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Trying not to get your hopes up: Y/N?

McKinley Valentine — 2 min read
Trying not to get your hopes up: Y/N?
Photo by Ahmed Hasan / Unsplash

A tiny parable! About 5 years ago, I submitted an article to Cracked, a website that at the time I loved and read every day. And it made through to "we're probably going to publish it but we haven't signed the contract yet, so it's not 100% locked in". And I was really, really happy, hugely chest-burstingly happy - but then I thought, well, they might still say No. I shouldn't get my hopes. I'll be so disappointed. And I successfully smooshed down the happy excitement.

And then like a month later or something, it got published... and I felt nothing. Because I had smooshed down my excitement. It should have been an amazing milestone for me - it got like 800,000 views or something, because Cracked, which is more people than will probably read anything I write again, so, legitimately amazing - and I totally wasted it by not being able to be excited about it. And would I really not have felt disappointed if it hadn't ended up happening? I'm not convinced.

So now I think: you should try to feel any good feeling you can. Maybe you'll be disappointed later, but happy feelings are not so easily come by that you should squander them for no reason, just in case.

My advice is, which you might disagree with, is: get your hopes up.

Happiness is hard, so spend what you have, don't wait till some later date because it might not be there to spend. You can't like, bank it so you don't have to feel disappointment in the future. Who knows how different you'll be in the future.

(To be clear, I'm not still regretting the Cracked thing, it was just the point at which I learned the lesson.)

"There is nothing protective about pessimism"

"There is nothing protective about pessimism. I was convinced for a long time that if you expect a poor outcome, it hurts less. It's actually easier to cope with failure if you spend most of your time celebrating and expecting the positive, building up your reserves of happiness and strength, instead of creating huge unceasing loads of psychic stress based on assuming things will go wrong."

from the MetaFilter thread “What have you been wrong about, realized it, and it changed your life?”

This piece was originally published in The Whippet #59 & 60 – subscribe to get the next one in your inbox!

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