is a way lead so better than negatively think.

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  99. I'm definitely an optimist! I've never been pessimistic ~ only depressed which is different. I always laugh when pessimists call themselves realistic! As always you have a fascinating question!

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  100. I am personally a very realistic person.
    I think that those pessimistic or optimistic attitudes are the result of what life hands us.

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  101. I think pessimism and optimism are part of our DNA, but not the only part. Certainly outside stimulus plays a big role at how we view life, and personal decisions play a big role in how we choose to view life. In response to the "glass half full, glass half empty" scenario, George Carlin said he sees a glass twice as big as it has to be. An optimist would see only unlimited potential, a pessimist might see unattainable potential. In the course of answering this question, I think we are all given a glass when we arrive and it is our job to fill it, any way we can for as long as we can. I really enjoy this blog. Thanks.

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  102. Dear Keith, for me the greatest turn-off is a person who is relentlessly, stupidly, unimaginatively positive. There are times when this thoughtless parrotlike positivity would drive any sane and thoughtful person up the wall.

    I know that in the US positivity are highly prized and frequently preached. I’d rather be with a person whose mood reflects the current circumstances, not some self-help monster book induced blind faith in the-best-of-all-possible-worlds where everything-is-possible. For so many it so often isn’t.

    Harrumph! That’s the old European in me.

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  103. I really, really love this post.
    Reminds me of these words from the Dhammapada,

    "We are what we think.
    All that we are arises with our thoughts.
    With our thoughts we make the world.
    Speak or act with an impure mind
    And trouble will follow you.
    Speak or act with a pure mind
    And happiness will follow you
    As your shadow, unshakable."

    I'm not exactly sure what I think about optimism and pessimism. Those are such interesting traits, and they determine so much about our everyday life. I'd probably lean toward believing that they develop over time. But I do understand that a person can go through many obstacles in life that can change their outlook.
    But I also believe that there are inherent characteristics that humans are born with. Our individuality, of sorts. Yes, it is created as we trek through life, but we are also born with natural curiosities, natural tendencies.. (or at least I'd like to think we are)

    :-) I will be contemplating this a lot more. Thank you for posting!

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  104. I think you generally have a choice with things. I strive to be a realist, one who sees both bad and good and chooses to do the best possible in either case.

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  105. Keith,

    I'm perhaps more of a pessimist, who accepts all else as a bonus!! Influenced by upbringing, environment and life's experiences. It all tends to develop the person that we may become...
    Nice to catch-up again Keith,
    Eileen

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  106. Great post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  107. "We own the cycle." So true. A very thoughtful and thought provoking post!

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  108. Thought provoking post, but yours always are. I think the things that happen in a person's life can contribute to a person being positive or negative, but I also believe negativity breads negativity. One of my favorite sayings is you can't live a positive life with a negative mind. I really believe that.

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  109. It's an interesting question as to whether or not it is an inborn trait or something that is learned. I honestly don't know. I am one and my husband is the complete opposite. I'm sure we get on each other's nerves sometimes with our natural bent. ;)

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  110. I don't think optimism or pessimism is really inborn. I'm kinda a pessimistic person myself because I'm so used to being disappointed I expect it. If things went more how I wanted them to, I would become more optimistic. For a time I was even and occasionally am at times.

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  111. Great questions to ponder! I think we are wired a certain way, but our life experiences, especially as children, can help mold us a certain way. The nature and nurture idea. But I do believe that one who thinks negatively, once he or she realizes it and its effects, can change. My "go-to" attitude tends to be pessimistic when I'm dealing with myself, optimistic when I'm dealing with others. I am slowly learning to be more positive about myself.

