The Bright Side

I have often wished I was just a tad more optimistic.  I wish I had a natural inclination to look at the bright side of life, to see the “glass as half full,”and to assume that things will almost always work out just fine in the end.  That sounds like a wonderful perspective to have, and I really wish it was mine.  But it’s not.

I’m not exactly “Little Miss Doom and Gloom,” but I have always been the kind of person who isn’t surprised when problems show up, even the big ones.  When something bad happens in my life, the thought “but I never thought this would happen to me” doesn’t cross my mind.  I’m much more likely to think, “of course this happened to me!  Why wouldn’t it?”  It’s not something I’m proud of, believe me…..it’s just who I am.

But the good news is that attitudes can be changed, and I’m working hard to change mine.

Which is why, after living with our new dog Finn for over a week, I’m finally accepting him at face value and realizing that he is indeed a very nice little dog.  I liked him from the start, but I also found myself “waiting for the other shoe to fall,” meaning that he would exhibit some awful behavior that would make me regret bringing him home.  (In my defense, I’ve had a little experience along those lines.)   But happily, we haven’t seen a single serious behavior issue at all.

IMG_4558He’s actually sort of a lovable goof.  I don’t think he was first in line when brains were given out, but he seems to have made up for that with an extra helping of nice, and that’s a trade that will serve him well.  He has an adorable habit of leaping into the air for joy every third or fourth step when he’s running across the yard.  He’s shown nothing but friendly interest in our toddler grandson and is very housebroken.  In short, all my fears and worries about adopting him were for nothing.

Adopting Finn has helped me realize that there really is nothing to be gained by focusing quite so much on all the things that can go wrong in my life, and by focusing a whole lot more on all the things that can go right.  “Count your blessings” may sound hopelessly cheesy, but it’s actually a very helpful way to remind ourselves of all the good things we already have.  When I truly recognize the many, many, good things that have happened to me already, I can’t help but feel appreciative.  And more importantly, I have to acknowledge that it just stands to reason that other good things will come my way as well.  Of course bad stuff happens to us all, but it’s high time I stopped actively expecting it to show up on a regular basis.

I’ve come to believe that dogs can teach us many things if we’re willing to learn, and Finn is busy teaching me that sometimes, things work out exactly as we had hoped…and all we can do is be grateful.

127 thoughts on “The Bright Side

  1. OH Hooray! Way to go Finn for teaching your new Momma such important life lessons! I’m so happy you two are getting along so well! You are so cute! I’m so happy for both of you!! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • They really do! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone down to the shelter in a crabby mood, and then walked a few dogs who were so happy and excited to get a walk. And voila, my mood is instantly changed for the good!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry I had you worried there for a minute! But yes, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this is working out. Of course there will be bumps in the road….but I am convinced that he really is a great dog and that we are luck y to have him. And he’s teaching me to be more optimistic, which is a very good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just melted reading this about you…and Finn. My guy is like you. He’d rather expect the worse and be pleasantly surprised when the worst doesn’t occur. Drives me crazy at times because I’m the exact opposite (perhaps too happily optimistic about everything). Finn? I think he was sure from the get-go that he’d love you, and you’d love him. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • Isn’t it odd how some of us seem to be hard-wired to expect good things, while others are hard-wired to expect bad? I don’t know if has to do with genetics or how we are raised, but I have always assumed the worst and been rather (happily) surprised when it didn’t happen. So this is a new way of looking at things for me, and Finn has been a help! So have most of my other pets….animals can teach us so much! And if Finn could talk, I do think he’s say, “I could have told you this would be fine!”

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, we thought because he was a terrier mix he would be super-smart, but haven’t seen any evidence of that so far. But that’s okay, because he’s sweet and that’s what matters most. Sort of like your cat: I’d rather have love than brains any day!

      Liked by 2 people

    • He comes when called, but I’m not sure if he recognizes his name or not. He was “Tux” when we adopted him, but had been pulled from a crowded shelter down South and brought to ours for adoption. (We can place more dogs, so that’s why we bring them up.) I really need to ask if the shelter staff gave him that name or if he was turned in with it….. Either way, it can be changed, but it does take longer if they knew their old name. We used it when we first got him, but he didn’t seem to know it. Hard to say for sure, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad Finn is doing so well and can’t wait to meet him. As a fellow pessimist (living with an incurable optimist) I think we enjoy everything working out more than others because we don’t expect it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks a good point, Louise! Our natural pessimism does mean that we enjoy the good outcomes even more. Now I feel better about the way I tend to look at things…. I can’t wait until you meet him either!

      Like

  4. I appreciate the underlying message of the post —there is something I need to internalise. I am happy Finn has turned out to be a nice addition to the family, even though he wasn’t the first in line when wisdom was being dispersed (ha ha!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, he wasn’t! Thank goodness he’s nice. But yes, I do think that those of us who naturally tend to be pessimistic need to work to change that, at least a little bit. We put more stress on ourselves than is necessary, I think.

