Faces on Faith: Staying positive in a negative world
If only the song Home on the Range was true “where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.”
It seems that even in Paradise there are the inevitable clouds and, sadly, the negative people, who quite possibly might only be happy when their negativity is spread to others.
Whether it is politics on the national or local level, some people just never seem to be happy. For them the glass is never half full, it is always half empty!
Negative people have a way of bringing you down. They darken even the brightest Florida day, and add to the burdens that life generally has to offer.
Psychologists and life coaches everywhere call negative people “energy vampires,” and recommend distancing yourself from negative people.
Life is, indeed, too short to hang around with negative people, but it is not always easy to escape their frequent moaning. Being a purveyor of complaint requires one to speak loudly and often.
Whether it is in editorials or in well-written opinion pieces, in letters to the editor or on the evening news, negativity is all around us, and it is sometimes difficult not to succumb to its attraction.
Refusing to become the classic curmudgeon is challenging. People just cannot be miserable alone, and you can be sure of being assaulted frequently with every negative thought they can gather.
If we cannot escape the negativity that sometimes swirls around us, what can we do to remain positive?
It is said that a person’s negativity is the filter they use to see the world. We must choose another filter. We must train ourselves to see the glass as always half full, and in spite of the challenges that life presents to us we need to humbly recognize how much of life is “gift.”
We must make a deliberate choice to be positive to say positive things about others, to see the good in every situation, to remain grateful for those things in life that are going well, to remain grateful for all those people in our lives that are truly a blessing.
We should always talk about those things that unite people, not that which has the tendency to divide. Coming into contact with negativity is an opportunity for growth and self-discovery, for it can challenge us to change our mindset and transform our attitudes.
Being negative is the surest path to loneliness. Being negative will never allow a person to be truly happy.
It is because that is true that we have an obligation to pray for those who are negative. Prayer is an antidote to negativity, for in praying for those who are negative we are drawn into a world much bigger than our own, a world where God sees the big picture, and recognizes how good the world is that He has made.
Unlike our world, the world that God created was perfect, the world the way that God intended it to be. After catching a glimpse of that world in prayer, we are meant not so much to focus on all that is wrong with our world, but rather we are meant to focus on the many and varied gifts that surround us, and positively work towards making the world in which we live a better place.
-Father Christopher Senk, St. Isabel’s Roman Catholic Church.