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Showing posts with label positive. Show all posts
Showing posts with label positive. Show all posts

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A negative tends to have a greater impact than a positive.


As Mark Twain was purported to have said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  Obviously, what he meant was that it is easier to spread a falsehood than to correct it.   I also realized when in was in my first year of college that failure is easier than success and spoke about this concept in The Fine Line: Failure takes no effort, success takes a lot of work .  Most of the time you don't have to do anything to fail.  In fact, I believe that it is doing nothing that will inevitably usually lead to failure.   In more recent years, it has occurred to me that a negative generally has greater impact than a positive.  As a matter of fact, the concepts here actually go hand in hand.   Just as failure is easier than success, a negative tends to be the default or more pervasive state than a positive.


But, think about.  When studying history what do we put more of our energy on?  When we have both good and bad interactions with people, what do we tend to focus more on?  If we have an otherwise good driving record marred by a life-changing accident, what will we and others focus on?   When we have a good work record marred by a very bad screw-up or marred by an unfortunate interaction--especially if we are dismissed as a result--will we feel like a success?  When we have an uneventful or clean deployment that ends with a trauma, what will we be tend to focus on?


I've had some successes in life, but in my later 40s and 50s, I have worked through and processes a lot as a childhood sexual abuse survivor.   The successes have helped me keep perspective BUT they did not completely erase the impact of CSA.  This all leads to the questions:  Why does the negative in many (or I dare so most) cases have a greater impact than the positive?  I'm going to consider that here:


Impact of Negatives vs. Positives

  • I think the positives, though we appreciate them, we can take them for granted and not realize their goodness or importance.  Negatives on the other hand I think are harder to dismiss as 'these things just happen sometimes'.  I think we tend to look for a reason or why.
  • I think often the consequences of a negative just is more devastating than a positive.  
    • I understand a common exercise to teach teens the difficulty and challenges of raising a baby utilizes an egg as the baby. 
    • The goal is to take the 'baby' wherever you go without 'breaking it'.
    • No matter how many times or days you've handled the egg, if you drop it once on any kind of hard surface, it will break.  Similarly a baby can easily be injured if you drop him or her once.
  • I believe we may savor the good or positive times and relive them, but they will tend to become a distance memory. Their impact can fade over time and we won't usually tend to second-guess them.  Bad or negative times, if bad enough, can come to the forefront.  From my experience, if they are not resolved, can come to the forefront very quickly.  Bad times are a lot more likely to lead to second guessing.  That is, how could we have made that choice, said those words, done that thing, etc.
  • I believe we tend to view 'negatives' as a moral failure.  Meaning we have a harder time 'forgiving ourselves'.  I think this is especially true if the weak or more challenged our faith is.  The positives we take pride in but we are taught not to gloat too much about them or take too much credit for them.



So believing that negatives tend to have a greater impact, what do we do to mitigate against that?  I don't have all the answers, but I do have some ideas.



Mitigation Strategies (Against the Oversized Influence of Negatives) 

  • Make reminders of success prominent in your life.  Not to gloat on them or to show or develop arrogance, but as a reminder to yourself when the bad times or negatives hit that your life has balance.  Meaning that as much of a particular failure or negative hurts, it is not who you are.
  • Remember who your Higher Power sees you as.  Yes, it hurts if the world or you in particular sees a negative or failure in your life, but how does your Higher Power view you?  For myself, I've been taught that we are made in God's image and 'God doesn't make junk'.
  • Surround yourself with those tend to be uplifting for you.  That's not to say surround yourself with yes men, but those who will be more willing see you in a positive light than a negative.   In other words, while you don't want those who would 'Blow smoke up your *ss', you also don't want those who would "Rain on your parade' either.
  • Learn to view negatives or failures as blessing in disguise where possible.  If not that, then at least learn to view them as a learning experience or point along the journey.



Few people can completely shut the negatives in their life and I believe it is human nature to focus on the negatives over the positives.  However, that doesn't have to be a place 'where we live' but instead maybe a place we visit from time to time or a reminder of what to avoid.



