Focus on the good stuff

March 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Lena accidentally dumped a bunch of dirt in the bath tonight, immediately got out and then declared, I’m angry.

I started to towel her off, and she corrected herself. No, I’m disappointed.

Because of the dirt getting into the bathtub? I asked. Yes, Lena replied. I’m sad.

Whenever Lena gets like this I have to try not to laugh, because of course her emotions are valid, but a little-baby-big-girl, pink from a hot bath, getting towel-dried declaring that she is disappointed is really quite hilarious.

And I was thinking how proud I was of Lena, and of the way that she expresses herself, and I started thinking of all the adjectives that she uses to describe her feelings. Happy, sad, frustrated, angry, disappointed.

See anything wrong with this picture yet?

We have more words for “negative” emotions than positive ones. Lena’s definitely said she’s happy, or very happy, or really happy, and if you ask her if she’s excited, she’ll say yes, and yeah, she’s small, so it makes sense that she doesn’t spend a large amount of time walking around saying, “I am proud”, “I am confident”, “I am enjoying this quite satisfactorily.”

Why are we like this? It seems like it’s easy to criticize, it seems like there’s more words for the negative. Even in things like teachers evaluations. If my professor was good I would maybe, maybe stick around and finish the evaluation, unless I had something better to do, but for the bad ones, I would sit there and, with relish almost, enumerate all the things that went wrong. Adjectives that were easy to write: incoherent, unoriginal, boring, irrelevant. And for the good ones? Good.

Good. Happy. Nice.

Okay, Lean. New goal. More descriptive about positive things. Positive emotions, positive things that happened during the day.

(Although, in reference to the latter, it’s not like I come home and just complain bitterly about my failed PCR reactions. Description: poorly designed primers, wrong magnesium concentration, too short annealing time.)

Gosh, life is such a lesson in balance, isn’t it?


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