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  112. you may not choose it at the beginning (young age).. but if you realise '' which one'' you are.. you can change everything.. your outlook on the world, yourself, later behaviour.. you just need some self control :)

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  113. optimism and pessimism are subject to standard of your morals and society's.gandhi,mandela,martin luther king may have compromised their moral values at different circumstances and which went unreported coz the larger picture of society is survival.anyone who practices morals to perfection has totally different view from a person who lives by any means.our society is based on survival of fittest.ideal are considered as pessimistic when they speak truth.optimist in our society is someone who has herd mentality and supports majority population views.

    lets take example of obama speeches,he speaks of human rights,freedom of speech,dignity for citizens and he never tackles racial discrimination seriously coz he goes according to majority white population mentality.speaking of prosperity and dignity even when there is rampant racial discrimination on ground is optimism for many.but for people who speak truth,its lies in the name of optimism.

    optimism and pessimism are strictly based on standard of ethics or morals you practise and you stand alone when you are ideal and people will call you pessimist for speaking truth.this world is about survival and opportunism in every aspect,a person can't come to conclusion whats pessimism and optimism coz personalities are relative.

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  114. I think we are born with tendencies one way or another, and it is fostered by our upbringing and environment. That said though, I think we can change it, whether through circumstances and a willingness and consciousness of what we think, say, and do.

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  115. uh oh. is there chocolate in the house?!
    I'm a pessimist willing - desperate willing - to be proven wrong. I'm one of those few people who are a pessimist wishing for conversion by the optimistic brigade.
    I believe we are all born optimistic. Not full-glass but we bring the glass and the fill. Then for this and that reason we start loosing that blind faith; in things, people, ourselves.
    I believe there's a no-recovery protocol in some people that don't reconstitute the faith so the pessimist keeps pilling in until reaching that so-well-explained-stage-by-you as a vicious, and unfortunate, cycle.
    In me other people, odd events, lots of thought and weighing in keeps me believing, trusting the glass will one day be full. Or convince me I not even need it full.
    But the first thought is pessimism I think.
    My first step in everything brings the self-preservation instinct to life. Then the reckless in me takes over and proves me right or wrong. But always make me feel alive. And so glad.
    Wishing you a week full of expectations, mysteries and Life,
    Teresa

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  116. "We own the cycle." So true what you have written about experiences, although some people learn to see the world in ways that inspire even after exepriencing bad things. I blog about one such person today.

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  117. I think negativity is born of fear. It serves no purpose but to draw others into it. Like you say. We all have a choice.

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  118. I believe these personality traits develop over time, but can be changed.

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  119. Im with you that the cycle can be broken but I think it depends on whether or not the individual is mentally strong enough or capable to want to break that cycle. Thought provoking as always!

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  120. Half full - there's always room for more. I think some people can change anything, others can't change anything, and most fall in the middle.

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  121. I try to be an optimistic person and think I achieve that most of the time. I do have a down day now and again, but I try not to wallow in it.

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  122. We are going through a lot of management changes at work. In recent weeks I have worked with some seriously negative people and it is exhausting. I'm not happy about change, but I'm not negative about it either. I am generally an optimistic person. I think people get into the negativity cycle because they have had something bad happen in their life and they can't get out of that cycle. And after a while they don't want to either.

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  123. Half full... or optimistic, i guess, I wish!!! Indeed, there are highs and lows in our life... managing this... it looks quite like a challenge, but fortunately is ok!! Thanks for your visit, also and have a sunny day!

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  124. Looking at the state of the world and what we're doing to the environment i tend towards pessimism, though I try to be optimistic and i do see the good in the everyday. I've read a few articles that expose the less than helpful sides of 'positive thinking' but can't at the minute remember any of what they said....

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  125. I'm a glass half-full person. Keith. Although I've had disappointments, loss of a loved one, failure I still am optimist. C'est la vie.

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  126. I think personality traits are inborn, but we can work to change them. I look at my kids as examples. My son is definitely an optimist, and my daughter has always be a "glass half empty" kind of person. Even as a baby, she complained a lot. It takes a huge amount of effort to change perspective, but it can be done if there's a desire to do so. (I'm a "glass half full" kind of person.)

