Wednesday, March 9, 2011

{on being optimistic}

I’ve always thought of myself as a glass half full kind of girl, but lately, I think I’ve been somewhat of a Debbie Downer.

A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with my mom. I was venting about this and that and I was getting irritated when my mom was trying to offer positive solutions to my problems. At the time, that was the last thing I wanted to hear. I wanted her to agree with me and say, “You’re so right!” She did offer empathy, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy me. When our conversation ended, I was more bugged than ever. I thought my mom was supposed to be my #1 supporter and agree with me on everything! It happened again a few days ago as I was driving home. I was on the phone with a friend venting about this and that, and when she started offering positive advice, I felt the familiar irritation starting to form. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t just saying, “Girl, I KNOW! How could that person do that thing to you? You are sooo validated in your feeling!!!”

And then it kind of hit me. “Geeze…” I thought, “…it’s probably not much fun talking to someone on the phone who’s bitching about this and that…” and so I turned my tone around. I started talking about more of the positive things that happened in my day. And I actually felt better! Rather than dwelling on the negative, I said my peace, absorbed the advice given, and let it go.

I can’t say that I always do that. I’ll admit…there are times I dwell too much on something and let it irritate me to no end! I tend to dwell on subjects and beat a dead horse, because I want people to agree with me! I must feel validated and I confuse showing empathy mixed with a little good advice to mean you’re in disagreement with me.

Who else feels this way? I so wish I didn’t let things get to me. I think I bottle up all my frustrations and stories about people who bugged me from the day and wait to share them with someone I really trust, and then it all comes spewing out in a negative mess! How do you deal with this? It’s been a hard lesson for me to learn!

10 comments:

Lisa K said...

When I just want to vent and not have the person I'm venting give me advice, I say so before I begin. Especially when I'm venting to Joe. "I'm about to tell you about something crappy that happened today but I don't want advice, just for you to listen." Then he's a wonderful, sympathetic listener and will agree with me even if he doesn't mean it. I love it!!

Meghann said...

I get in moods like that sometimes, and I vent to Alex and he listens for a second of it and then says"I complain too much and to suck it up." Haha I think its just what girls do. We over analyze the crap out of everything and when things don't go our way we get bugged. Usually talking about it with a girlfriend helps or going for a drive and listening to music, then I get over it.

Allie Harling said...

I am the exact same way, and probably not the best person to give you advice since I have been struggling a lot with this myself lately. The other day I was venting about something to Chad and he said "Remember that attitude is everything" and I wanted to punch him. Haha okay I didn't REALLY want to punch him but he makes a good point. I think the only person you hurt is yourself when you are negative and complaining. Most people don't want to hear it, so it's best to just do what you have to do to feel better without blasting it out to a bunch of people. Easier said then done though :)

Lindsey said...

Oh, girl! You are so validated in your feelings :)

cathycan said...

Whaaaa-wa!
Sorry Shan! I guess I just want to jump in and fix it so it's all better for you! haha I will try to be a better listener!
I catch myself focusing on the negative and getting some sort of perverse pleasure from it. It's not necessary to be a Pollyanna, but that negativity can be hard to kick. Sometimes it's just so darn "fun" to whine : )

McCall said...

agency shannon. agency.

pollydove said...

You know, Elliott was talking with me a few weeks ago about a girl who he liked and thought would ask him to a dance but said, "I don't think she likes me now." I started to console him and tell him that she had probably just been too busy or maybe thought he would say no ...

He said, "Mom, you always look at the positive." Which actually REALLY surprised me because I definitely do NOT. But I think I was trying to teach him a lesson and in so, learned one myself. It just doesn't do a lot of good to dwell on the negative. It feels good to "bitch" and moan sometimes too - as long as it doesn't become a habit and who we are.

I am old - we can still learn lessons! ;)

irbuanosraL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A.L.L. said...

I totally agree that looking at the positive is a good way to cope. I have been on the end of being frustrated when someone is trying to change how I think or feel about something when all I need to do is vent. I have learned who I can and can't call when I just need to purge a lot of emotional crap! Those friends, and family members don't end up trying to give me a little lesson on gratitude or looking at the sunny side, etc. They just listen, laugh, sigh, and then we usually end up laughing about it. It's therapeutic! I don't think it's really all that great when someone tells you something, then immidiately offer advice or tell them to think or feel differently. I know parents try to help and don't like to see their kids in any kind of pain, or fruatration. However, sometimes people just need a sounding board. It's important to remember to LISTEN, without judgment, without editing, without interrupting. In a communication class, I learned that the best way to offer advice, is to first listen, try to understand, and validate the person's points, then follow up with your advice, in a very non judgmental way. It doesn't sound like you are necessarily a negative person at all. It just sounds like you're human and get frustrated from time to time, and just want someone to validate your feelings. I don't think that's negative, just normal. That's my take on it! ☺

Brittany said...

lol i caught myself smiling while reading this because i am the EXACT same way. ugh. can't you just agree with me that my life sucks sometimes?!??! haha seriously people. but then where does that get me? alone and pissed off. and that usually doesn't make you feel any better. so i tend to just say to matt that i just want him to listen, not say anything. :) maybe a nod here and there ;)
so don't worry, you're DEFINITELY not alone in that!