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Rose-colored glasses

Published October 05. 2013 09:00AM

When I was a young child, my mother used the term "rose-colored glasses" a lot. She most often said it to my father, who had a positive attitude about life. I think Mom was trying to tell Dad that life wasn't always as wonderful as he thought it was.

If you know anything about "rose-colored glasses," you know that they allow the viewer to see life as a pretty color, even if the world is a dark gray or even charcoal black. In other words, seeing life as you wish it could be instead of how it actually is.

I have lived most of my life with rose-colored glasses on the front of my face. The glass is half full, not half empty. The big storm will miss our town by hundreds of miles. The lump in my breast is just a cyst. The car noise is something simple that won't cost much to fix. Our grandson in the Air Force won't have to spend one minute in Afghanistan or Iraq.

It's very simple to tell yourself positive affirmations. That's the bedrock of an optimist. We fight being depressed and we force ourselves to think of a good result for a bad event.

Shakespeare once wrote, "All looks yellow to the jaundiced eye." He was describing a pessimist. When the world looks wrong to you, your eye is jaundiced. You can't see the positive things because your attitude makes it difficult to perceive goodness and happiness.

There is most likely a happy medium between the optimist and the pessimist. That would be someone who can keep a tender balance - sitting on the middle of a see-saw, knowing that life has its ups and downs, but not being adversely affected by the downs and not being overly euphoric about the ups.

E. Hubbard wrote "A pessimist is a man who has been forced to live with an optimist." That's probably true. It must drive my patient husband crazy when I try to assign a positive element to a negative situation. For instance: "This traffic jam will give us time to hear the end of that 50's song." Or, "I don't think Jeff Gordon made that accident happen on purpose. He's such a gentleman."

If you have a choice, isn't it better to think positive thoughts? Life is hard enough without making it harder. If you wake up each morning and find something wrong in the news before eating your breakfast, the rest of the day can be negatively affected.

My Dad had a great attitude. He thought the best about people. He said to me, "Try to help the other guy." He was the kind of man who would give you the shirt off his back. Some mornings, I could hear him whistling in the bathroom.

Dad was the kind of man who saw through rose-colored glasses but also knew that life could be hard. I think he was the kind of guy who sat in the middle of that see-saw.

I so desperately want to be my father's daughter.

If you would like to contact Dr. Smith, she can be reached at or in care of this newspaper.

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