Tuesday 15 November 2016

#174 I like your shoes

Lately, I've been trying to focus on the positive side of things in several ways. One is that I consciously try to make positive statements when answering questions, like if someone asks how my weekend was... and overall I feel like it was crap... I might think, before responding, whether any parts of it were alright and then say for example that I managed to have a good conversation with a friend I hadn't spoken to for a while.

It doesn't answer their question but if the answer to their question is a negative one then there's really no point in giving it.

Exceptions might be in situations where it's of practical importance to focus on the negative, eg. if a doctor asks "where does it hurt?".

Why do this?

Well, I'll admit that I don't have any proof that it "works". For either the speaker or the listener. Apparently a great deal of communication occurs non-verbally and so perhaps to change the words that are spoken is more hastle than it's worth. 

As much as anything else, it's kind of fun to practice developing some awareness around how I'm communicating. I imagine that deciding to add that layer of effort to some of my interactions came about due to the fact that I "overthink" certain things in general. Some people may focus more positively by nature. One thing I've found is that it can be strangely addictive.

It seems to me quite likely that if, for example, you see a post that you don't like on Facebook and comment on it to complain or even just to express your disagreement, what you're doing is spreading your discontent to the other person, who might then feel bad about the fact that you don't like their post.

What, then, are we to do?

Firstly, the potential to just keep one's mouth shut is absolutely mind-boggling. It's also, for some people more than others, incredibly difficult. I mean this in all seriousness. As much as some people fear public speaking enough to break out in a sweat, there seem to be others who are more or less incapable of keeping their opinions to themselves, whether they're good or bad opinions. I am not judging those people. I have enough of my own weaknesses and indeed I'm hardly some bastion of happiness and positivity.

It's the difference between controlling a pigeon population by ceasing to put out any more bread and controlling it by going around kicking the poor birds.

Am I supposed to just do nothing?

Let's say you don't like pigeons. You prefer crows. Well, then feed the crows.

Imagine for a moment, the number of people who will have spent a minute making a negative comment about Trump on social media, when they could have used that time to make a supportive comment about Hillary.

That might not be the best example but you get my point.

1 comment

Running on empty said...

Sometimes you can't do anything. In any situation you can only do your best.