Wow… I don’t think I ever realized the impact negativity can have on the people around us.
I guess I understood in an academic way but somehow it is still easier to get wrapped up in my own stuff and just complain when I feel like it. I don’t think I ever viewed myself as particularly negative (though the last five years of constant family illness may have taken me there) but I also wouldn’t call myself a shiny happy person either.
However, I have come to the conclusion that I need to find a way to get the negativity out of my daily life.
The more I work on the mental side of my Lenten project of living a cancer-free life, the more I notice all the negativity around me. I have been trying hard to focus on many of the gratitude exercises I discussed during Lent. After reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, this concept of happiness has been even more in the forefront of my mind.
Lately, I feel like any time I make some progress someone kills my buzz. When I really started to take notice, I was astonished by the amount of times, not only in a day but in an hour, I hear someone make an unnecessarily negative comment. Maybe it is just my particularly stressful life situation but I don’t think so. This is a pretty negative world and, if you let it, that can have a great impact on your own happiness.
I have decided I need to let it go. I can’t change the people around me, but I can choose to stop my unnecessary negativity. There are a lot of times where people ask me how I am or when I complain with out even being asked… maybe my own negativity is a factor in the incessant whining of my children (yes, I know that is normal but lately it does seem excessive).
Noticing the negativity around me has me wondering how other people see me. Am I negative? Do I manage to suck the happiness out of a room?
I’m not sure where the boundary really lies. It has to be okay to talk to my friends and family about the challenges I face. The need for advice or moral support can’t count as negativity but, at the same time, every conversation does not have to be about what is wrong.
I certainly don’t want my friends to edit themselves because of my own personal demons. I simply learn to want to let it go myself. One of the things that struck a chord for me while reading The Happiness Project was the authors brave admission that she felt the need for a gold star for her efforts. Perhaps I need a gold star for managing through my problems. It is a concept that is pretty ridiculous. We all have challenges. Why should mine be any more important than those of someone else?
I guess, at this point, all I can do is commit to make small changes. I want to let the small stuff go. I don’t need to voice every thought in my head. I may never be a shiny, happy girl but I can commit to stop bringing others down. I’m done with all this negativity.