A friend of mine once said that she thinks there are two types of people in the way that they approach life:
- You are happy and content until something bad happens that causes you to be unhappy
- You are neutral and maybe negative, until something comes along that causes you to be happy
I thought this was a pretty interesting and accurate assessment of how people can be. And it made me think about myself, and others, and sure enough, I was able to identify one or the other for most everyone I thought about.
One could argue that each approach has both costs and benefits. For example, I am the #1; I am generally happy and positive the majority of the time, unless something negative is presented to me. However, I am also too trusting sometimes. I tend to trust people until they give me a reason not to trust them. Which can be a nice and open way to approach people. But over the years I have been burned by that and also disappointed in my judgement. I’ve been surprised when realizing that someone is not a good person or that they had manipulative or ill intent. I feel like I should have been more cautious from the beginning.
And someone who lives their life in the #2 category might say that at least when something good comes along and surprises them that they REALLY appreciate it, more than a #1 might.
I definitely think that our approach is heavily taught and influenced by our parents. We saw and followed their approaches to life and it is likely pretty ingrained in us by the time we might recognize any patterns that aren’t necessarily helping us. So–can we choose our approach? Or is it just the way we will always be?
What other ways do you witness people around you handling life that results in opposite approaches?