Are you a negative person? It’s a question we often ask ourselves after reading one of those “Top 5 Reasons Your Life Sucks” articles that tell us our negativity is to blame for all of our woes, or in response some happiness quiz in Cosmo (is that still a thing?) The answer, of course, should be, “Yes, I’m negative. We’re all negative, right?”
I’ve written before about negativity wisdom. My passion is to debunk some of the erroneous thoughts about negativity, most importantly that it’s the opposite of all things good and that it somehow prevents one from being happy. Negativity is not the enemy of happiness, or anything else in our lives, at least when it’s used wisely. Rather than (futilely) attempting to eliminate negativity from our lives, we should focus instead on the type of negativity we harbor and, more importantly, how we utilize it.
One of the many beneficial uses of negativity is problem-solving, which I described in a previous post titled The reason a glass half full isn’t the right approach. The quick summary of that post is that a positive-minded person sees the glass half-full then smiles and moves on, probably in their annoyingly perky way. A negative person would stop and ask the obvious question,”Why isn’t this glass FULL?” then proceeds to solve the problem by hunting down a water pitcher. The credit remains with comedian Jim Jeffries who was spot on in his observation and demonstrates that not all negativity is bad, or more specifically, not all negativity is useless.
There are some who will not understand or agree with this take on the glass half full/half empty analogy. I assume that includes the marketing people who decided to print this message on their to-go cup. I absentmindedly look down at the diet soda on my desk to find this insult staring back at me.
Negativity can be beneficial and we NEED it in our lives. In addition to problem-solving, it’s also useful for avoiding danger and contingency planning (IT and risk management professionals use negative thinking for a living.) Even venting is a practical use of negativity when used to help remove other more useless types of negativity, such as anger or frustration.
There will be more to come on this topic and I’ll also be driving home some points on social media in regard to negativity wisdom in the near future. Here are a few examples, some more tongue-in-cheek than others:
- Positivity can sometimes get in the way of problem-solving. #NegativityWisdom
- Without negativity we’d still believe the earth was flat. #NegativityWisdom
- Negativity has its place. Don’t try to eliminate all of it. #NegativityWisdom
And one of my personal favorites…
If you want to follow the negativity wisdom hashtag in all it’s wisdom and nonsense (fun), you can find me on Twitter @DeannaWillmon or Facebook @DeannaWillmonAuthor (brand new Facebook page that I’m tweaking!) You can also still search my name and connect with my personal Facebook profile page if you’re okay with, you know, being friends and all.
Have a wonderful week, everyone!