      Like

  5. I’m a Safety/Compliance officer and have to have a “worst scenario” mindset for success in my job. I subscribe to the Chuck Yeager philosophy of “Never wait for trouble.” at least at work. I make an active attempt at gratitude when I’m not at work anticipating the next big disaster. This post is very much my life!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think that sometimes having the “worst case scenario” mindset is absolutely necessary, and I can imagine that it is hard to turn that off in your personal life. Within reason, anticipating and planning for problems can be good even in our personal life, as long as we don’t get stuck in that mindset 24/7. It’s a hard balance for sure!

      Like

  6. When it comes to our health, the annual battle with the flu or even a bout with cancer, a positive attitude is the best approach. Expecting the worst becomes then the root of the problem and prevents you from getting better. I am so glad to hear that you are striving to see your glasses half full rather than half empty, Ann. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Peter! And I know you are right about how much a positive attitude matters when we are battling an illness….scientific studies have actually backed that up! Preparing for problems is one thing, but I have a tendency to get stuck in that mindset, and that’s not a good way to be. I am making progress, though, which is a good thing. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What an adorable dog! Things do go wrong for all of us at times. I am currently dealing with a couple of health issues of my own, but a positive attitude goes a long way. Sometimes, it is so hard to deal with the ‘what if this happens?’ phenomena of worrying. I always thank God that it could be so much worse; still, it is human to worry. Enjoy that pup and Happy Valentine’s Day! One of my issues involves a dental problem and I remember your post about an experience you shared…thank you! It calms the jitters!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sorry you’re going through health issues! And I did write about my worry over dental issues, so I completely understand. The good thing is that dental treatment has come so far now that the procedures really aren’t that bad, and I found that I was worrying needlessly before mine. I’m sure you will get through yours just fine! And what we strive to do is to just enjoy it when things are going well, rather than worry about the next problem that will come along…easier said than done, I know.

      Like

  8. Lessons learned along the way seem to stick with me better than the ones taught to me by rote in school. What I’m saying is maybe Finn was dropped into your life right when you needed him to teach you to lighten up a bit. I say this as a reformed perfectionist who, like you, can always see what could go wrong much more easily than what could go right. 🙄

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you are right. Sometimes someone or something comes along at the exact right time to help us learn what we need to learn. Like you, most of what the important things I have learned I did not learn at school…so these are the experiences that shape us. Thanks for sharing that perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Learning to overcome/overpower one’s inner pessimist is very difficult and not many manage it – so well done you for making forward progress! Strange as it may seem, I tend to think of my horse as an overgrown dog as he exhibits some remarkably similar traits, including the ability to reflect my real mood and state of mind which, at times, has been more than a little uncomfortably accurate. Like Finn, he’s taught me a lot about myself over the years and I am and will always be eternally grateful to him for that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think that sounds strange at all! When I was young, I also had a horse who was more like a dog in the way he interacted with humans, and since I had him during my teenage years, I can tell you that he helped me cope with more than one drama. His presence was calming and comforting and helped keep me grounded.
      You’re right about how hard it is to overcome natural pessimism. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it completely (which is okay, because acknowledging that bad stuff can happen helps us prepare for it), but I do want to get to the point where that pessimism doesn’t dictate how I live my life. And Finn has helped in that area for sure!

      Like

    • Exactly! I’ll always be a little pessimistic, and that’s a good thing because it does help me be prepared to deal with crises. I just want to rein it in a little, so I don’t let my pessimism interfere with my ability to enjoy things, or to see the blessings I do have.

      Like

  10. I’ve been thinking about leaping into the air every third or fourth step too, but I don’t want to scare the neighbors or end up in a padded cell. Still, I really like Finn’s attitude. He’s onto something. Happy Valentine’s Day, Ann. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This was such a nice post today Ann. I actually chuckled out loud at the thought of Finn leaping. I love my dog, and continually tell her that she’s everything that’s good about life. She is so purely giving that it’s hard not to have her rub off on me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it fun how their attitude can help change ours? Dogs (and other animals) are wonderful that way. Sometimes we can even get a boost from humans. One of my very best friends always sees the best in other people, and spending time with her always helps me to shift my attitude as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m always on the lookout for Murphy’s Law, so I can shrug my shoulders when the stuff does actually does hit the fan,but you can’t lose with a dog who randomly jumps for joy when trotting across the yard. What a cutie!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You most certainly aren’t! I think lots of us are natural born pessimists, but we just don’t speak up about it very often. Still, we can become a bit less pessimistic if we try, and that gives me hope. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  13. I’m the “half full” of the family and they want me to be more like them and of course I want them to be more like me. It’s good we aren’t all alike, it makes life more exciting. And this way we can balance each other out. Finn is a nice looking pup!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, sometimes the two extremes do balance each other out nicely! For me, I just want to move a bit more to the middle, and stop actively anticipating so many bad things. I guess it means I’m looking for personal balance. And thanks, Finn is quite handsome, isn’t he?

