Negativity

Negativity has been coming at me from many sides lately. For one, I’ve been riding with my mom this last month since our schools are across the highway from each other. Thing is, she does most of the talking, and much of it is complaining, from school to being broke to my youngest brother not needing her anymore, to how they never get to go to their land. It’s exhausting. I hurt for unhappy she must be, but at the same time, I kind of rise up in kind, complaining myself. Now, I love my job (which she clearly doesn’t) and I hate that I get there in a bad mood because she is. I’m going to try to find the courage to talk to her about it today. If you don’t hear from me, it may be that she left me on the side of the road.

So this is the mindset I went into watching The Family Stone. I’d heard others say it wasn’t the rom/com they marketed as. It was quite simply, a family of jerks. JERKS. Okay, Sarah Jessica Parker wasn’t the nicest person, and she was kind of stupid (which made you wonder how she interacted in the business world, where she was clearly successful) but the family prejudged her based on one bitchy sister, and then her support system – her REASON FOR BEING THERE – dropped out from beneath her. I guess the mistakes the writers made was making her too sympathetic, to me, anyway. But I really wanted to throttle Diane Keaton’s character (and I LOVE Diane Keaton). She raised a bunch of JERKS. I went to bed with such an ugly feeling.

Then I read a friend’s email that there’s a big brouhaha going on at AAR. I resisted going. I did. I knew that kind of negativity isn’t good for me. I took a bunch of blogs off my blogroll last year because they were so negative. All that happens when I read that stuff is that I get madder and madder. I’m afraid to post, because people jump on your case, and I am not very good at defending myself. But I went to see what it was all about, finally stopped myself from reading more. (Though I honestly want to know why everyone thinks RWA is the devil. It’s an organization run by volunteers who give up a lot of their own personal time, and then get attacked in public forums. I’m not saying they’re perfect, but nothing, not even the ill-advised surveys last summer, make them deserve this.)

I’ve long ago quit email loops with negative people, or I skip their posts. I align myself with positive people at work. That’s not to say we never complain, but we also try to work out solutions. Isn’t that the only way to combat negativity? What do you do?

Also related, what would you say the difference between negativity and sadness is? I want to see the last Grey’s Anatomy again, and while it was sad, I felt it was also positive (except for Meredith!).

So, here's something positive.

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Sigh.

12 comments:

Paula said...

Life is too short and too fragile to weight it down with negativity. Constant complaining doesn't accomplish much unless the complaints are directed at someone who can actually fix things.

I understand people needing to vent, especially if--like your mom--there's not so much they can do to improve the situation at her school or something like that. But there's a tipping point where the venting just becomes wallowing in bad feelings. That's not healthy for anyone--the wallower or the person who gets splashed by all the mud slung off by the wallower.

Ick, that was an unpleasant metaphor, wasn't it? :)

Joanna K. Moore said...

Mar, when I had my epiphany on this subject, I made a vow...no more feeding the beast. Because that is what negativity is...a beast that is never full, always looking for more, more, more.

J

Stacy Dawn said...

Negativitiy is just that, negative thoughts while sadness is an emotion that surfaces in different situations.

But I agree, people don't realize that their negativity affects those around them. Good luck with talking to your mom. Maybe it will help her too.

Rene said...

OMG, we should get our mothers together. My mom is exactly the same way and I want to throttle her.

Now I remember why I quit going to AAR (yeah, I sneaked over there). I do think negativity breeds more negativity and I've quit groups because of it. There's enough going on in my life I don't need to wallow in other people's bad feelings.

mary beth said...

HUGS Mary!
I loved that GA scene. Loved, loved, loved it!
And you're so right about negativity breeding negativity. I tell my students that all the time. when the yearbooks first came out this year, the kids LOVED them. By day two a couple people were griping. By day three a lot were. It's so catchy. Our motto there is kill 'em with kindness and say hey, you could be on yearbook. In situations like AAR, it doesn't work. So the only thig you can do is check in, voice your opinion if you dare and then check back out.

MaryF said...

Unpleasant but apt, Paula. I'm with you on the life's too short thing. Plus, I'm at a place in my life where I LIKE my life. I'm happy (it took me awhile after my grandmother died to let myself be happy, too. Seems every time I was, something else terrible happened.) I want to enjoy this.

JoAnn, I try not to feed the beast, but sometimes I'm just so...curious.

Stacy, of course I chickened out from talking to my mom. She was better today after voicing some concerns to her principal, so we'll see. And she's taking off Monday (I can't imagine taking off the last week of school! So much to do!) So that should relax her.

Rene, sorry I sent you back to AAR - but you're right, that's the same reason I quit going over there! Hugs on dealing with your mom.

Thanks, Mary Beth. Yeah, you're never going to make everybody happy. We had several parents complain about the 5th grade graduation last night. They wanted the awards listed, though the teachers had already given the awards in a separate ceremony at school. Heck, it was already 2 hours long! Mamacita.

Toni Anderson said...

Mary, I hate going to places where everything is down down down. And I avoid people who are like that if I can. Everyone can have a down day, or be passionate about something enough to vent, but to drag others down is a skill some people could make the Olympics with.

Please God never turn me into an eternal whiner.

Toni Anderson said...

PS. LOVE the picture :)

MaryF said...

Toni, I want to post this picture Every Day.

It took me a long time to realize that being around negative people made me negative. I think I finally learned the lesson last year when I left the School From Hell, where no one was happy. At the new school, people still complained, but I was like, "You have NO idea."

Trish Milburn said...

I know how being around negative people can suck the joy and life right out of you. You have to protect yourself and your happiness because the world would be a much nicer place if there weren't so many negative, unhappy, griping people. Have you ever just walked through the mall and listened to other people's snippets of conversation? It's amazing how many of them are complaining about something. I noticed that today while doing a little shopping.

Amie Stuart said...

Sh*tdisturbers--Face it Mary...some people can walk past a beehive and never give it a second glance...then there are the folks who have to pull out the aluminum bat and take a swing *sigh*

Some people are just unhappy--some people want everyone else to be as unhappy as they are, some people REVEL in being unhappy.

I like Joannas no more feeding the beast philosophy =)

MaryF said...

Interesting about the snippets of conversation, Trish. People do seem generally unhappy. I'm doing my best to protect myself, because I'm in a good place, you know!

Cece, I like your description!

I will definitely talk to my mom this week.

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