Positive versus negative

I try to pay compliments daily, sometimes frequently through the day. I think there is way too much negativity in the world and I think a compliment is a nice way of letting others know you appreciate them. Is there such a thing as being too positive? I don’t think so. Like the ripples caused when a pebble is thrown into a pond, positive words or actions will, hopefully, ricochet causing more good, and, hopefully, lessening the burdens people carry. At least, that is what my small efforts hope to achieve. I have been called a “suck up” for complimenting a teacher (once) and my boss at another time. I have to admit it stung a little. But in the end, I cannot help what other people think or do, or how they interpret my words. At another time somebody accused me of being “too understanding”. I still don’t know what that means. How can a person be “too” understanding?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am as human and as fallible as the next and too often I fall into a negative cycle and hold myself to impossible standards, as well as everybody else. It’s a struggle to rid myself of the negative cesspool at times. And I know how much understanding, kindness, and sympathy mean to me when I am treading the deep waters of self recrimination.

So, I will continue to strive to understand; to pay compliments liberally. I know I am not always cheerful and positive, and that’s okay. I am only human with my own share of faults and foibles. But I will strive to be the best I can be and to learn from my mistakes.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

The Tyranny of Positivity

Negative Nellies – that’s the term people use to describe those embroiled in negative emotion. But is that fair? Are we judging people before we know what life is like for them? For example, my husband is very sick. Lately he has been battling a cough that makes it next to impossible for him to sleep at night, and consequently, me as well. He has a slew of health issues and is on several medications, which makes taking something for the cough problematic. Medications can interact with one another to make a bad situation even worse. It’s hard not to be negative when you’re sick and not getting the rest you need to recuperate.

And for me, lack of sleep combined with worry has made battling my negative demons even more of a challenge. Sometimes the societal demands to be positive when just putting one foot in front of another seems like a herculean task. Speaking for myself, it feels cruel. I am tired! So, can we cut one another a break? We don’t know what is going on in the lives of others. Can we set aside the judge’s robes and the demand for positivity?

Yes, positive emotions are easier to live with and a positive attitude is preferable to a negative one. Yet, we are all only human. Sometimes life is hard. Placing demands on people to be positive when we don’t know their situation or what issues they may be struggling with, is, frankly, inhumane in my view. Kindness and compassion will go a lot further to help people become more positive than the judgment and labeling of them as ‘negative nellies’.

Let’s be a little more gentle with ourselves, and with one another.