Negative energy. It is always around you. There is always someone who will be around to dish that out when you least expect it. That negative energy is very powerful. Someone who is very negative can turn your happy mood into a bad one very quickly. It is like water. In a cup, it is contained and will stay in the cup. The second you pour it out on the floor, it spreads everywhere. It finds every groove in the tile, it goes from taking up a very small amount of space in the cup (surface area, not volume), to a very wide space along the floor.
To me, that is negativity. The cup represents the person. The second that person decides to pour out that negativity, it spreads far and wide. It could be complaining, short temper, being impatient, resentment, being hateful, or just bring cranky. Also, something as simple as a complaint or gossip, that can have the same impact. Most do not view gossip as being negative, but it is. What gossiping does is it makes everyone think that it is okay to talk behind the back of other people. That it is okay to talk about what this person or that person is doing. The offenders I find who are constant are those in fashion. They rate the the outfits of celebrities on the red carpet. Does it really matter what they wear? Some of the things they come up with, like complaining about a choice of shoes, does it matter? Is fashion nothing more than an opinion? Who says that your opinion is factual, even if you are in the industry? For every outfit one person loves, there will be another who finds a flaw in it, or just plain does not like it.
It does not even matter. It is curious how judgmental people have become over what they see. The first impression is all that matters, not what is underneath. I used to believe that. I used to dress up in high school. My freshman year, I was known as a “prep”. In short, I was wearing jeans, decently nice shoes and some designer named polo shirt or dress shirt. I wanted to fit in and wanted to look the part. Then something happened after that year. I started to open my eyes. I figured out that my close friends, to them it did not matter what I was wearing. I was still myself, no matter what is on the outside. Over the summer break, I wore soccer shorts, t-shirts and beat up cross-trainers. Nobody judged me on that.
The following year, I changed. I wore more comfortable (cheaper) attire. I grew my hair out some. I did not have designer anything. I went from preppy, to just another kid in the crowd. Interestingly enough, those who were my friends before, were still my friends after. My point is, I know people judged based on my outward appearance in my freshman year. They accepted me as “one of their own” because of this. Then when I came back, the ice was already broken. Even though I changed my outward appearance some, they still knew me, and I did not change other than that. I was still accepted.
Why is this? Why do people judge based on appearance. A part of me blames society, while another part just blames ourselves. We have been taught to look out for “shady” characters, to not talk to strangers, and to stay away from drugs. There is nothing wrong with this, because parents simply do not want anything bad to happen to their kids. I will most likely do the same thing. However, it does cause separation. By creating a split, we judge based on appearance. It just happens. You may look at someone and have a slight doubt about the quality of their character. Based on this initial assessment, you will or will not speak to the person, or even be in the same room as that person. I do believe part of it is in our DNA with the “fight or flight” response. If we are uncomfortable, we react to the situation almost instinctively. We either stay and risk “fighting” it out, or we “flight” to get out of dodge.
What is my point of this post? Ahhh, I am getting there.
So we all react to different people in a different manner. To me, when I was in high school, I knew all kinds of people. Part of this was because of my elementary years. We moved in the middle of my elementary education. Fortunately for me, both schools fed into the same junior high. When I hit 6th grade, I instantly found myself surrounded by old and new friends alike. It put me in a great situation socially. People were asking me who is that, and I knew the answer. I realized later in life that I knew just about everyone in my grade every single year. I could say hi to just about anyone in the halls my senior year, and they would say hi back because they knew of me, and I them. It was a blessing in disguise.
I learned through those years that people are all different, and many will surprise you. Some dressed a certain way just because, like me, it was comfortable. Some just did not care what others thought. Others had to fit into a certain clique. And some just dressed that way because that is how they always have dressed. I am not sure if anyone threw me into a classification, but I am sure some did. I looked like a “skater”, as it was known back then. I had somewhat shaggy hair, t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers (often those old Airwalks or Adidas Sambas…played soccer too). I pretty much looked like the skateboard heads of back then. Actually I’m sure some may have classified me in other similar groups as well, but I did not mind. Some may have been confused since I knew and could speak to anyone of any grouping. I was a “band nerd” who hung out with the “preps”, “jocks”, “drama freaks”, “shop heads”, “head bangers”, “pot heads” or whatever. I have heard many creative ways to label people. I think it is a constant state to make oneself seem more important that others; to stand out from the crowd.
