My students often ask me what my favorite perspective of psychology is. “I like them all,” I answer. “They all have some truth to them.”
Today, however, I’m leaning towards the cognitive perspective. Not only does it focus on thinking and remembering, but it also takes a look at just how thoughts can shape reality. In Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s words, “Change your thoughts and change your world.” Here’s how this applies to me.
Writing is a process, right? People who write are always changing things up. They cross out words…sometimes whole sentences. Sometimes they throw the whole thing in the trash, so to speak. In fact, the above-mentioned Dr. Peale reportedly threw the manuscript of The Power of Positive Thinking in the trash and forbade his wife to remove it. Tired of being rejected by publishers, he just wanted the humiliation to end. Thank goodness, he had a clever wife who believed in the importance of what he had written because she took the manuscript, trashcan and all, to a publisher, and the rest is history.
Back to my story. I recall reading that sometimes depressed people magnify their shortcomings and minimize their successes. I tell students this is like someone with a 3.9 GPA who continues to berate himself because of a B or two along the line while ignoring the dozens of A’s. That’s crazy thinking! I’m not depressed, but the concept is the same. I have a tendency to zero in on things I know aren’t perfect and take for granted the things that are fine, just fine.
As of today I’ve revised the hardcopy version of the book (Crossing the Bridge) seven times and am considering tweaking the eBook version again. When I added some new pictures to the text last week, I also played around with the “picture position” option in Word. The manuscript looked great in the Kindle Reviewer, but when the final version became available, things had gone awry. The spacing and indentions were off a bit in about half a dozen areas.
My husband said, “Let it go. Those aren’t really errors.”
I listened politely, knowing that as soon as he was out of the house, I was going to fix the problem. That was two days ago, and I’ve done nothing to the eBook. I’ve been busy with a family wedding, true, but that’s not really what has kept me away from the computer. It’s the phrase about magnifying imperfections and minimizing strengths that has resurfaced out of nowhere. A message from my unconscious perhaps?
This morning I dipped into Simple Abundance by Sarah ban Breathnach. She writes about a woman who acted like a “raving lunatic” when her first book was published, not because she was excited but because she had used the wrong verb tense in one sentence. From the March 23rd entry, “Instead of celebrating her achievement, she robbed herself of joy.” Breathnach then goes on to say that Amish quilters will deliberately add a mismatched patch to each quilt as a reminder that only Spirit can create perfectly.
I needed those reminders today. It’s Sunday, and if and when I work on those spacing mishaps, it won’t be today. Today I’m going for joy as I remember those Amish quilts.