Careful, your resentment is showing.
I’ve been surrounded by negative people my whole life, and I’ve only recently learned to shut my ears to their comments before they drive me completely crazy.
Negative people are the pessimists of the world. They specialize in assuming everything will not only go wrong, but spectacularly so.
Negative people think they’re the smartest people on the block. By predicting tragedy at every turn, they consider themselves to be realists, nothing more. They believe they’re the only ones who see the ultimate truth: that life is actually hard and full of disappointment, so better not expect too much — or anything too positive, that’s for the naive.
Negative people love to say, “I told you so.”
Life is full of challenges, hardships and disappointments. Eventually, something will go wrong and you’ll have to try again, or give up on chasing one thing and go for something else entirely. Failure, after all, is part of life.
Negativity, however, works for a lot of people because as they embrace it, there’s no way they make a wrong prediction. Ever.
When you fail, the negative person gets to say, “I told you so.” When you succeed, their preferred tune changes to, “Careful, it might still go wrong.” And as soon as you experience a single hiccup on your journey, guess who’s right there to gloat?
Negative people hardly ever try anything, and when they do, it’s a half-hearted attempt at best. Their desire to be right about the hard nature of life often triumphs over any wish to achieve. The first thing they see in front of them are the obstacles, reasons why it all can go wrong, justifications to not even try.
They’re experts in self-fulfilling prophecies.
The truth is that negative people are afraid. They’re afraid of not knowing how to get up again after a fall. They’re afraid they won’t know how to hold on to success if they achieve it, but most of all, they’re afraid to behave as ridiculously as they perceive the “wide-eyed,” naive optimists to be.
Pessimistic people have often been hurt before. Life has given them serious blows, and they have either never recovered, or not recovered completely. They have become bruised and scarred, and even though their pain has taught them a lot, it didn’t teach them how to let go of fear while keeping all other lessons.
So they believe optimistic people can only keep a positive attitude because they haven’t been through enough hardship. They believe positive people still have a great deal of painful lessons to learn, otherwise they’d see life for what it is, and share the same negative view of the world.
I used to be extremely negative myself, mostly due to the influence of those who surrounded me when I was growing up. I used to think I saw things others couldn’t see. I saw how it could all go down the drain in a minute, how your best efforts might be erased in a second when (never if) tragedy did strike.
Scratch that — it didn’t even have to be tragedy.
It only had to be life.
Life was hard, and chances of success were slim. Anything that was minimally good was too good to be true. Anyone would be stupid to believe it gets better.
“If you think it won’t get any worse, you lack imagination,” was my motto.
I realized my negativity was a manifestation of my insecurities. It reflected how much I was afraid of failing, of not being good enough — heck, of not being enough, period.
My negativity also sprung from resentment: of people who were doing better than I was despite not being particularly more talented, of life situations and privileges I didn’t enjoy but certainly envied.
I would try something — half-heartedly, because what’s the point of trying if you’re guaranteed to eventually fail — and not get the results I wanted, only to later resent those who put in their all (the silly, wide-eyed optimistic) succeed.
Life was passing me by, and I was letting my negativity stop me from living it.
So I changed.
And now, I see negative people everywhere, pointing out everything that can go wrong with an enterprise, and I see so clearly how it reveals all of their insecurities and resentments, just as it used to do mine.
I see how the most negative people are so clearly not obtaining the results they wanted, but instead of looking inward and working harder, are pointing their fingers at everything that bothers them. They look at the optimists, at those who are focused on their work and accuse them of not deserving what they have, and of being blind to how thin the ice beneath their feet actually is.
Sure, nothing in life is certain, but if you walk as if the ice is about to break beneath your feet, you’ll take uncertain steps and won’t go very far. Meanwhile, those who walk with confidence eventually secure their footing enough to pick up speed and run.
Are you going to watch as they continue to pass you by, or are you going to drop your insecurities and resentment and join on the run?