Ever wonder why some people are positive and others are negative?   Many are ambiguous, but we all know those that are more extreme in either direction.  Those attitudes can make or break a friendship, a family, an organization.

Usually I’m a positive person.  I will actively look for the bright side of things.  There HAS to be a silver lining somewhere….and dammit, I will find it 😉   I need something to look forward to; something positive to feel, experience, to imagine.   If I manifest it, it will come.  There are those whose negativity brings me down.  WAY down.  I don’t like feeling like that, and my natural inclination is to try to help these people see life isn’t ALL doom and gloom.  Sometimes they come around, and they feel better.  Sometimes they don’t.  If they chose to remain wallowing in their negativity, I chose to avoid them like the plague.  We all get to make choices!

Negativity is contagious.  It can spread like wildfire.  It’s especially toxic in an environment where you have to interact with these type of people on a regular basis, such as a family member or coworker.  Some are like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh….always down and out.  Then you have those that are VERY vocal about their unhappiness, unwillingness to change or to see things from anyone else’s point of view except their own narrow position.  I envision many of these people operating from a place of fear.   Fear of failure.  Fear of losing.  Fear of change.

My Mantra

In my own dealings with these people, there are things I silently remind myself:

  • I do not have to make their issues my issues
  • They are responsible for themselves, and conversely, I cannot “make” them happy.  It’s an inside job.
  • I am responsible for my own happiness.   I, meaning me, alone.  Nobody else.

Life isn’t a contest.  Who cares who has the most stuff?  It isn’t about stuff anyway!  Or job title, type of car you drive, or how much you paid for that bauble your wife is wearing around her neck.  And it’s not about who is the most whatever – the most miserable, who has it worse.   So many people seem to try to “one up” each other these days; or maybe I just notice it more.  Have you ever come from a place you felt was a true or close understanding of a situation only to be told you had no idea how bad things were, there was NO WAY you could have experienced anything this bad, let alone empathize with it?   How on earth would someone know what I have experienced?  I may not verbalize everything.  I may not walk around with a long face all the time when things are tough.  In fact, they may very well be the ones who have NO IDEA.  I just have to shrug and move on.   The older I get, the more I get it.  It’s all about how we treat each other.

Worry Robs us of Today

Worrying is not going to pay the bills, make you healthy, fix the broken water pipe in the basement, reign in that out of control kid, or repair your marriage.  We have all made mistakes.  What we do afterwards is what really matters.  How do we make things right?  Beating yourself up for things that happened in the past isn’t constructive unless you learn something from it.  Learn the lesson, then move on.  LET IT GO.   The only thing worry, unhappiness, and negativity does is eliminate the ability for us to be in the moment.  If you spend your time worrying about things that happened in the past, or what might happen in the future, you can’t be present at this exact moment in time.  And that is really all that’s promised to us. This moment, right now.

Make the most of it.