A comment on a blog I was reading earlier today mentioned “negativity breeds negativity,” and it summed up the very thoughts I’ve been having recently.
In general, I’m not a negative person; at least, I try not to be. The more time I spend with friends, though, the more I’m realizing how many people are pessimists who complain about everything. I’ve decided I can’t take it and am working on ways to surround myself with more positive people.
For the past 14 years, I’ve been a volunteer with a phenomenal organization, River Valley Riders (RVR), a therapeutic horseback riding program for individuals with disabilities in the Twin Cities area. Everyone there is so positive, caring and welcoming. I love the “work” of helping riders with disabilities work with horses, which provides them with positive changes physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. It’s amazing and I’m always surrounded by smiles when I’m there. To be honest, though, it’s the positive, friendly people that have kept me there so long.
Recently, my personal life outside of RVR has been less positive. In one day, I spent two different meals with very negative people and it’s made me not want to spend time with these particular people. I’m now brainstorming ways to find new friends who know how to smile and be happy for other people. Thank goodness for my positive, laid-back boyfriend (Love you, Nate!) and his sweet, smiley son.
A few nights ago, I seriously considered getting up in the middle of my meal and leaving the restaurant in response to someone who was not only negative, but also very rude. Had I not been so hungry, I would have left and probably should have flagged the waitress down and taken my food with me anyway. It’s hard for me to understand how people can be so pessimistic when they have the basics that so many people do not…this particular person has a job, a house, a car, someone they love to spend their time with, all of their limbs and their health, along with “toys” for fun. Truly, what’s so bad that you have to complain non-stop?
Many of the super positive people I know through RVR and Special Olympics have less (parents that are unemployed, children with a disability, families struggling financially due to family health issues, etc) than the whiney, pessimistic people I know; yet, these people who are dealing with serious issues on a daily basis are friendlier, more optimistic and more fun to be around than my the fortunate “friends” who have all of their basic needs met. It’s frustrating!
I’ve decided that I’m not going to spend my time with unhappy complainers. I don’t have the time or patience for people who are crabby for no reason. It’s not my fault they’re unhappy with their lives, so I don’t need to listen to it continually. I’ll invite them to call when they have a REAL problem they need to talk about. Sure, this may make me seem heartless, but sometimes we need to do what’s best for ourselves. Distancing myself from negativity before it becomes contagious is what’s best for me. I encourage others to do the same. After all, if negativity breeds negativity, let’s stop the breeding!