Continuing my “Beyond the Elementary” series (helping adults move out of childish behaviors, to live more childlike lives with less stress and more success), here’s lesson #4…
4. No More Negativity
Have you ever met a kid who makes a big deal out of nothing all of the time? This is the kid who gets a papercut and cries uncontrollably until the entire class has seen and heard about it. This is also the kid who interrupts a Dr. Seuss story to tattle on someone- again! There are many reasons why this child insists on being a “handful.” Often it’s a cry for help, a way to get attention, even if it is only negative attention. I would always have a least one of these students in every class I taught. This is the kid that by November you are ready to send packin’, but come May, you hug a bit longer than the rest. Eventually the reasons for the behavior become clearer and are often sad, connected to forms of neglect and Adultitis-stricken parents.
“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” -Anonymous
What’s just as sad is that we have adults walking around doing the same kinds of things, fighting their own battles, many of them carried over from negative childhood experiences. These are our drama queens, mainly getting attention with negativity. It’s the guy at work who always complains about the boss overworking him. It’s the lady at church who has to tell you everything that went wrong in her life that week. It’s the mom who insists (and brags) her life is the hardest of all.
SNL took this to a fun exaggerated level with their Debbie Downer character. (I love that music they play after she says something negative!) There’s a reason why Rachel Dratch’s character is so funny. We all have some Debbie’s in our lives. Adultitis is contagious, and the dark clouds of negative crap that loom over our workplaces and homes are just perpetuating the disease.
What’s sick is that our society encourages this behavior by reinforcing these people with attention. Good parents and teachers know that the best way to deal with these type of kids is to ignore their attention seeking behavior. Look at all of the attention Brittany Spears got when she shaved her head, or how about when Michael Jackson hung his baby (Blanket!) over the balcony. It’s obvious both of them are fighting some battles of the head and heart. I don’t know if I’ve seen two more depressed people.
If you are the negative one, it’s time to get some help and stop seeking negative attention. There are deeper reasons for your behavior, so you have to start exploring those with a trusted friend or professional. If you want to be noticed, do something notable and admirable. Get positive attention!
If you’re not the Debbie, but are forced to be around one, avoid contact as much as possible and try not to respond to the drama. It seems like the people who seem to infect our day-to-day with black clouds of verbal poison always have an audience, don’t they? Only Debbie can change Debbie. You can’t. As I used to tell my students, “be a good example.” Proactively inject the same space with positive, uplifting messages and good energy to counteract the negative energy.
Be the sun in the cloudy sky.
(By the way, I just found out that today is Positive Thinking Day. Check it out!)
[tags]Debbie Downer, negativity, drama queen, Adultitis, Rachel Dratch, Brittany Spears, Michael Jackson [/tags]
Kirsten Harrell, Psy.D. says
Your post is timely! Thanks for helping us spread the word about Positive Thinking Day! Keep making a positive difference in this world – it is appreciated.