Lighten Up, People: Avoiding Negativity in an Increasingly Negative World

The Big Lebowski - 10th Anniversary EditionFirst off, a disclaimer. This isn’t a post that’s aimed at anyone. I’m not talking about specific people here, and there’s nothing that I’ve read that’s set me off this time. I try not to use my blog as a personal soap box to take pot shots at people. That said, I’ve seen a growing trend among many people, both in person and online, and I wanted to speak out about it.

Lighten up, folks!

My golly. There are just so many negative vibes emanating from everyone these days. People are angry at Obama. People are angry at the birthers. People are angry at Trump. Trump’s angry at everybody. People are angry at angry people. (Who–me?) So let me get this straight: Obama is bonehead for giving into the birthers and releasing his birth certificate, thereby distracting our great country from what’s really important: the royal wedding?

Don’t get me wrong. I like to grouse and complain as much as the next guy. (If you read my blog regularly, you’re well aware of that fact.) But I’ve come to a realization in the past week or so. Some people are negative. Some people aren’t. It would make sense that the negative people have had many more bad things happen to them in their lives, thus souring their outlook on life. Likewise, it would seem to follow that the positive people are ones who have just been super-blessed. Trouble never came their way, so they traipse on in blissful ignorance.

Except that’s not how it is, from my viewpoint.

How much personal pain and suffering you’ve gone through in life doesn’t seem to have a direct effect on how positive or negative you are in general. Sure, there’ll be times we’re all down some. We’re going through a rough patch. Whatever. But even then, positive people are still less negative than their negative counterparts would be in the same situation.

Why is this?

One of the things that has irked me the most recently is how much Americans on both side of the political fence seem to enjoy complaining about how awful the other side has made this country. Sorry, folks. I don’t buy it. Take a step back, and look at things from an outsider’s perspective. Imagine if you were just an ordinary Joe, and you overheard Donald Trump and Bill Gates arguing about how awful it was that Gates dinged Trump’s fender on his Bentley. How the Bentley was ruined now. Heck–even if Gates had crumpled in the passenger side door, you’d still roll your eyes some, wouldn’t you? There go the two rich kids, squabbling about stupid things while the rest of the world tries to ignore them.

Our country’s still great. Obama hasn’t ruined it. Trump won’t be able to damage it. Life will go on.

In the meantime, don’t get so darned upset about things. I’ve used politics as an example, just because it’s the easiest target, but this isn’t a political post. I’ve just noticed that some people are going to complain about everything. Nothing goes right in their life. Other people keep an even keel and look on the bright side. They don’t get down. Maybe there’s something to that whole glass-is-half-empty thing after all.

I personally don’t really enjoy being around the negative. I don’t ignore the problems happening in my life or other’s, but I don’t dwell on them, either. That way lies madness and ruin. As I look at the people I choose to do things with–people I like spending time with–I see that most of them are really positive people. Not annoyingly so, but still. People who like to keep a good, but realistic, view of the world.

I do think it’s a lifestyle choice. But maybe I’m just too darned positive. How about you? Do you think a positive attitude is a choice? Discuss . . .

Meanwhile, here’s some quotes about attitude I stumbled across online, all of which I heartily endorse.

Do you have any favorites?

If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want. ~Oscar Wilde

The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same. ~Francesca Reigler

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes. ~William James

People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Worship,” The Conduct of Life, 1860

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily. “So it is.” “And freezing.” “Is it?” “Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.” ~A.A. Milne

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