There are so many invisible arrows that we get to be a target for on a daily basis. There are real ones, aimed at us by those we are close to. Your family or your loved ones are not approving of your lifestyle; a boss is not happy with your performance; your neighbor dumps a pile of sand next to your fence; someone cuts you off as you try to merge on the highway…We all receive these, but you may have noticed that some people just shrug them off and others brood over them for days. What makes for the difference, so some maintain the positivity of hope and some give up living in misery?

Setting aside any genetic factors in temperament, some of these reactions are learned or culturally influenced. My grandfather was a fearful man who wanted all of the doors, and I mean those in the apartment including the bathroom door, locked every night. (Crazy, eh?) The lesson I could’ve learned was that the world is a horribly dangerous place, and we need to live in a fortress. Fortunately for me, I rebelled on the other side and acquired a more optimistic view and to hope for better days thanks to my parents. But there are also cognitive habits we develop as in focusing completely on an issue and not questioning ourselves on that obsessive way we handle it. If that habit has a physiological origin, as in attention-deficit problems, there is pharmaceutical help you can get. But if it is coming from a negative self-esteem or self-image direction, it is possible to address it emotionally, and change it to keep hope for prevailing.  

I have known many accomplished and successful people who think what they have done is not worth much. A classic example is the kid who scores a 100 on a test and dismisses it as the test being too easy. That might be true but should not take away from the sense of success. Did these successful people aim for perfection? Were they told, as a child, they were not worthy? Was that belief reinforced by any setback? We are all subject to imperfections and make mistakes, but we also have the capability to undo an error, keep hope to find the corrected way. After all, here is what that well-known master in art says:   

“Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.” ~~ Vincent Van Gogh

Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577