Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Get your negative vibes outta here. I'm in Pollyanna mode.

My husband and I were watching someone perform a sport on TV--let's say it was tennis --and he turned to me and said, "Too bad Mike isn't here. He would have told us everything this guy did wrong."

"Mike," whose name I have changed to prevent World War III, is a tennis buff.  Okay, he's not really a tennis buff, because I am changing the sport, too, but the principle is the same.  Mike plays tennis every chance he gets and knows all there is to know about a proper serve, how to stand, brands of rackets, which court surface is the best and so on, to the point where I wonder if anyone has ever played a game of tennis that lived up to his standards.  I actually do care about Mike, but I cringe when the subject of tennis comes up, because I know there will be a painful yet brief lecture laced with sarcasm and negativity.

What worries me is that Mike seems unaware of how he sounds when he does this.  If I am put off by his negativity--and I really care about him!--how must others respond? It's not my place to tell him or correct his behavior, but sometimes I wish I could gently let him know that he is turning away the positive responses he might get from others if he were to convey positive thoughts to begin with.

In contrast, I had a wonderful exchange with someone in an email the other day.  She radiates happiness, charm and optimism.  She shared with me her joy of crafting.   Like attracts like.  I found a kindred spirit in her.  I basked in the glow of her creativity and she basked in mine.  I want to foster this in others, but if I don't always succeed, I at least want to share what I feel and connect at some level. If someone sneers at my weaving (or my tennis serve), I back away and do not let them daunt me.

But just as I am somewhat impervious to negativity, so is Mike somewhat impervious to positive vibes.  He lives in an unhappy universe, I'm afraid, unless he decides there is another way to be.

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