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m working to wards the same goal in life and in doing so I’m noticing how much noticing whats good with our rescue makes there negative behavior seem less bad, and has the added affect I’m more relaxed with them so I think their behavior is improving. Finn looks lovely and very relaxed too, and he looks like he has a touch of collie and terrier in him?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I think making it a point to notice the good things in our lives helps convince us that there really is reason to be more optimistic! Finn is a hoot: he is either just lounging around, or racing madly around the house or yard, all happy-happy, joy-joy! As for his breed, I have no idea. The shelter changed it twice while he was there, but his adoption papers say Patterdale Terrier. My guess is he’s a bit of a mix.

      Like

  15. I think Ally Bean expressed it so well when she said Finn is the dog for your now, He’s come bearing lessons you things you might not have been ready for before this, come as the joy you can appreciate only now. I’m so very happy for you, Ann.

    And that name – Finn! How could it be any other?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I think Ally was right too, and that he came into our lives now for a reason. We’re very happy with him…even when he jumps right into his water bowl, as he did this morning. (The downside of all that leaping for joy!) My husband actually came up with the name, but it does seem to suit him very well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ann, there’s something about Finn. I’ve said before that I’m not a dog lover, not by a long mile, but this post of yours, the comments by others, your replies – everything about Finn – they have made me so,so happy! It’s like the Finn~joy has lit something even in me!

        Now, this might go down wrong with some people but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway. Finn brings to mind a verse,
        …some have unknowingly entertained angels

        Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! As I kept reminding myself when I was thinking about adopting him that there is no such thing as a perfect dog, and that there is also no such thing as knowing everything about a dog before we bring him or her home. Sometimes we just have to say, “I want that one” and then deal with what comes up. But you’re so right, the risk is absolutely worth it!

      Liked by 2 people

  16. I know what you mean about “not quite doom and gloom”, as I have a bit of a cynical edge myself. (I prefer to think of it as being realistic rather than assuming the worst.) But the thing about life is, if you don’t take the occasional risk here and there, you’ll miss out in a major way. It sounds like your taking a chance on Finn is having just the payoff you were hoping for, when you opted to take in a new dog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s true, Dave. There is a certain merit in assuming the worst, because then we can prepare for it. But taken to the extreme, it makes us afraid to ever assume a risk, and when we do that, we miss out on so much of what life has to offer. And I’m so glad we took the risk on Finn!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m so happy things worked out with Finn (nice name). I love the image of a happy step every three or four. Your post encouraged me to pause and “count my blessings.” I really have so much even though I can at times be a glass half empty kind of person. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Brenda! I’m glad this post spoke to you. And I really do believe that by taking the time to recognize the good things that have happened to us helps us to be more optimistic, even for those of us who are naturally pessimistic. That balance is a good thing, I think!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. I’m so glad things are working out well with your Finn (I have a border collie named Finn, too). A new dog is an inherently optimistic event, but there’s nothing wrong for having an eye out for possible complications.

    However, it’s even better that your misgivings are unnecessary. Terrific news about the new family member. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Cathleen! I think I’ll always have an eye out for possible trouble, but I’m slowly learning not to dwell in that place all the time. And so far, my misgivings about Finn have proved unfounded. Of course there will be an issue or two popping up, but that’s normal and we’ll deal with it. The bottom line is that he’s a great addition to our family!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is so very hard to control, isn’t it? But you’re right, reminding ourselves of all we have to be grateful for really does help. It not only lightens our mood, but it proves to us that good things really do happen!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I think that is a trait of a lot of creative people, Sarah. Maybe that’s why we create? By making something ourselves, we are taking some control and producing good things in this world. But for whatever reason, having a sweet dog really does help!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That makes a lot of sense to me, Ann. If we would see the glass half full there would be no need for us to fill it up, so to speak.
        And I can see how having a sweet dog can really help with that too! If I wouldn’t live in a city, I’d long since have adopted my own dog.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. I sometimes have trouble remaining optimistic too, Ann. You have encouraged me to try harder to look on the bright side. It really does help to think about all of the blessings and good fortune in my life. I am very happy to hear that Finn is such a good boy. He sounds like a real “glass half-full” kind of guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, thinking about the good things in my lie really does help me be more optimistic. For those of us who are naturally pessimistic, the constant onslaught of bad news we get these days can be a real challenge! Sometimes I think we need to create our own balance. As for Finn, he is most certainly a glass half full dog! Thanks for the comment, Joe!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.