Years ago some of my friends and I got onto this topic and threw out the question if others had noticed how negative people are. I think part of my reasoning for asking the question was to help me determine if I personally was looking for negativity in people, having a bad day (or week), or that just people in general were negative. It's funny because I still, years later, remember what brought on the question. I had been working as a medical assistant in Hillsboro, OR and had ran to Starbucks for my daily coffee run (in between patients appointments) and during my short drive (about 3 blocks or so) I had encountered several annoyed drivers. Now I usually don't let people bother me and actually tend to make up defenses for them, such as 'there's a family emergency that the person, who is practically running me off the road, needs to to get to immediately' or 'they are just having a bad day and I just happen to be the first person they don't know, so I'm getting their frustrations', but regardless I don't let them affect me.
What made this day even more interesting (again maybe I was just more aware of the people I was around) was when I pulled into Starbucks there was a man and woman waking in front if me having a rather interesting conversation (yes I was eavesdropping). He was attempting to tell her some positive things and news while she seemed to only be spouting negative comments, one right after another. He finally stopped her and, rather bluntly, asked her if she was actually listening to what he was trying to tell her and then asked her why she always so negative. She then got a bit defensive and the two stopped to continue their conversation outside. But his comment really got me thinking, am I like her? Do I only see,hear, and focus on the negative?
Throughout the rest of the day I really paid attention to not only myself, but how people carry on their conversations, from the conversations they had, their word choices, their tone, and their body language. Overall, I noticed that the majority of conversations focused in negativity. Now this could have been partially due to working in a doctors office, because let's be honest no one goes to the doctor (or rarely goes) for fun or for positive reasons. So I decided I was going to continue my little thought process/ experiment. The end result, was I noticed certain individuals not only started their conversations in a negative manner (complaining, gossiping) but it seemed as though that was all they could talk about, even when others attempted to change the conversation into a positive one. I also learned how that negativity was impacting me. Needless to say, I made a drastic decision and started limiting and eliminating certain individuals from my life. At first I was devastated, but then it was as if boulder after boulder started to be removed from my shoulders. Since then I have been striving to be more of a positive person, from the way I present myself, carry myself, carry on conversations, and, although I am still working on this, be more aware of my body language and how it may come across to others.
Now I do understand that certain events and circumstances can alter a persons behavior, but there are some things I just don't understand, and I guess is more of the reason why I started this post.
- Why does the news only focus on negative 'news'?
- Why do people complain and attack others for their believes or views?
- Why do the majority of conversations start with a negative opening statement? or gossip?
- When something is free, whether its a service or a gift, why do people complain about it? It's free! If you don't want it, or to use it, move on.
- Why is everyone the victim? It's just not possible for everyone to be!
- Are we, as a society, nation, world, so blind we don't see the positive/ good in anything? Is all we really see the negativity of every little thing that surrounds us?
- Are we as an individual setting the example that being negative is okay? Though our words, actions, and behaviors?
- Are we able to change ourselves and those around us to be more positive? Or are we damned to be negative forever?