Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Happy is Hard #TheBestofMe #BetheChange

I have a friend who kind of like the human version of Eeyore. 

Everything out of his mouth is incredibly negative. Not only does he talk bad about the crappy people in his life (jerk coworkers, a woman that betrayed him/left him) etc, he also talks really poorly about himself as well. He will call himself stupid or say things like “maybe I should just give up on everyone and everything” and so on. The exception of course is that he never says anything negative about me; he’s always been very positive and kind in that regard.

This negativity makes it really difficult to interact with him, which is sad. But no amount of sympathy or “what can I do to help you?” seems to alleviate the situation.

So today, after another round of negativity I asked myself how I might I apply the concept of “letting go” to this situation.
At first, I was like “He needs to let go! He needs to take responsibility!”

I wanted to shake him and remind him that he is blessed, his life is good. So many people out there in the world have it so much worse than he does! He might not like his job, but he has a job! He can pay his bills. He might not like certain people in his life, but he is free to go find new people. And so on. I wanted to remind him about women being sex trafficked against their will, abused children, or wrongly imprisoned captives. “You have no right to wallow! Unlike a lot of people you can change your life and you should! If you’re miserable, you’ve no one to blame but yourself.”

I didn’t say any of this of course. My first act of letting go was in letting go of my intense desire to tell him to have a little accountability for himself. No matter how badly I wanted to say, “stop blaming everyone else for your misery. You create your misery”, instead I asked “Can I help?”

He said “No, not really…I think I will just get plastered.”

Me: “You’re an adult. You can drink if you want.”

“I don’t drink.”
Me: “Smart!”

“No I’m stupid!!!”

“You are very negative in the way you talk about yourself. I don’t like it.”

“I have always been that way I am just a good actor”

“Not that good as it seems you do it a lot. How would you feel if you had to listen to me talk about how stupid, or fat, or ugly I am?” (this is where I start to attach again and then struggle to let go)

Him: You are none of those things.

….and so on and so forth. So from this I can tell it isn’t that he is incapable of positivity, but he is horribly negative to himself? So how did I let go:

--I let go of my desire to change his mind. (I’m not going to convince him he is the captain of his destiny, if he doesn’t want to hear it.)

--I let go of my desire for a certain outcome. (to make him realize his tendency to blame rather than accept responsibility for his own happiness)

--I let go of my idea of what he “should” be. My friend has as much right to move through the world as a taciturn whiny creature as I do as a happy, positive one. When I decide his morose nature is “wrong”, I’m judging him. I’m holding onto certain beliefs or notions that may or may not be accurate. So it is better for both of us if I let go of these notions and the expectations that accompany them.

--I let go of the belief that have control over anyone but myself. I may not be able to control his outlook, speech or behavior. But I can control my reaction to it.

--Acknowledge that while I’m willing to practice “letting go” not everyone is capable or willing to do so at this moment. I may want my friend to wake up and realize that he doesn’t appreciate his life and all his opportunities. I may want him to take responsibility for his happiness and to work harder at making himself happy. But happy is hard work and not everyone is in a place where they can accommodate that kind of commitment. And I have no right to ask them to do so.

--Be the change I want to see in the world. I want to interact with happy and positive people because whiny/depressive people just suck all the energy right out of me. This means that when I am whiny and depressive I’m probably also quite the soul-sucker. So instead of complaining about my friend, I should consciously work harder to be the positive happy person I want to be around—not only for myself—but so that positivity can benefits others' lives

Note: What I’m describing is hard to do if someone you love is clinically depressed however. But I’m not talking about clinical depression which requires professionals and perhaps medical intervention. I’m just talking about people with negative personalities.

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