If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen the daily memes. They’ll stop soon. There can’t be 365 unique quotes about having a positive attitude.
Life should be an adventure. And as I learned on my biking trip in Hawaii, the key to enjoying an adventure is to have the right attitude.
Some people would say there are only two types of attitudes: positive and negative. Or maybe good and bad. But I think attitudes are colored in shades of gray.
At the black end of the spectrum is the naysayer. You know who I’m talking about. They just won the lottery – and complain about the amount of taxes they have to pay.
Any normal person takes at least a few minutes to jump around like a maniac, shrieking in delight. But a blackened attitude doesn’t see a good side.
It’s difficult to spend more than a few minutes with this person. Why? You feel like crying. Or strangling them. Or jumping off the nearest cliff.
Or heading back to bed – with earplugs so you don’t have to listen to their downer-isms any longer.
It’s Eeyore, but without the cuteness.
Thankfully, there aren’t too many people with a full-blown negative attitude. At least not as a permanent fixture in their personality.
We can excuse it when they’ve had a bad day, been fired from their job, wrecked their car or lost someone they loved. If they were all sunshine and roses in those moments, we’d question their mental health.
The type of person that bugs me is the dark gray bad attitude. This is the person who takes it upon themselves to rain on everyone’s happiness.
“I just got a raise.”
“Uncle Sam thanks you for the additional taxes he’s getting,” Says Big Gray. Really? How about a “congratulations” before you burst my joy with your sharp words?
Somewhere at the mid-scale gray is where most of us reside. We have good days when we can spout appropriately positive remarks upon hearing the good news.
We’re quick to agree with those whose day was less than charming, consoling them with a few black comments of our own. All in the name of being there for them.
There is a silver-hued attitude. We know some people like this. They always have something upbeat to say no matter what the situation.
“I lost my job.”
“That’s terrible, but truthfully, you’ve seemed pretty unhappy with it the past few months anyway. Now you can find something better.” Oh the brilliance of their shiny silver-tongued words.
But do they mean them?
Often, the people who are eternally optimistic make me suspicious. It’s not that I don’t believe you can have a positive outlook all the time (we’ll get to that next), but because sometimes turning the tables on a disaster is the wrong move.
Don’t they care that I lost my job? Their positive spin minimizes my anguish over the bad turn I must endure.
What on earth does she think a positive attitude looks like, then? If it isn’t the person who always has something nice to say, what else is there?
“We had to put my dog to sleep.”
If you try to put a positive spin on this, you’ll alienate that person. Go ahead. Try it. Give me your positive comment below.
Sometimes no words are the most positive thing you can offer. Sharing their tears and wrapping them up in a hug are great ways to fill the silence.
How is this positive?
When that person thinks back on that difficult time, your kindness will stand out. They might even tell you how much they appreciated that you didn’t try to console them with words.
I’m a writer, but sometimes there are no words that are situation-appropriate.
The person with the crystal-white positive attitude exercises wisdom with their tongue. They have upbeat words when that is what fits the moment. Helpful words flow from their lips when a person spews negativity and there is a positive antidote.
Ms. Positive knows that sometimes a smile, shared tears, or physical comfort is the positive “shot in the arm” to remedy truly heartbroken moments of negativity.