Admittedly, this is an odd topic for me to be posting about.
This isn’t about overt negativity (though that is a problem as well, just not one I wish to tackle here and now), rather, this is about the passive, subtle, invasive, and far more difficult to accurately identify negativity. Negativity which manifests itself in such common ways as to be virtually unnoticed let alone identified as negative.
I’ve been working on the concept for this post in my head over the past three months now. But today it came to me from such a different perspective, that I’ve had to stop and re-evaluate how I put this out there. So let me be clear here: everything in this post stems from bits I don’t like about myself, things I see as a reflection of me elsewhere in the world both on-line and off.
I’ve noticed in the past 37+ years of my life, what I will call a personality trait geared towards negativity. Some may call it pessimism, and at times it is (lord knows no one has ever mistaken me for an optimist). At other times, I’d go as far as to call it a sense of entitlement or selfishness. But, most often, it is just a subtlety of verbiage which casts a grey pall upon the mundane; a way of simply missing the positive in a situation and instead focusing on a down-side, problem, or general dislike.
With the abundance of over-sharing on the social web, this negativity is highlighted and brought into greater focus. Complaints, or simply negatively tinged updates run rampant and, by my guesstimation, likely make up as much as 65% of all posts on social sites. Obviously I am shooting from the hip here, with no real data to back this up, just observation over the past few years, but regardless of actual numbers the sentiment stands: there is constant negativity around us all. And it is getting worse. (See what I did there?)
Something as simple as lamenting what that doughnut your boss brought in for the team at work is going to do to your diet seems innocuous enough as single status update. But, when combined with all the other updates coming across your wall/feed/dash, and in such numbers from the same people, you can’t help but be affected by it all… sooner or later that negativity will get to you, even when (or perhaps especially if) you are one of the worst offenders of it all.
Because I am as much of a perpetrator of this problem as I also observe it, I’d like to challenge you to take a moment with me and look at our own posts/status/updates over the past week and try to see them from a different perspective: are those posts tinged with a negative slant? Are the positive ones actually born of a negative perspective? Is there a way to shift the complaint to a win? Join me and let’s work to shift our perspective to the positive and see what happens!
I figure if I try and change the small stuff, the Tweets/ Facebook statuses/ G+ updates/ Blog posts, those things which I have editorial review over before clicking the share or publish button, perhaps it will become habit and bleed into other areas in my life. Perhaps, just perhaps, a slight adjustment here or there will have more dramatic ripple effects and the people around me will soon find me to be more pleasant to interact with and not as negative a person as I’ve been for the past few decades.
I’ll tell you, tough as it is for me, I feel better already.
2 thoughts on “Negativity…”
Dude! Okay, first of all–I did this! I definitely noticed a trend towards the negative in my outlook/communication a few years ago, and I made a conscious choice to fix it up.
As a consequence, I have a zero tolerance policy for folks who use social media exclusively to bitch. Also the acronym “FML.” I hide folks who have nothing useful, interesting, or happy to contribute to my reading–not that I silence everyone the first time they say something negative, but if that’s all they’re saying? Yeah, gone.
Weirdly, I’ve never felt even the slightest urge to hide your stuff on any of my social media–maybe I’m biased, but maybe your posts aren’t as negative as you think they are.
There’s a saying that I totally don’t believe in: “Happiness is a choice.” I have a mood disorder, okay? Sometimes I can’t just choose to be happy. What I can choose to do is to be hopeful, optimistic, and try to put my best foot forward, emotionally speaking. I wish you luck doing the same. I think it’ll help people other than just you. 🙂
Thanks Sarah! I’ve replied on Google+ as the discussion there is a bit more active and interesting 😉
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