Thursday, April 2, 2009

Killing Negative Nellie

You know those people who are so damn negative you'd like to duct tape their mouths shut, so they don't ruin your day. I used to be one of them. Back in college, as a matter of fact. On any given day, and for any occasion, I could find something to grouse about.

And negativity is contagious. I look back on those years, and I know exactly who I caught mine from. Her name was MaryJo, and she was trapped in her sad little world. How she became my best friend, I'll never know. Maybe I was in a bad place, and we fed off each other. I do know that when our relationship dissolved, everyone I knew told me how much better they liked me. It could be that my mood improved over summer break, and that's why our friendship fell apart. Or it's possible our friendship fell apart thus improving my mood. Looking back now, I can't remember the sequence of events.

Anyway, I digress. Where was I?

Ah yes, negativity. I hate negative people now, and I avoid them like the plague. I mean, who wouldn't, right? No one needs all that sludge in their lives.

Sometime in the past few months, I became one of those people I hate. It didn't happen overnight. Never does, or I'd have caught it earlier. Nope, the realization came on me a few days ago - right around the time of the blog-change. I was on the fast track toward becoming a Negative Nellie.

Killing Negative Nellie, though, isn't as hard as it seems. It's all about making a choice. When presented with a situation, you can either think about it in a positive light or you can go all negative. You can choose to practice something called 'optimistic realism' or you can live in a world of subjective pessimism. Of course, you have to be cognizant of what's on your mind to not have Negative Nellie slip in while you aren't looking, but you can do it. Or rather, I can do it.

You have to be vigilant. Nellie likes to sneak up on you. She's not a shouter. She whispers in your ear that you aren't good enough, or the day's not sunny enough, or the breeze isn't breezy enough. Hers is the voice that tells you your new dress makes your butt look big, and your little successes aren't worthy of celebration. She spreads self-doubt and makes the world seem like a much more horrible place than it really is.

And she's part of me. (Maybe she's part of you, too.)

I've decided to try and kill Negative Nellie. With my new found commitment to writing, I'm committed to becoming a more positive person*.

Now if I can just kill Nellie well enough so she stays dead.

Are you a negative or a positive person? Do you know people like MaryJo (I mean other than the negative version of me)?

*More positive doesn't mean turning into Pollyanna, but simply viewing everything from a more positive perspective.



    I kid, of course. I waver back and forth, because sometimes I fear I let my optimism soar too high, and the fall hurts too much--but then I hop to the other side of the spectrum, and the deep negativity undermines my confidence, and probably that of those around me. I can have...well, a sharp tongue, and I'm almost always kidding, but people don't seem to know that...argh.

    So I'm working on a balance right now. "Realism" is the word of the year for me.

    Good luck with the slaughter =)

  2. I like to think I'm a positive person. I try anyway.