Anyway, that's my thoughts for the day or my story and I'm sticking to it.



-- Rich

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The insane voice, installment 9: A negative times a negative is a positive and other profound thougths

Anyone who knows me well knows that I tend to tweet a lot.  So, I was tweeting, retweeting and liking along my merry way today and I stumbled across a tweet which caught my attention: A negative times a negative is a positive.  So, I decided to make a blog post of 'profound thoughts'. As this is my 8th installment of this particular blog (insane voice), I will list 9 of my recent deep thoughts. So, without further ado, here goes

1) When you are in a group bitch or gripe-fest, ALWAYS ALWAYS, make sure you have an even number of people.  After all a negative times a negative is a positive, but a negative times a negative times a negative is a negative.

2) If we are in a store looking at throw pillows should we toss them here, there and everywhere just to make sure they work?

3) If you follow others without tweeting, does that make you a 'tweet stalker'?

4) Is "I Choose You" sung to my wife while I am intoxicated at a karaoke bar, romantic or upsetting?

5) Is the list of what you would do for a Klondike bar a static list or is it growing all the time as more possibilities are suggested?

6) Is the list you'd give of what you would do for a Klondike bar things you actually really want to do, but need to the cover of a reward to do them.

7) With regard to the one famous song, "Yes I Think It Is About Me.  Don't I?! Don't I?!"

8)  Speaking of positives vs. negatives.  On the positive side, parents like seeing their kids do well.  On the negative side, as kids guess correctly, we secretly do like embarrassing them.

9) If like is a highway, is a family drama a multi-car pileup?

Anyway, just a little lightheartedness in a pool of life's stresses.

-- Rich

Way before the St. Louis Blues adopted Gloria (Spring 2019) as their theme song for winning, it was MINE for the insane voice.  So, I'm reclaiming it.  HA


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Mission Accomplished: Declaring victory too soon.

Few people ever want to admit defeat.  People generally want to think  well of themselves (unless they are what I call a negative narcissist), but I digress.  People generally want to think reasonably well about themselves.   Sometimes that means ignoring your flaws and seeing an inflated view of yourself, that is to say you are a narcissist.  History is littered with tyrants who justified their tyranny because they felt they were serving the greater good--Hitler is probably the most well known.  Sometimes that means measuring your flaws against your good points and concluding your good points exceed that of your flaws.  We see that in politics, where people who have used bad judgement in their life or made mistakes survive their negatives and go on to become successful and well thought of.  Sometimes, it means working on your flaws or failings and 'overcoming' them or achieving victory over them.  We see that in the friend who puts down the bottle for good, the parent who does a better job with their second or third kid or the felon that who finds peace in their faith and makes something of themselves once they are out of prison.

The focus of this post is those who know they have difficulties, flaws or failings and see themselves as overcoming or having overcome them.   Sometimes if we tie our worth too much to our 'issues', then we create an incentive to 'declare victory' prematurely.  I believe everyone has examples from their own life or from those close to them.   I will list examples or cases I've seen of been a part of.

