I have this thing that I say lately: “You can deal with negative things negatively or you can deal with negative things positively. Choose!”
And it’s actually deeper than a quick, clever (if I do say so) word play. In it we recognize A. There are negative things to deal with, and B. I can choose my approach.
I know a particular person who is happiest when they’re negative. It’s like watching someone nail their own foot to the floor and complain about it. Fascinating..
I mean, the best thing in the world could happen to them and they’d pause and say “You know who’s NOT a good husband?” Or “So I got the wrong change at the store so I gave them a piece of my mind!”
Good for you! Nothing like yelling at a teenage girl for making a mistake so you can feel better about your boring life…
But the funny thing is, being negative is the only thing that puts a smile on their face.
Every time I was around them I found myself looking for fault in other people and complaining when I actually hate complaining because the home I grew up in was positive. I think I was doing it to impress them?
That makes sense, impressing negative people by using their critical currency. So I told Erin “I’m going to be happy around that person. What’s up with her anyways?”
Erin: “Her life is small and it makes her feel important.”
Ouch. Heartless Pastor Erin! But so true…
My parents were pastors, and if pastors start seeing everything in a negative light believe me when I say it’s not a good thing. Contrary to popular belief (if you’ve never been educated and think the only real work a pastor does is a half hour Sundays), pastoring people is a nightmare. Let’s see, we have all of the problems every other family has PLUS your problems too! Oh and it might come as a shock but when you’re in a crisis it’s waaaay easier to blame anybody else but you, including the people trying to help… like pastors!
There’s never an end to negativity, especially when we had a busy baptism coming up (28!), and all the crazy comes out of the wood work. Even the normal people start acting funny!
So after my Positivity Decision I decided my life was not small and being critical should never make me feel good. Who cares if someone else is doing worse than you? How does that make you better? Is it a backwards race to failure? He who fails the least wins? NOT failing is not the same thing as winning.
Is it like being chased by a bear, you don’t have to be the fastest, you just can’t the slowest?
On the other hand my dad has more than his share of negative things and people to deal with, but you’d never catch him moping or being critical. There were times he had to critique someone, because he didn’t live under a rock and it’s not honouring to people to ignore issues in their lives, but he refused to cross the line to being a critical person. That’s what gave him influence and made him worth following.
I will pick a positive non-talented person with a bit of grit over a superstar who’s negative. Why? Because they’re not fun! Fun people get better results! I have believed you can have a laugh dealing with hard things for years, and it’s made me resilient…. AND FUN.
I never wanted a world the size of my own family or yard. If I did I suppose I’d have to squint at people outside of my tiny sphere and wonder what they wanted from me or let the laughter of their kids playing football on the path behind my house annoy me?
One day I woke up and decided I’d rather not be bogged down with a small life. What happens when you’re seventy, retired, and you wake up and your tiny life is perfect and the grass is already cut for the week? How depressing to have missed the point that your life was never supposed to be about you? Or safe?
Oh well, to each their own.
My dad also said such alarming things as “not everyone will like you” and “no one is thinking about you half as much as you think they are”.
But he always said it with a little smirk that refused to take himself too seriously, and he never complained about something he could affect.
Which meant he never complained because he wasn’t a victim.
You can complain OR you can make a difference, but you can’t do both.
And he also knew that joy was a decision to make, not a circumstance to align…