You Got to Accentuate the Positive!

We focus on the negative.

Too much.

Even when there is good sitting right next to the negative, we ignore it and focus on the negative. We worry about it. We obsess about it. We feed into it.

We feed it.

We let it rule our lives.

Whether it is a rude comment a friend has made or a depressing news story, we rewind it and rewatch it, whether on television or in our minds.
It is hard for most of us to relinquish the bad we have heard, noticed, or witnessed and I think for good reason. We want to know about it, commiserate about it and learn from it. We want to know how to avoid it, how to keep it out of our life, and maybe some of us just foster a morbid curiosity for the darker things in life.

It is what it is.

There was a recent story in the NEWS that talked about a gentleman who purposely stopped the 'pay-it-forward' session that was going on at a Starbucks coffee shoppe in Florida. Before he showed up, 458 customers paid-it-forward for the customers behind them. He chose to go there and stop it because he felt it was not genuine.

The barista at the coffee shop asked him if he wanted to pay-it-forward by paying for the drink for the driver behind him and he said no. He said in the article that he felt that if he was asked, then it wasn’t something he was doing out of the kindness of his heart and went on to say that some people may have felt pressured to 'pay-it-forward' for the people behind them.

I know, this is entirely my fault because I read them, but the comments on this event both in real life and on the internet were powerful. People were either glad he did it and exclaimed how much he had a 'right not to do it' and others were calling him a 'grinch' and 'rude' as well as other names I shall avoid repeating.

A friend of mine made the comment that I probably thought that guy was a jerk.

I totally do not.

Even though he did not buy the cup of coffee for the person behind him, he still paid it forward-something that many people neglected to focus on-by giving the barista at the drive through a $100 tip.

I get where he was coming from. He did not want to be part of just giving without thinking. I love random acts of kindness, however, I have not done as many as I used to. Because I would like to focus on long-term commitments and events that benefit our community. Yes, a stranger buying you a cup of coffee can change your mood for the day, and I am not denying it may inspire you to do great things with the art of kindness, but chances are it may end there or just inspire you to buy someone else a cup of coffee.

Sometimes we get caught up with just doing something because others are doing it. We balk when someone says no or declines to participate. We focus on how they are being rude or not a team player. How they are not charitable or incapable of being empathetic when we do not know their story. We do not know why they are choosing not to donate or participate, we are however choosing to expose our rude characters by being Judgy McJudgertons.

There has been a lot of debate and backlash for people who declined to participate in the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or donating to fund ALS research. Some people wanted to donate and dump water on themselves. And they did. Others wanted to see where their money went, how their money helped, or wanted to give to an organization closer to their heart so they did it their own way, and you know what-that is perfectly okay.

Choosing not to donate to an organization does not make you a bad person.
Choosing not to pay it forward does not make you a bad person.

Judging people for their choices and lifestyle makes you a crappy person.

Choosing to donate to a charity of a choice means that you are giving from your heart.
Choosing to pay-it-forward your own way is staying true to yourself.

Focusing on the negative, wrong, and bad parts of life is necessary at times, but obsessing about it, choosing to only talk about that or getting excited about, tends to set a mood and pattern where we choose to search out the bad things in life.

Negative news stories are necessary. Stories about corruption need to be told. Stories about murder and violence need to shared. I am in no way advocating to live in a world where my television shows nothing but rainbows coming out of unicorns assholes.

Arming yourself with the knowledge of the bad people and events in the world is beautiful thing. It shows you are not naïve to your surrounding and your environment. Exposing the wrong, the poverty, the evil, the corruption is necessary, focusing on it is not.

Choosing to react, choosing to be a voice, choosing to do something positive with that information, is healthy. Even if it is simply opening a dialogue with our friends and families is an important thing so they are also aware of the inconsistences, the failures, the corruption that goes on in this world. However, choosing to only see the bad in the world is ignorant, sad and detrimental to our views on life and how it should be lived.

It can sour the way we view this world. It can hamper our decisions to help people in need. It can poison our minds against strangers and even family and friends. I know, I know that may be a little severe.

If we can focus on the negative in the world and let it affect what we watch, our conversations, our moods and demeanors can we start focusing on the good, the positive, the joyful stories we have heard too?

Can you just imagine the affect it would have on us?


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