Stop Going to the Dark Side

A lot of people think the world is a sad, dark place. If you watch the evening news, it is easy to agree with that. However, I think the world wouldn’t seem half as sad if that weren’t what people focus on. I’m not saying you should stick your head in the sand and act like bad things don’t happen. What I mean is you need to shine the light on positive things sometimes. RESPOND to positivity more than negativity. Unfortunately, that’s not what most people do. Let me give you an example from my own life.

I had a friend, who I will name D here. D and I hadn’t hung out in a while, so I emailed her and said, “Hey D, we should hang out sometime. When is good for you?” No reply. Okay, fair enough…not everyone replies to every email, right? Sometimes they get missed.

A week went by. I wrote again. No reply.

Another week. Another attempt to hang out. Nothing.

By this point I was getting frustrated. Was it really possible that so many emails had been missed? The more I sent, the more unlikely it seemed. So I decided to conduct an experiment. I sent her an email that wasn’t NASTY in tone, but it did send out an unpleasant vibe. I said things like, “Well, I guess this friendship means more to me than it does to you. I have been asking you to hang out for weeks now. You can’t even be bothered to write back with a quick sentiment like, ‘I’m not blowing you off…just busy.’ So I guess you don’t care.”

And wouldn’t you know it? My NEGATIVE email got a novel-length reply! Naturally she claimed that she never saw ANY of the other emails. (For the record I fired back with, “So you never saw any of the ones that said ‘I miss you, let’s hang out,’ but you DID see the email that came off like an attack. Interesting.”)

Now what can we learn from this? Negativity obviously got a MUCH greater response than positivity. This leads me to wonder why. I can only guess, but I’d say it’s because it’s what she is used to. A similar example: I was complimenting one of my coworkers. My glowing praise was met with silence, so I said, “Sorry that I am so openly mushy.” She said, “Yeah…I don’t know how to handle compliments or mushy stuff.”

It’s almost like we live in a backwards universe. You think to yourself, “Why would anyone want more negativity than positivity in their lives?” The answer is…NO ONE DOES, and yet for some reason it is what most people choose to focus on.

Do I have an answer for what to do? Honestly…no. By that I mean I have an answer that works for me but might not work for you. I don’t want to provide it just yet. Instead, I’d rather open the blog up to discussion. So tell me: why do YOU do if you find yourself dwelling on the negative?


About Steve Grogan

I am 40 years old, divorced, and a father of four kids. I am a practitioner of a self-defense system called wing chun kung fu. My other hobbies include writing, playing guitar, reading, watching movies, and listening to music. Recently I have gotten back into fitness, and this time I am DETERMINED to get the washboard abs...whether my metabolism will cooperate with me or not! The purpose of this blog is to write not only about my hobbies, but also about whatever crosses my mind, whether it is something I don't understand or something that aggravates me. So join me as I indulge my tendency to think too much about topics that don't usually cross anyone else's mind!
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2 Responses to Stop Going to the Dark Side

  1. Robert Mitchell says:

    I’ve had similar thoughts and experiences. I think that people may be growing less and less able to communicate on a human level as a consequence of increasing focus on technology and media — most of which is obsessed with negative experience (political scandals, police brutality, epic fails on YouTube, weather disasters, etc.) It’s a perfect storm resulting in poorly socialized adults.

  2. Robert Mitchell says:

    Forgot to add — I never dwell on the negative. I’m alive and healthy, my pantry is stocked, and I have an amazing wife who loves me. Beyond that, it’s all gravy.

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