Declaring victory too soon
  • In my post, #MeAsWell: For What It's Worth, I detail sexual abuse I faced as a child.  In my mind despite some hiccups, I had successfully made it into adulthood gainfully and successfully employed most of the time.  I had bought a decent house in a good part of town, had a nice car, was married and was well on my way to parenthood.  In other words, the American Dream.  I had convinced myself and the few others around me that knew about it that I had survived and escaped the damage of my childhood, despite the fact that I'd never sought counseling for it.  The signs of 'success' were there, so hey...    Meanwhile, I had a generalized anxiety disorder raging since age 17, I had a problem trusting people--even those close to me--and my behavior didn't always measure up to the standards that my faith would imply.  Anyone who knows me, realizes that eventually like any great fa├žade, eventually the truth has an ugly way of rearing its head.  The truth was that I had never really fully healed from the abuse during my childhood.  The distrust, the anxiety, the flaws eventually came to a head and by 2011, the signs of success had largely been swept away like a sign on the beach during a hurricane.  House, marriage, job, etc. were no more.
  • I had a friend who had a heroine addiction.  I stood by that friend as long as I could.  I saw her 'successfully' complete a stint at a drug treatment center.  I heard her hopefulness that she was done with it.   In short, she was seeking to declare victory.   Supposedly she was clean (at least for a short time)  when she tragically died in an auto accident.  Her life had spiraled out of control and at the very least I think she was very fragile by that point.  That is to say, even if drugs hadn't contributed directly to her accident, indirectly I think she was still reeling.  I'd seen another friend successfully through detox and sobriety for alcoholism, so I thought my friend with the heroine addiction could make it too.  I didn't realize at the time how addictive and deadly heroine is/was and was fooled into being optimistic.
  • I've seen someone I dated push aside anger, grief and other such feelings and claim she was fine and didn't need counseling.  Yet, every time things got rough or she faced adversity she could be seen running to grief and regret that she couldn't help her mom avoid dying young from pneumonia. 

I think for most of us, if we honestly look into our lives, we can find area or two in our lives in which were have 'declared victory' too soon.  That is to say, we are not in as good of a place as we would like to believe we are.  That's not to say that everyone is totally screwed up or has areas in their life which hold them back excessively.  However, I think it is safe to say that most people have misjudged their progress in an area in which they can improve.  I believe sometimes it is easier to 'declare victory' than to do the hard work of self-improvement.   

Just my 1/50th of a $1 for the day.  

Cheers from a snowy day in the Gateway to the West.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Knew You Were Waiting For an Advocate

Aretha Franklin died this week and the music world and society is a bit poorer for it. When you think of old school R&B and Gospel, who do you think of?
I remember back in high school hearing George Michael and her on "I knew you were waiting (for me)" and I thought this was probably the highlight of his career (IMHO) doing a duo with a living legend.
In any case, hearing that song attuned me to her music.
While her passing was sad, it kind of hit home a bit for me more. My mom was born 6 days before her and that was music of my mom's era. I felt like calling my mom and relating to her, but as many of you know, she passed in 2014. Aretha's passing brought that fact home again painfully.
RIP Aretha. Perhaps, "She knew He (the Father) was waiting for her. May her music resonate in Heaven.
RIP Mom I still think about you and miss you.

If we are lucky, we have a few people in our lives who "are waiting for us".  By that I mean really advocate for us no matter what.  I mean those who will stick by us through thick or thin.  Wherever she was, she proudly announced that I was her son.  At times, I thought, "oh mom" or felt a little embarrassed, on balance I liked it.  My mom, in her last couple of years was in a nursing home and still did that.  I jokingly said to a few people that I could go on a rampage and she'd say, "I'm sure you are just having a bad day." She was my biggest advocate.

An advocate for us
  • Wants the best for us, period.  Not what they think is best for us, but what makes us happy or fulfilled.
  • Willing to overlook our imperfections.  Doesn't mean they will never say anything to us about them, but they won't define us by them.  Fixing our 'imperfections' will not be the price of admission to being in a small 'r' continued relationship with them.
  • Look for the good in us rather than focusing on our flaws.  That doesn't mean they won't every saying anything negative to us, but they don't live in the negative with us.
  • They will tend to take our side, even if it isn't always justified or even if they don't necessarily agree.  
    • They realize that sometimes it is more important for us to feel stood up for and accepted than to be 'corrected'. 
    • There is a time for revisiting a circumstance/situation later, but they are attuned to our needs now.  
I went through a divorce and someone close to me, whom I confided in, harshly criticized me in the throes of my hurt about it.  That changed my relationship to the person.  While they had some valid points, the time wasn't right.  An advocate would better handle differences of opinion.  But, I digress.

Advocates are a rare breed. When you grow up with them or you find them in life, don't take them for granted or try to 'trade up'.  Yes, there will be other people that will situation-ally or for a time take your side.  But, a true advocate will be there for you, through the good times, the bad times and the times in between.  Just my thoughts.