A very interesting thing happened to me last night. I ran into an acquaintance of mine who I met about two years ago and we had a lovely conversation. At the end of the conversation I said something to the degree of "We're friends, we should hang out more." Without turning around he responded with a "No, probably not. I'm told I'm kinda a downer to be around." I didn't think too much at that point and simply answered, "Well I'm an upper. If you hang out with me I'll help you make the shift into upper, so I've been told." And with a mutual laugh we parted ways.
Around 2am that morning I woke up unable to fall back to sleep again, and the thought entered my mind that I had once been on my acquaintance's side of the conversation, only my conversation partner was not so kind as I was. It was in the summer a few years ago. I was dating an older gentleman long distance. For about a year and a half I would every few months hop on a plane to go visit him. I was enamored with this man, he was blond and looked like prince charming from a childhood fairytale. I finally summed up the courage to ask him if he would like to take the relationship further and be my boyfriend, maybe I could even move to his city so we could be closer and get to know one another was my suggestion. At this point he fell silent. After what seemed like a very long amount of time he answered with, "Well Joel, I don't really think I want to date someone like you because you're kinda a downer. You're just such a sad person and I'm a happy person. I spent so much of my life being sad I feel like I only want to be around happy people now." I fell silent and simply stayed silent until he drove me to the airport. How do you respond to someone telling you you bring them down just by being you?
I didn't think I was a sad person until he had said something, up until that point I just thought I was me. Earlier in 2010 when I restarted my spiritual work I realized that most often I did tend to sit on the negative side of things, that I felt great power from pointing out things that were wrong in situations. The saying goes, pay attention to what you are paying attention to, your thoughts control how you feel. If you are thinking negatively about the things around you, they're going to affect you negatively and you'll feel bad. The truth is, circumstances are circumstances, we only notice if they are bad if we are focused on bad feelings. In other words that man may have said he was a happy person, but if he truly was happy he would have only seen the good things about me, he would not have been so insistent on the idea that I was a negative person unless he was mainly focusing on negativity. Conversely, during our conversation last night I did not even notice my acquaintance saying anything particularly negative, I was simply enjoying having a familiar face to hang out with. After he had said that he was a downer all I wanted to do was convince him he wasn't, or at least bring him to my level of perception, that it was fun talking to him.
My experience last night showed me how much I have changed over the years, that inevitably people really can change for the better. If you think you are a negative person, you can change that perception by just noticing your thoughts. Whenever you notice yourself stating a negative judgment, ask yourself, "is there another way to look at this situation, what is the good in this?" And if someone you know thinks s/he is a negative person, remind him/her something you like about him/her, over time the continuous reassurance to yourself as well as others that you and they are wonderful people will help create a wonderful shift. Here's to happiness ^_^!