Curing Eeyore

“Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream and looked at himself in the water.

‘Pathetic,’ he said. ‘That’s what it is. Pathetic.’

He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.

‘As I thought,’ he said. ‘No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that’s what it is.’” (Excerpt from Winnie the Pooh)

Everyone knows an Eeyore, someone who is habitually negative or pessimistic and can find a way to rain on even the happiest of parades. Eeyores find problems in every solution, constantly expect the worst, and project their unhappiness onto everyone around them.

Sometimes this disposition is clinical in nature and needs to be treated medically. Clinical depression cannot be pep-talked away and it does not need to be confronted–it needs to be treated so the sufferer can find relief and return to a happier, healthier state. On the other hand, there are times when a person’s Eeyore mentality is simply a character state that needs to change. Chronic criticism and negativity poisons relationships, assassinates joy, and damages faith. Unchecked, people with an Eeyore mentality will hurt themselves, exhaust their friends, and pollute the atmosphere in the 40-acre wood.

We are especially vulnerable to this kind of discouragement and negativity during times of personal or cultural upheaval or uncertainty. So, at the risk of offering pat, overly simplistic counsel let me suggest some potential cures for Eeyore’s gloominess:

  1. Determine whether your Eeyore-ness needs to be professionally treated or merely rejected. If there is any way that medical help could mitigate discouragement or depression, please take advantage of it.
  2. Go on a “thank you” fast. Designate some time to express gratitude for every blessing you can identify regardless of how small or insignificant it might be.
  3. Embark on a total life makeover, an aggressive but realistic campaign to overhaul your fitness, budget, friendships, hobbies, and self-esteem. Incremental improvement in these areas will bolster confidence and improve your outlook on life.
  4. Join a small group where you can get support and go public with your plans to change.
  5. Read…pray…worship…reach out—do whatever it takes to get in God’s presence and linger there. He adores you, He will meet you and show you that His ultimate plan for you is good.

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