Self versus Self

I can’t.

I can.

Of course, I can’t.

Maybe I can.

What am I saying! I can’t.

I should probably try.

What’s the point in trying?

What’s the harm in trying?

I don’t know… I’m so afraid.

Of what?

Of letting myself down in front of others.

Letting myself down? Or in front of others? Which one is the major issue?

I think the second one.

You do realise that’s stupid to the point of hilarity, right?

Easy for you to say. After all you are the eternal optimist.

Easy for you to disregard me, you being the eternal pessimist.

Is the glass half empty or half full? The pess...

Is the glass half empty or half full? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The battle continues. I wonder if it’s like that for everyone. I wonder if everyone is plagued by extreme versions of themselves. Who wins, then? My pessimist made an appearance rarely in the past. Who knows? Maybe it’s because I haven’t had to make difficult decisions or take too many risks before. But the pessimist, when present, is potent and dangerously influential. My poor optimist’s claims come in bleak tones; I’m hardly able to hear her over the loud proclamations of the pessimist.

I think my pessimist is actually afraid of listening to the optimist. Because that would require her to take risks and put herself out in front of others, making herself vulnerable.

The pessimist first made an appearance some four years back. It was immediately after my optimist had had a huge victory. At first, the optimist didn’t really pay attention. But the pessimist was sneaky, and made her way into my heart slowly. Her roots became so entrenched that the optimist was forced away, and after a few feeble attempts, left me for two whole years. Ruled by the pessimist, I made mistakes, huge mistakes. I lost my peace of mind, my self-respect, love for myself. I became that person who needed others to assure her worth.

Two years passed, the time and the situation changed, and my optimist made her way back to me. But she was badly hurt, and couldn’t banish my pessimistic self out completely. Hence, since then, I’ve lived with both of them inside me. There are moments where both co-exist peacefully, but as soon as the time comes to take decisions or risks, a fight breaks out. And more often than not, the pessimist, supported by her deep roots, wins.

My optimist is questioning me today. With beseeching eyes, she’s asking me what happened to that girl of four years ago. She’s asking me why I let the pessimist win. She’s too powerful, I’ve answered. But it wasn’t so much her power as much it was my weakness. The previous years spent with the optimist have taught me not to have too many regrets, and believe me, I’ve tried very hard to not let go of that policy. But somewhere deep down, I regret losing against the self that was destructive to my personality.

I’m still afraid. The optimist tells me that it’s okay to be so. She tells me that it’s not about failing. It’s about conquering the fear. It’s very difficult to do so, she says. But not doing so makes the rest of the life even more difficult.

The battle is still on. But after a really long time do I see my optimist fight back with strong conviction. I hope she wins this time. I hope I won’t let her down.

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13 thoughts on “Self versus Self

  1. I love the way you expressed the two sides in each of us. I write about intentional optimism, also- it’s not always easy, but it’s our choice to (try to) stay positive. Optimism is way more fun…
    Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Optimism is way more fun indeed! I, myself, struggle with what I like to call “the glass is half empty” complex. It’s so hard to listen to that optimistic voice when that negativity is constantly screaming in your head. I recently wrote a post about my own struggles and make mention of a book that has helped me along the way: http://themodagecottage.com/2013/07/09/you-are-a-badass-or-so-i-keep-telling-myself/. You have to stop comparing yourself to everyone else out there, remind yourself every day that you are awesome, and sooner or later, optimism will become a constant.

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  3. I can totally relate to these two sides of ourselves always taking turns dominating. Let’s all keep exercising our optimist so she’s always stronger 🙂 Thanks for sharing. You’re definitely not alone!

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  4. In the end, Akshita, isn’t it about choice? The choices each of us make? I have learned (and consciously chosen) to deal with the ego-mind in a not dissimilar manner. I acknowledge it’s presence, thank it for presenting (often unsolicited), and then move on. It’s a workable co-existence. I’m wondering if you could apply a similar approach when pessimism rears. Recognize what it is and the feelings that might be associated, then embrace the positive side of the issue or opportunity. Choose to march forward, optimistically. 🙂

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    • Hello Eric! Glad that you stumbled upon my blog! Thus is exactly what I wanted to convey; that it’s important to consciously choose optimism over pessimism. A balance is definitely required; I would prefer to be optimistically realistic over most situations.
      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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