Every one of my social media haunts is blowing up over Greta Thunberg, and they should be. She is stirring the political pot and making friends and allies wherever she goes. She is creating awareness about climate change. She is making me believe in humanity again.
I can’t say enough good about her, so I won’t.
But there always have to be the people who go out of their way to make what she is doing sound pitiful and wrong. “She is being used for political gain!” “Why would I listen to a mentally ill 16-year-old?” “What has she done, the climate is worse than ever!”
I have a message for the people of the internet: Stop making everything so negative!
I’m tired of listening to you! And by “you” I mean the people on social media who feel the need to put a negative spin on everything. It doesn’t matter if they are talking about Greta Thunberg or the eggs they had for breakfast — everything has to be a problem for them.
I also realize I’m a big hypocrite by writing this story in the first place. I’m known to smear some negativity around.
Wait — where was I going with this? This tirade isn’t working out as I had envisioned it. I guess I should take a cue from Michelle Obama, and instead of going low and spouting off about the people who swim in negativity — I will go high. Let’s talk about finding a balance between good and bad.
“It is better to dwell on the beautiful things in life than the negative.” ― Lailah Gifty Akit
Is it possible to be positive all the time?
I’m a positive person. I credit my positivity with helping me in my recovery from severe mental illness. My life changed when I stopped complaining about everything and started making good changes in my life.
But even I can’t be positive 100% of the time.
I made the mistake of thinking I had to be positive every minute of the day. Where did all the negative feelings I was experiencing go? Did I push them down, only to explode out of my mouth later?
That is exactly what I did in the past.
As human beings, we feel a combination of good and bad, black and white, yin, and yang. It’s unavoidable we will feel both, and unrealistic to think we can suppress one part over the other.
“He felt that there is a loose balance of good and evil, and that the art of living consists in getting the greatest good out of the greatest evil.” ― Machado de Assis
Why am I always telling everyone to be positive?
Most people do the opposite of what I do. They allow their negative sides to wander unchecked and soon, all they focus on is the dark side. You know the type of people: the emotional vampire, the Debbie-downer, the chronic complainer. I know them because I used to be one of them.
You could say my negativity came from my illness, but I was a special case. I loved to throw pity parties. I would spend hours talking about how bad my life was and how much it sucked. It may be the reason I didn’t have any friends.
I’ve gone the other way now. Now I try to spread goodness wherever I go. Do I still have bad moods? Hell yes! I still snap at my wife and rage at people in traffic. I still have days where I complain about my aches and pains. I still whine about how tired I am.
Yin and yang. Good and bad. Positive and negative. You can’t have one without the other.
It doesn’t stop me from trying to get people to a place of balance by adding some positivity to their dark side. You can’t be Darth Vader all the time. Even Anakin became good in the end.
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” — Darth Vader
How to increase your happiness
I became a much happier person when I increased the positive side of my nature. When we are wallowing in the muck all the time, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to be clean.
Try changing small things about your negative side. Try to stop complaining for 24 hours. It’s harder than you think! Instead of leaving the negative comment on your cousin’s pro-Trump post, hide it and move on with your day.
Which brings me to another point…
We all spend a lot of time on social media. I know I do. Social media can be great for your business or your career. But the sheer amount of negativity can affect anyone. We need to be selective about what we let into our mind-space.
Facebook used to be a nightmare for me. It’s one of the reasons I closed it last year. Now, I “unfriend.” If it’s someone I love, and I want to give them another chance, I may use “hide post” or “unfollow.”
If what they are posting doesn’t bring me happiness, I do something about it.
We only have one life. Do you want to spend that life being miserable all the time? Do you always want to find something to hate instead of looking for the good in people?
I don’t know how many years I have, but I’m going to make sure I do the most with what I have left.
“Feeling lost, crazy and desperate belongs to a good life as much as optimism, certainty and reason.” ― Alain de Botton
I’m not your self-help guru
I don’t like to preach, but I do think everyone could use a little more positivity. Yes, I know you are going to have bad days, but do you want the days to turn into weeks, months, and years?
Positive people are more motivated (or is it the other way around?). You know you have a lot to do if you want to be successful (whatever that means for you). Wouldn’t it be easier to do it all if you were in a good mood? Wouldn’t it be easier to get up in the morning if you looked forward to your day?
I fall out of bed, ready to tackle my morning. I fall asleep looking forward to the next day. I fall a lot. I smile more often than not. Do you know how much better my life is now that I’m not negative all the time?
Do yourself a favor. Be as positive as much as you can. Remember to have balance. Don’t walk around in a fog all the time because you hate yourself and your life.
Do something about the bad in your life.
It won’t fix itself.