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  127. I believe you are born pre-wired at birth. Your genetics, the environment that your mother is living in while carrying you, her attitude and health while growing you and your actual birth all plays a role. But, then I believe once you're here in this world learned behavior plays a very strong role on who you become as a young person. Can you change? Sure, but it depends on each individual. It may be easy for some and not so easy for others, even if they want it so badly.
    I was raised with both parents looking at so much bad in the world. I like how it taught me to be aware of my surroundings and to be safe. But, it would have been nice to hear about the good in this world because there is so much. My mother never understood why I would take the time to stop on the side of the road for a dog or even injured wildlife or why I would notice an elderly person looking confused or lost. I choose to see what I see, just like I have chosen to be optimistic person. :)

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  128. I have always believed (and have taught by kids) that if something bad happens, that means something good is around the corner, and it always comes true.

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  129. i think these are more of traits that we learn from parents and other people around us, than something that one is born with. and i tend to say i'm a realist, although people too often take that for pessimism, ha! x

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  130. Funny you chose this topic. I almost wrote about it today then changed the subject as I was typing.

    I believe it is a mental choice. It's easier to be negative because that's what sticks around in our head. Most people don't hear the "atta" boys. They hear the criticism instead. But, when we choose happiness, we gain happiness.

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  131. I'm with Laura's thoughts and I also think circumstances of a person's life such as health problems, financial problems, world events, etc which can't be changed effect a person's optimism or pessimism

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  132. it's interesting. for my self, it's developed over time. as i grew up i learned and experienced new things, met new people that influenced my view on the world and life. i'd like to think that i am a more positive person right now. i'd like my glass half full.

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  133. I'd like to think I'm a glass full-to-overflowing kind of person, but I'm more of a half-full. Definitely not half-empty. People can certainly change, but they have to want to. And while a person may have a tendency one way or another by nature, life experiences and socialization have a huge influence on attitudes.

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  134. I find that if I start worrying about something, it helps if I turn negative into positive thinking. Fear seems to lessen when I trust that all is well, and have faith in a good outcome. This is not easy ~ it takes work to develop a positive attitude. Maybe positivity comes more natural to some if they were brought up in a caring, trusting environment. A certain deal of realism is needed as well to stay grounded and remain objective. And being a dreamer and imaginative is also the key to open doors and realize new goals. :)

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  135. I can worry with the best of them, but in general I'm definitely more of an optimist. I think it's a choice; you can either choose to look at the bright side or you can choose to look at all the negatives. I choose the positives, because I don't like how it feels to dwell on the negative. :)

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  136. For me, it depends on the circumstances - I can be a bit of both. Recently returning a rental car though, I met an extremely pleasant, upbeat and cheerful person. I walked away from her thinking - we should all be just like that!

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  137. "We own the cycle"....love that. Yes, indeed we do.
    Wonderful post.

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  138. I think pessimism and optimism come with experience. We all start 'clean'. And you're right. Being negative results in more negativity. But it's not just negative thinking. It can make you sick and tired. It absorbs your energy and happiness. I had to learn that for myself. Did you ever notice how you forgot being ill because you were happy and doing things with friends for example? A positive mind can be very poweful. In earlier times when I was younger and having less problems I never got a cough when every other one in my class was ill. I even went out just wearing a t-shirt in fall and winter being healthy and happy. I really believe a positive mind boosts the immune system. I remember crying because I was hurt over something someone did or because I was unhappy with myself so many times and being ill the next day. Today if I'm unhappy my skin starts itching and burning from scratching. It keeps getting better when I'm in a positive mood. But it's not always easy to be happy. I try to surround and distract myself with friends. Laughing helps so so so much. Or hugging. Haha. If possible :D doing things I like and setting my goals not too high. But thats not always easy. So most of the time my glass is half empty.

    -Daniela
    PS: I really like your topics! :)

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  139. I invite you to
    http://disipi.blogspot.de/
    FRIENDS MEET FRIENDS, herzlich Pippa

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  140. "But the cycle can be broken. We own the cycle."
    Beautifully put, and timed like a rhythmic refrain to a song. Thank you!

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  141. Interesante tema,yo me inclino por el optimismo levanta el ánimo y uno ve todo de mil colores,abrazos

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