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Getting real
December 31, 2012

I ended last week’s newsletter thus:

So on just one measure of welfare – that expectations should be realistic and ideally low, the post war generation were blessed. Especially as the next twenty years (to the late 1960s) turned out to be so good.

An argument against the value of holding realistic and maybe low expectations relative to what the outcome turns out to be is that without aiming high, how can we achieve anything? It is a good point especially as there is a lot of evidence that optimists are happier than pessimists. But surely, to be optimistic is very different from living in delusion?

To be healthily optimistic is to have an expectation that outcomes will be good and that therefore you are looking in the right direction – at what will be working and not towards what will be going wrong.

But to be healthy optimistic always requires adjustment (or feedback) to what is unfolding. To keep connected to reality. To keep ones feet on the ground and never to confuse healthy optimism for delusion and fantasy.

Which is what we, as human beings are always tempted to do.

Which brings me back to the final paragraph of the last newsletter, quoted above. My main gripe with the expectations that are generally held now is that they bear so little relation to what seems basic good sense. That we need to live within our means and that sooner or later debt has either to be repaid or defaulted on and that neither is healthy. Neither will it help to believe otherwise and that it is all the fault of someone else.

best wishes

Andrew Richardson
Feelbetter Counselling East London

94 Malford Grove, London E18 2DQ

Direct Line: 0208 257 0429 Mobile: 07870 104651 Skype: famrichhg

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