Debbie Downer and The Half Empty Glass

By nature I am a "glass half full" kind of gal. I see the "bright side" in most situations. My believe that "It could always be worse". I see situations that are frustrating or difficult as learning opportunities. My energy and optimism drive some people nutty, however. I suppose my "happy-go- lucky" attitude and enthusiasm can be refreshing and overwhelming at the same time.

I confess that I struggle when I am around people who consistently see the glass as "half empty". I feel that they are missing out on so many great experiences and opportunities. I also wonder why they respond to situations with such pessimistic reactions. Were they always this way or had something/someone influenced them in a such a way that led to this prevailing pessimism?

If you are a fan of Saturday Night Live you may recall a character called "Debbie Downer". Her character perfects the art of the "buzz kill". She takes a sunny, fun day and dumps a big old rain cloud on top of it - every single time.

Do you know a "Debbie Downer"?

In the past 5 years I have been interested in learning more about temperament. Temperament is hard-wired genetically and describes how we respond to situations/input in our lives. Temperament is the foundation of our personality. There are 9 temperamental traits. When I facilitate workshops with early childhood educators, I spend time helping them reflect upon not only their own temperaments, but the temperaments of the children and families they support. The idea is that we are better able to support others if we understand how we and they are temperamentally hard-wired.

While temperament is hard-wired, it can certainly be embraced by a person and his/her loved ones or it can be denied/dismissed. How a person and his loved ones acknowledge and understand temperament has a direct impact on a person's self-esteem and success. For me, my temperamental traits indicate that I am highly active and distractible. I have am "even keel" when it comes to intensity. I have a very low sensory threshold when it comes to visual and auditory stimuli. I am highly adaptable and persistent. And, I am a "people" person who NEVER ever meets a stranger. Over the years I have learned to embrace my temperamental traits and have developed coping skills when my hard-wired tendencies overwhelm me and others. As a child my temperamental traits weren't always recognized. It took me long after my college years to fully recognize and embrace who I am as a person...the consummate "late bloomer", I suppose.

"Each of us is born into the world as someone; we spend the rest of our lives trying to find out who." – Dean Homer and Peter Copeland, Living with Our Genes


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