By Lynsey Eaton | Photography by Danielle Sabol
My hair is frizzy. Babies are hard. Life is short.
As humans, we are programmed to focus on what’s wrong or could go wrong. Very rarely do we look at the rain and see the life it brings – we see muddy shoes, slow traffic and wardrobe concerns that are invariably impossible to address.
This isn’t a hypothesis. If you are being honest with yourself, it’s an undeniable truth. My question is, why?
Making sense of the human mind isn’t easy. Our motivations are about as complex as our DNA, and I couldn’t begin to pretend to understand them. But ultimately, I believe our negativity is something we use to relate to each other. We may not all agree on God or politics, but we can all agree Donald Trump’s tan is bad. So we focus on that.
I don’t consider myself a negative person (in fact, I pride myself on intentional positivity), and yet, without fail, everytime I go to fill a silence or identify with someone new, I immediately start to complain about the weather, work or my family.
I didn’t acknowledge this proclivity until I was on a trip with a friend and she called me out on it. On my complaining, as it were. The whole time I thought I was just making conversation, but she was right, I had been unintentionally complaining about a pretty magnificent trip. A trip I had nothing but positive feelings about.
I’m no scientist, but I can’t imagine focusing on the negative aspects of every situation, albeit whether we realize we are doing it or not, is good for our world view. To be clear, I don’t believe we are completely missing the positive. On the contrary, I think we see it, feel it and even acknowledge it, internally. We know babies are wonderful and life is a blessing.
So why don’t we say that?
If you were to ask those you know if they considered themselves to be a negative person, I highly doubt many of them would respond yes. I know I wouldn’t have. And yet, these are the same people criticizing Instagram images, yelling at their moms and complaining to the waiter. The same people complaining on “you-should-be-so-lucky” trips.
We all do it, to some extent.
I don’t have some profound answer to this question of why. Nor do I have a resolution to what is a very clear problem with the way we relate to each other. It’s just something I have been thinking about lately.
What I do have is a newfound intention to focus on the blessings God has given me and actually talk about them. The joy my baby girl brings, instead of the sleep I have lost. The amazing people I have met through work, instead of the stressful emails to which I have to respond.
It’s certainly not a solution, but it’s a start.
What I do have is a newfound intention to focus on the blessings God has given me and actually talk about them.