That is what many do, whether we intend to or not. I suppose it is okay to an extent. You know, to be safe and keep yourself out of danger or trouble. Yet to label someone in order to push them down so you can raise yourself up, well that is no way to live your life. You will spread that negativity all over the place. Some people cannot take that pressure as well as others, and that is when you hear of the young girl or boy who took their life because of bullying. Parents, please be a parent to your children and not a friend. You have years to be a friend. However, when they are living under your roof, they do not need a friend, but a parent. They need someone to help them feel positive about themselves, to teach them morals, to discipline them when they do wrong, to simply be a parent.
I used to really dislike my mother when I was young. We butted heads more often than not and I wanted out of the house so badly. Yet, to this day, I am thankful that she held her ground. You see, I had some great friends (some I still speak with to this day), but I also had some bad influences. My mom did what she could to keep me from being in bad situations. Sure, it stunk back then, but honestly it was really the best thing for me. Thanks mom.
Okay, okay, I will get on with my point. Be positive. Know that no matter the situation you are in, there is better. Even if you are having a tough time in life, it will pass sooner or later. This whole year was a tough one for myself, my wife, and my whole family. There was a lot of stress, a lot of worry, sadness, and exhaustion. I will not get into the details, but it was a tough one. Yet I know there is a silver lining. I know the difficulties will end eventually. Life is a sine wave. There are ups and downs. I just happen to be in a “down” part this year (my whole family actually). So that means there is an “up” on the horizon.
I also have been concentrating on limiting my participation in gossip. I try to think before I speak. Especially on social media sites. I really have started to think, “is this negative? Am I complaining? Do these words hurt anyone? Can anyone learn from what I am saying? Am I slamming anyone else? Am I being a pain in the butt?” All of these, and more, cross my mind. I just feel we could all conduct our lives in a more positive manner.
One thing I tend to do is complain, even though it is often in jest. I simply speak something innocently, but it COULD be taken the wrong way by someone. If that person does not truly know me, it could be taken out of context. If there is any doubt, I try not to write it. We must be positive. In a world filled with negative energy, being positive is like a light in a dark room. That is the true way to shine. It is easy to shower insults, complaints, and negative energy. Yet it takes work and determination to push yourself to spread positive energy. Smiling while someone is shouting. Laughing instead of frowning. Living by example is the key. Do not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Lead by example. That is what I am trying to do.
I have the tendency to be negative when I am tired or hungry. I try very hard to catch myself before it gets to that point. It is not easy. It is work, hard work, but in the end I know it pays off. People do not remember those who yell at them or was mean to them years later. Well, okay, they may, but it is not a positive memory. I want to be remembered in a positive light. I want to be remembered in relation to a smile, not a frown or scowl.
Having reminders to act a certain way is a great tool. Back in high school I had a bracelet that said “W.W.J.D.?” Which means what would Jesus do? It was a constant reminder to be friendly and nice no matter the attitude of the other person. That was instrumental in my keeping sane while working in fast food. People would tell you their order, you took it, repeated it back to them, and they would complain that you got their order wrong. You politely say that you repeated it back to them and it was confirmed correct, but they still insist, often loudly, that YOU are incorrect. Well, you know for a fact you did take it as they stated it and verified with them that it was indeed correct. Yet you are the “ignorant” (I have been called that before) person who cannot take an order correctly. It took all kinds of energy to not lash out at the person and wear a smile. That is what that reminder was for. In the end, by acting in a positive manner, I could push that negative energy away from me very quickly. If I had taken in that negativity, I would have then became negative myself, making the day that much worse. I did not want to become an angry bird.
So please, keep your light shining. Stay in that positive mindset. If it seems that nothing is going right today, just smile, take a deep breath, and tell yourself that it will get better. Positive people are few and far between. We need more lights in a sea of darkness. Please, be a light and spread a positive mindset to others. Smile at someone who looks like they are having a bad day. Smiles can be just as contagious. Life can indeed be good.
This post reminds me of a Christian song I really like by Addison Road. It is called “This Little Light of Mine”. I think it relates to this post quite a bit.
Ride on my friends.