Wednesday, April 17, 2013

People will not tolerate you enjoying your life, so you'll have to do it alone

There are only a couple of things I really dislike.  One is constant negativity, and the other is hypocrisy.

The negativity isn't something I always hated.  I didn't even isolate it from everyday, normal conversation until a few years back.  I just incorporated it within life as a part of life.  Once I separated it in my mind, I realized that I didn't have to tolerate it.  The negativity was coming from people.  All I had to do was either get those people out of my life, or insist on the old maxim, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."  Easier said than done; I know.  I worked with a guy who was always negative, so I couldn't just cast him out of my social circles.  And I didn't want to say old maxims to him; sounds bossy and judgmental.  Instead, after he would say something, I would always say some variation of, "Oh, I don't know.  When it comes to negative stuff, I just don't get involved."  He finally got the message, and because he didn't know how not to be negative, he stayed quiet a lot, which was ok with me.

It was ok with me because I had decided to have no more negativity in my life.

On my mom's 70th birthday, about 4 years ago, my youngest sister, Kelley, was visiting and she and I made a little pact while standing around outside.  Something got us talking about negative people, and particularly, critics.  We both believed that you shouldn't criticize anybody until your got your own back yard perfect, unless they asked for your honest opinion.  We both knew that some people love to stew in negativity; that steamy, acidic broth from which all of their thoughts and actions emanate, seen usually in the form of their criticism of you or other people, or places/things.  Always putting something, person, or place down.  Always, always complaining.  Just unhappiness, paraded.  We knew everybody had days like this; Hell, even weeks like this, or occasionally, an entirely bad month.  But those folks are easy to separate from those who live in the steamy broth, the acidic, corrosive poison that moves them from thought to thought, and therefore, from action to action, which usually materializes as criticism.

We made that pact.  We decided to work hard, really hard if necessary, to get negative people not only out of our social and co-worker circles but even family members.  Even siblings, parents, whomever; if they were negative, and always prone to criticize you or others, or tell you how to live (implying how you're living wrong), off they go.  Out of the circles.  You launch them over the fence of your everyday yard.  You are free to warn them; give them a month.  Tell them, "In 30 days from now, I'm going to stop hanging around or talking to anybody who I see as negative.  Not because I'm judging them or any other reason except that it brings me down, and this life is hard enough.  I don't want help to feel bad.  I don't need bricks tossed into my leaky lifeboat.  I can't handle it, and even if I could, I'm going to choose not to, because nowhere have I read that I'm not entitled to take a good, hard, fair shot at happiness.  If I'm going to take that shot--to make a real effort toward it--I have to get the negative people out of my daily communications.  There is no other way."

While hypocrisy and negativity are not necessarily related, I think they do hang out a lot together.  A hypocrite must necessarily be telling others how to live to be a hypocrite; he must also not be living by his own advice/demands.  The ultimate, near-combo mixture for me that just drives me berzerk is a hypocrite being a hypocrite while criticizing me.  A christian, for example, telling me I won't make it to heaven, when I personally know that he breaks 5 of the sacred 10 commandments weekly but believes he's forgiven if he says sorry every Sunday.  I have many, many more examples that do not involve religion, and I'm not here to pick on religion, but it is the first example that popped into my head.

While I may occasionally contradict myself, I'm ok with that.  My life path is clear to me now, at almost 41-years old.  I know a lot of people that live off of government checks when they could be working, yet they criticize others for not working.  I know plenty of people who have diets or lifestyles that are very unhealthy, yet they criticize others for eating too much or smoking cigarettes.  That's not contradiction, because they would have to believe in (and would thereby live) a healthy lifestyle in order to be contradicting themselves while criticizing the choices of others.  I contradict myself occasionally with philosophies.  Walt Whitman said, "Do I contradict myself?  Very well, I contradict myself.  I am large.  I contain multitudes," in Song to Myself.

I don't know about being large or even containing multitudes, but I'm not bothered by when I contradict myself.  I see it as almost unavoidable if you think a lot.

My girlfriend, Tanya, has a very positive outlook on life, in general.  I'm super lucky for that, because I promised myself before I started dating that I could not be in a relationship with anybody who was consistently negative.  And that now goes for my friends, too.

So this blog post is one that I made mostly to help me crystallize this particular series of beliefs that absolutely must define how I deal with others.  I'll probably refer people to it. It's very confrontational in my view to just come out and tell somebody, "You're too negative.  I'm going to avoid you from now on," yet I've had to do it, and I'll have to do it again.  If I seem to have disappeared from your life, and you happen to stumble across this, you may get a clue into what I was thinking when I removed myself from your daily life.  To sum up, this life is a bitch, no matter which way you slice it.  There's a few good things, and a shitload of bad things.  I choose to focus on the good things.  My choice may be good or bad, but it is my choice and one that I adhere to with maximum dedication.  I would advise this to anybody, this choice to not hang around/be around negative folks and hypocrites.  But yet I don't, because advising anything sounds... pushy.  There is one other context I need to put this in, though; I genuinely believe that if you don't live by this model or some variation of it, you cannot have a decent shot at real happiness.  I'm giving myself, and the people around me, the best chance possible to have happiness.

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