Sometimes a little positivity sprinkled on top of a pile of human excrement can cover up the bad for a while. And sometimes it just makes the poop harder to see and easier to step directly in.
While I am trying to be more positive in my day to day existence, I’m having a hard time believing that I can be all positivity all the time. You know that friend that gives you a big speech about how strong you are when you just need to cry on their shoulder or shoot some cans? Sure the speech is nice but it’s the crying or shooting that would have helped.
I have been called a great many things in my 28 years on this planet; words meant in jest and cruelty, from strangers and my closest friends, in a variety of places, times and languages. I’ve actually been surprised and a little proud of some of the insults hurled my way.
There is one word, however, that really gets to me: negative.
As noted above, I’m not a shimmering ray of positivity all the time; I’m definitely the cynical type, I’m sarcastic and my judgment meter leans toward pessimistic.
For the record, these are all things I like about myself. I don’t find them to be flaws. I have the ability to turn BS situations into humor. I care really deeply about the things happening around me. I also have a temper and have been known to spiral, but these are not things that I would alter my personality to change.
Last weekend, I saw an acquaintance who mentioned that he loves my Facebook posts because “they’re so negative.” He explained that while everyone else is posting photos of beautiful scenery and candids with friends at bars, my posts were so honest.
He meant it as a compliment, I know he did, but it stuck with me. When I arrived home I couldn’t get it out of my head, so like any mature adult, I sent a series of angry and confused snaps to my lovely friend Francis.*
Like a boss, Francis understood my frustration and broke it down. She explained something that I couldn’t agree with more: negative, in our society is never a word used kindly or respectfully. The only kindness that word serves is that it helps people not say “that person’s a downer/dick/pain in the ass.” It’s a good way to insult someone without insulting them.
When you call someone negative, no matter what your intentions are, you are not complimenting them. Yeah, I say what’s on my mind, but calling me negative because of the way I choose to see and communicate my world isn’t fair, it’s not something I can argue against because it’s based on your small view of me.
We live in an inspirational quote over nature background kind of world and that’s ok with me, I actually like positivity around me, it inspires. But in a world where positivity rules and negative people are cast as these sad little, angry badgers living in a cave of resentment, how could it be fair to call me negative?
Spoiler alert: it’s not.
I suppose the moral is this: words hurt. That’s stick and stones thing is bullshit. If you must be unkind at least do so openly, don’t mask it in some false compliment. Think about the words you choose. And for Pete’s sake, stop calling people negative.
That was too many morals, but you understand.
Best of luck.
*Remember Francis, my friend from that terrible job I was fired from? Remember that job? Oh man, that place sucked. Good news though, they just went out of business. So.