Optimism or denial as mental self-defence


---------------------------------------------------[Sat Nov 26 15:25:44 2016]--
From: (S) ease of well-being  (steph)

Subject: Optimism or denial as mental self-defence

A few things recently have given me cause to consider my response to bad things
happening, and my reactions to other people's responses.  First, there's
Trump's election in the US which is undesirable and directly or indirectly
likely to cause some people harm (although I doubt it'll have any effect on me
personally).  I agree that he's not the best or even a good candidate and I
agree that he has incited prejudiced people to show and act on their
prejudices: people are being hurt.  However, I do not like the stream of
articles saying he's a white supremacist or a Nazi or California should secede
or the Electoral College should choose Clinton, or whatever.  Part of this is
doubtless my contrary streak, but part of it is something different.  I observe
that I am semi-consciously adopting a position that `things will turn out all
right' or `it won't be that bad' because countenancing the opposite is not good
for my mental health.

The other thing is some changes in the wider organisation for which I work;
basically there has been a botched reorganisation which has left most people
unhappy and from what I hear from numerous sources with good reason.  This
doesn't currently affect me much and I don't expect it to because of political
realities.  However, even just having the argument with someone closer to the
failing department (and more likely to feel its direct effects) seems to be
followed by my feeling anxious and depressed.  Again, adopting a constructive
positive attitude (which may appear to others pollyannaish, naive, optimistic,
or just in denial) seems to be a defence I've learned here and I suspect it
helps.  But there's more obviously a risk when I'm more involved than I am in
the US case, namely that my optimism will blind me to dangers that will be to
my detriment.

Does my ornery nature come to the rescue, though?  Perhaps because I'm at heart
a bit of a grumpy sod and only respect authorities when I think they deserve it
my tendency to want to probe and prod and query and dig my heels in may
counteract the defensive optimism.  Or alternatively, I'm optimistic in a
different sense: perhaps I just have confidence that I'll win?