Saturday, May 30, 2015
A Rant About Being Positive
This post got its start when I read the post of someone else on Bubblews.
I started to comment on the post because it seemed to me her post was, maybe, the rare one out of hundreds (or more) that actually offers a realistic take on the matter of "being positive". Apparently, I've been keeping too many of my own thoughts on this to myself for too long; because some kind of "brain valve" seemed to get opened as I began to comment. Basically, the following post is a rant - but it's a rant that I've been building up for ages now. :/ If you want to know how long it took me to come up with the whole rant - about ten minutes, I think. (lol) As I said: "brain valve".
If there's anyone who has put into practice a whole lot of "being positive", it's I. The trouble is, however, that a lot of people are under the impression that being positive is "all it takes". They may be young and not have discovered otherwise, or they may be older and have either not gone through a certain type of bad experiences. Or, if they're older they may have gone through some types of bad experiences that, bad as they are, would be considered "the normal bad stuff" in most people's lives (like losing parents). OR, they've had one or two unusually bad events/situations but have had the time to recover from them.
Being positive is an important thing, and it is very effective. I know people who are not positive and are, in fact, downright "long-term negative", no matter what goes on. Here's where I'm reluctant to say what I really want to say, but I pretty much think I deserve "the prize" when it comes to being positive; because although when it comes to the most meaningful things in life I'm incredibly fortunate, I've dealt with a bizarre amount of tragedy, loss, and whatever else - and on top of that I've had to figure out how to help my kids have the right perspective on a lot of it. Watching one's kids be hurt, of course, is pretty much the hardest thing for any normal mother to have to endure.
It's not as if I haven't had happiness in my life because I have. Besides those meaningful thing, I've found ways to be happy (or happy in spite of a lot of stuff). But you know what... I've stayed whole and happy enough and positive in spite of about thirty years of very challenging stuff; and in spite of twenty two years of a situation that's out-and-out bizarre; so around 2009 I really started to run out of steam. The best way to describe it is to say that I've always (and right up until the mid 2000's) been someone who "runs on eight cylinders". Since then I've felt like I'm running on fewer and fewer cylinders.
I'm actually still amazingly positive, considering. The thing is, though, that's there's such a thing as emotional and physical exhaustion (and yes, I have all my fitness videos and equipment so that I can exercise; and yes, I have my "enjoyment writing" and still have some version of a normal life in spite of it (although it's only x percent normal, but at least normal in the most important ways). There is also such a thing as "mental abuse" (not necessarily brought on by individuals in my life, but brought on by a set of circumstances related to something that has gone on within "The System" when I left my marriage).
I have a couple of problems related to being positive, though. One is that I have so much cr*p in my life that if I start to talk about my life there's a good chance I'll have little choice but to mention some "affecting factor", which a) isn't "all happy-pappy" and b) will be viewed as "negative" by someone who doesn't know what it's like to have cr*p and yet NOT let it amount to "a negative attitude". In other words, when cr*p is so much a part of someone's life that it's as "run of the mill" as the color of his eyes, talking about the realities of it isn't negative to that person. It's just talking about the realities of his life. For others who haven't experienced that kind of situation, of course, it just sounds like the person is "talking about bad stuff all the time".
Another thing is, NO. Being positive isn't going to make everything OK. There are things that have to happen (and in my case those things involve what someone else has to do). While getting action won't make everything OK it will make things better enough that I can take my otherwise positive, capable, and coping self; pick up the pieces; and get on with re-building a life.
Setting aside the whole multi-volume set of "books" on everything other than watching my children still deal with some fall-out/consequences of the failures of others, I can tell you that the reason "just not letting it bother me" is that I am a mother, and no normal mother in the world would be able to watch her children be hurt for years and years and then just be able to "let it go", think positively, and don't let it ruin my happy-pappy mood.
One important factor is whether something bad has been caused by human beings or not, whether it was intentional or not, and whether any mistakes/lies are acknowledged or corrected (and if they are not then whether there's some version of justice). When something is nobody's fault it's generally something most people cope with, deal with, and eventually make some version of peace with (even if it takes a long time). And HERE, of course, is where some followers of pop psychology, or else those who are just guilty of believing that people bring on all their problems themselves (and nobody ever victimizes anyone who isn't willing to be victimized) would remind me that I'm "most likely to blame" for all the horror and loss that was brought into my life by strangers in the court system.
I could write a book on how to be positive through all kinds of horrors and loss. I could write another book on how to keep going, how to hold a family together through a whole lot of things, and how to do everything in one's power to keep bad stuff from taking more from him than it already has. I laugh with more people and more times and harder than probably most people do over the course of a week, and I still find ways to get my grown kids laughing too. One day I'll find a way to just write a big list of some of the stuff I've had to live with. Yes, I'm well aware of all kinds of far worse things that so many people in the world must live with; but even that kind of perspective only goes so far for so many years before one must acknowledge the reality that having smaller horrors than a lot of other people have can still be pretty unbearable. (And, the number, nature, and type of those "horrors" aren't by any means insignificant anyway.)
I'm not someone who needs sympathy because I'm strong (and positive and amazingly skilled at coping). Neither am I someone who particularly wants to share a whole lot of the stuff that contributes to the overall picture, because nobody but the people involved can do anything about the situation; and I don't need "credit points" for how extreme the overall picture has been for years (and in so many different ways). So, like so many other people who have their own version of extreme cr*p, loss and/or horror in their life; I keep most of it to myself (even if I do try to sometimes share some things as a way of trying to explain why I think or know something).
So, in a world full of people who have all kinds of stuff that most people would agree would be "way too much for anyone", but who say little because they don't want to inflict "negativity" on others unnecessarily, or because they know there's nothing anyone else can do, or because they have privacy concerns, etc. etc.; a whole lot of people remain under the impression that "all it takes is a positive attitude"; when the fact is that sometimes even "prize-winning" positive attitude just doesn't cut it.
Hmmm. Interesting. The captcha on this one is "that will not work". As I wonder if a) anyone will even read this, and b) it will get through to some of the people I'd like to get through to; I'm thinking it's probably unlikely.
Posted by ME Whelan at 7:44 PM