Negativity as a Shaping Mechanism

The entire premise of my personal blog is battling the pull of pessimism.

Seriously, the reason I write that blog daily is to give myself a place to sort my thoughts and to destroy the desperate hold negativity had on me.

This week, I’ve been toying with a new concept. Is there ever a point that negativity is ok? Can negativity be beneficial? Is it really just a “bad word” for realism?

Much like everything in life, I think the answer exists somewhere in the middle.

Negativity is all about perception, which is why the most optimistic of people seem to always preach about the idea that your perception shapes your reality. They are correct.

It also shapes your relationships. Think about the most positive and most negative people you know. Who would you rather spend time with, and why? Who is more likely to build you up?

So, more often than not, negativity is not a good thing to have in abundance. That is something that I think many people can agree with based on the way we react to the more negative people in our lives.

However, that is not the kind of negativity I am focusing on today. I am focusing on that “bad day” persuasion, the “I think this is a terrible idea” people, and the moments where you are wondering why someone is doing what they’re doing.

These things can be negative things, but are they constructive? Is it constructive to say that something is a bad idea based on your expertise of a subject? Can it be constructive to go to the gym in borderline “Hulk” mode and push your weight lifting routine near your limit without exceeding it? Should you question the people you care about to help steer them away from directions that might be detrimental to their health?

That is when I wonder if negativity is always bad… or if those things are actually where the realm of realism lie?

Lately, I’ve been inclined to think that minor bouts of “negativity” are constructive. It’s ok to complain and be frustrated from time to time.

When do negativity and pessimism become a problem?

Ah, there’s the question we need to answer…

It’s when you see clouds and assume they’re storms instead of just clouds. When every single day, all you see are those clouds and not the bits of clear sky that accompany them. When people stop wanting to be around you because your attitude is terrible. When you start hating every little bit of yourself because you can’t see anything good in you.

Realistically, life doesn’t lend itself to simplicity. Things aren’t going to instantly click or work. You aren’t going to find yourself magically fixed by a person’s existence.

Life is a ton of work. That’s what I see as the central premise of realism, and even a lot of optimists. They know that the things worth having require a decision to work on them.

Actually, I see that a lot in the happiest people I know. They work hard, they don’t sugar coat while practicing gratitude, and they always strive for a solution rather than wallow in the setbacks. They keep moving forward with life, because time keeps going with or without them.

Some negativity isn’t going to hurt you. It’s a part of life. How you handle it is where optimism and pessimism lie.

You always have a choice. Use that process in a way that makes you good for the world, and, most importantly, yourself.

Have a good week, BayArt readers. I’ll see you when I write my next Sunday entry (unless you go to my personal blog,, of course… Shameless plug right there).


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