Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Both Sides Now

Tuesday. My reward at the end of the week is a 3 day weekend, and more time with my boys.
I realized that I am extremely frustrated with people being negative. I was talking to another school mom yesterday, and I made the mistake of asking how school was going so far for her child. I was treated to (no joke!) 15 minutes of vitriol directed at the school, her child's teacher and everything that is wrong with both. It really made me angry, mostly because in other conversations with her about other things, she comes across as angry, difficult to please and plain out miserable.
It got me to thinking, why are some people so negative? And what is the long term effect on people's health? I know I attract negative people like a moth to a flame. And I know how they make me feel after prolonged interaction. For the rest of the day yesterday, after this conversation, I was unable to shake the bad vibes that I acquired.
I have noticed a few things about some of these folks. There is a certain look about them, where they just look hard and bitter. And there are other things I've noticed as well-they leave a negative vibe behind. Its like a trail of destruction in their wake.
So here I am, attempting to make things better in my world, and I am forced to confront one of the things that frustrates and angers me the most-dealing with these folks. I wind up where I can't even escape them. I am a firm believer that God puts certain things and people in our lives for a reason, and dealing with these folks is a growth opportunity. Right now, as I continue to make positive changes in my life, I am forced to deal with these negative people to reinforce my commitment to living my best life. Its a chance for me to review what's best for me in terms of things fitting into my framework of happiness, peace and joy. Where does this fit in terms of essential, enriching and serving? While I can't exactly ignore all the negative people that I encounter all the time, I can build a barrier around myself and protect me from these interactions.
I do know that my perkiness and happiness seems to annoy these folks. In fact, I have been called Pollyanna on numerous occasions, mainly because the fact that I am happy annoys them.
I have been on both sides of the fence on this issue. Once upon a time, I was in the negative camp. I would sit there and complain with them. Once in a while I slip back into those thought patterns and I catch myself. Its really easy, because I had been one of those Debbie Downers for a long time, and its the path of least resistance.
However, I realized that I was suffering from this thought pattern.

Today, I am in a much better place in my life, and I realized that a lot of it has to do with changing my thinking around. I deserve happiness, and my family deserves a happy mommy. It makes me more efficient, and a better wife and mother. It allows me to be my best overall-in all that I do.

I don't like stereotyping people, but these Debbie Downers seem to be a lot alike. For one thing, nothing makes them happy. They could have just won the lottery, and there's something to find fault with. They complain about their spouse or significant other. Even if I had issues with my husband (which I don't), I would not rip him apart to total strangers. Its so disrespectful and destructive to your relationship. Obviously you are not in sync with your spouse if you are going to basically emasculate your man to perfect strangers.
These folks also rip their kids apart. They complain about them, they find ways to prove how horrible their children are. They make rude comments about their school or sports performance, their behavior and anything else they can rip apart. Their children are not good enough in their eyes and therefore they have to tear them down.
Actually, nothing is good enough for these people, and its truly sad.

The thought that goes through my head is-if they do this in public, what are they like behind closed doors?

I did realize that I was starting to go down that path of thorns a while back, and its because I was around these folks all the time. I realized that I started to chip away at my happiness, and look at the bad things in my life instead of the good. I would forget to thank my Heavenly Father for providing me so many blessings in my life on a regular basis. I began to be short with my family, and I didn't like being like that. My son will only be this age once, and I don't want him to think of his childhood with an angry mommy who wouldn't read him bedtime stories or cuddle under the covers. I was resentful as I cleaned the house (hey, the toilets don't scrub themselves!) and instead of being thankful that I had a house to clean and a family to pick up after, I was pouty and miserable. It showed in how I took care of things too. I let things pile up and I never got to them. But, one day the lightbulb went off and I finally got it.
I cleaned the clutter out of my house, out of my psyche and out of my life.

I have been on both sides now, and to be perfectly honest I really like the view from here. I like the sense of tranquility I have in my life. I like waking up with a smile on my face. I like no yelling in my house. I really love knowing my family loves me.

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