I have just spent a year sitting in front of my lap-top writing my book ‘Communicating with Kids’ so I thought it would be a good idea to go out for a walk and start to get fit again.
I was walking for about an hour, and on the way back, as I was nearing my house it hit me that I had spent all this time in reverie about the fame and success which would result from the publication of my book. I thought I had been appreciating the landscape of the South Downs, but no, at a deep barely-conscious level I had been in the Woman’s Hour studio being interviewed by Jane Garvey.
I hate positive thinking and I wish I could stop it. I realised I had been doing everything the self-help books teach and recommend; I had visualised down to the last detail, I could even smell the studio. As I reached my house I was fighting down unbidden images of t.v. studios and Eamonn Holmes. I don’t want this to happen. I have experience in the past of – in my head – graciously accepting awards and modestly acknowledging other contenders, only to watch – in real life – someone else taking the prize.
I see it as tempting fate, I know that the more I expect to achieve, the further I have to fall when it doesn’t materialise. I try desperately hard not to expect too much so that I won’t be too disappointed. Surely I’m not the only one? I can’t imagine that all those actors nominated for an Oscar don’t spend hours compulsively going over every word of their acceptance speeches, despite themselves. Isn’t that just human nature?
I’m hoping it’s normal, otherwise I’m an unrealistic fantasist with narcissistic personality disorder and I don’t want to be that. Although come to think of it, it’s only what the positive thinking self-help books advocate, so it can’t be all bad, right?
What I would really like to come naturally to me is an easy-going some-you-win-some-you-lose mind-set, but it’s positive thinking which for me is automatic, and it’s bloody annoying and it doesn’t work. And I’m looking defiantly at you, the first person to say ‘You’re just not doing it right.’