Friday, August 07, 2009

A Difference in Perspectives

While Quiet Confidence and I share a lot of common interests and sensibilities there is one fundamental characteristic in which we are polar opposites of each other. It is a very stark contrast and something both of us have puzzled over in private and together, not quite able to understand how the other person can be this way or how it functions.

Quiet Confidence possesses an unending optimism and positive outlook on life. It is not however, the galling kind wherein the optimism is a “Susie Sunshine” naivety in the face of incontrovertible facts to the opposite. I on the other hand seem to naturally favour a more pragmatic outlook, something I see as a starkly realistic approach to life. Sometimes it slides into pessimism on the negative side, but that I believe has more to do with the depression and happens only on my lowest days.

QC described it to me as a choice you can make, so why not choose to take the positive approach? He sees it as a “why not?” proposition- I don’t understand his choice and puzzle over how he can instinctively reach for that side of the coin. His outlook certainly isn’t because he has lived a charmed and sheltered life free from struggle or tragedy. Quite the opposite really, which is what puzzles me all the more about his mindset. Given everything he has experienced, how can he still remain so unfailingly positive?

There is something in my brain chemistry or make-up that prevents me from grabbing onto the positives in any situation as a first instinct. While I also try to make the best of any situation facing me, I chose not to put on a happy face about it, but rather to approach it with steely determination, with my eyes wide open to what I face. I would rather know exactly what kinds of highs and lows I can expect than to assume everything is positive and will be fine because life really doesn’t work that way. QC completely does not understand this about me. He doesn’t understand at all how I naturally gravitate towards the darker side of things.

This light versus dark outlook is something I know will continually mystify and intrigue each of us. Neither one of us will ever completely understand the other, but I don’t think you can ever really truly know someone and everything about him or her. Then again, that’s my pessimistic side showing itself. It has already made it difficult at times for me to explain my depression to QC because it is a phenomena that is completely foreign and new to him. He has never been exposed to it, where as this is something I have been dealing with for years now. There are plenty of times that I have struggled to find the words to describe or explain it for him adequately. I don’t think you can completely understand depression without having experienced it personally, but I will continue to help him in trying to understand it.

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