I really consider myself to be a pretty positive person. I can usually see the upside to just about anything. The glass isn’t even half-full: it is completely full. The glass in question probably contains some volume of a liquid (or solid), but then we must consider gas – in this case, and to put it simply, the air we breathe. I mean, unless the glass is in a vacuum. In that case, you have an entirely different situation. But really, if you have a glass filled approximately half-way with water, you could put a lid on it, submerge the glass, open the lid and watch an air bubble belch to the surface… and at that point the glass would then be filled with water.
You see what I mean? No? I’ll give you another example: I was late to my violin lesson tonight because it took me forever to get the kids bathed and “the muffin” to bed. I walk out the door and it’s raining and cold, which means I’m getting wet and people are driving as if it was raining canola oil instead of just plain ol’ H2O. Now I’m really late. I’m walking in the rain and trying to call my teacher to tell him that I’m walking up to his door & would he please buzz me in. My phone won’t work. I go into O’Shea’s (which is right next door) and ask my bartender friend if I could use the phone – but it’s packed because it’s burger night & it took me forever to get her attention. Bummer, huh? But here’s where my mind took me: I’m late, but both kids are bathed and I got to put “the muffin” to bed myself which means that the normal ritual is preserved AND I got to hear “I love you mama”. It’s raining & people are driving frustratingly slow & strange – but maybe this is what allowed me to find the pretty decent spot kinda close to where I needed to be (always a good thing when you’re downtown at night by yourself). My phone didn’t work, but luckily, my lesson is right by O’Sheas where “everyone knows my name”, and I got to see my “bartender friend, Laura”, however briefly. I run into a DXP fan who insists I say hi to his friends really quickly. This makes me even later – but makes me feel like a rock star at the same time. I make it to my lesson & my teacher isn’t upset at my lateness, and now I know the code to get in without calling first. Pretty darned positive, if I do say so myself. So tell me why, during my lesson, when I’m given a compliment, I refuse to believe it. Deep down, I know that I have improved and can hear the difference in the things I’ve been working on – but when I’m given a certain encouragement (which, incidentally, I need), do I immediately think “oh, he’s just being nice.” My brain knows that he is paid to tell me the truth and that he really isn’t prone to (pardon me) B.S.- at all – and yet, I just can’t take the positive comment. He made a point to tell me that I do need to trust myself more and believe in my abilities, because I am sabotaging myself – and it’s true. I AM sabotaging myself, because it takes forever to get it through my thick skull that I could be … and I even have a hard time writing it … worth the time it takes to teach me. Dude! How’s that for negative??!?!?! It’s funny, too, because I could be performing at the MCI Center – televised around the globe – and feel perfectly comfortable. In fact, I’d have a blast, and probably play better than I ever have before – and while I’m playing I’m not even thinking about anything but the music, and at that moment, I believe in the beauty or intensity or anger or joy of the sounds I’m producing. You take me off stage and play the recording back & I’ll tell you that I stunk. You put me in a one-on-one lesson situation & every note that isn’t absolutely perfect has me feeling lower than low – even if there is some sense of triumph that I got through something that I previously couldn’t, it will still be tempered with the notion that it wasn’t flawlessly beautiful. I have always been like this. Even when I was a kid – “I got an A on that test! … But part of the reason was because I got the extra credit & I can’t believe I got #5 wrong!… what’s the matter with me??” I guess it boils down to this: human beings are strange creatures. We are capable of being positive to the point of being annoying and yet self-deprecating to the point of annoyance as well. At least we’re not boring, and I guess that keeps life interesting – jeez, there I go again! Sorry! 😉