Turning Away From Negativity

I was going to write a rant-filled post today, a la Jodi Stone’s WTF Wednesday, after reading this horrifying list on Cracked.com. Unfortunately, I had to go and read Karen Walrond’s inspirational post first, which made me feel guilty for even thinking about adding more anger to blogland.

The internet can be a harrowing place. Before pet blogging I spent a lot of my free time on politically-based websites. The bitter vitriol that was spewed out in comment sections left me sputtering. The more I read, the angrier I became. Everything set me off back then: television commercials, overheard conversations on the bus, comedic one-liners, newspaper articles, magazine advertisements. I quickly became just a seething mass of angry frustration. Nothing was safe from my outrage.

I think what Ms. Walrond says here encapsulates this perfectly:

“I think our general outlook is similar to our bodies:  our ability to look at the negative, if exercised like a muscle, gets stronger and more robust, to the point where all we can see is negative.  (And I think this is true, even if we try to wrap up these expressions with a wink and wry smile, even if we think we’re being funny or entertaining.  Negativity is insidious this way.)  And if all we see is negative, then happiness and joy necessarily make their departures.”

Please don’t think I was miserable. There were still many joyful moments of gratitude in my life. However, in the midst of the pleasant times, I would see something out of the corner of my eye in a store that would have me grumbling out loud. It must have been very annoying for those around me.

I have described all the numerous ways Shiva has changed my life, but blogging about Shiva has also had a large impact. The comments on posts about adorable puppies and the pros and cons of feeding raw aren’t nearly as fractious as those regarding minority rights. Once I entered the pet side of blogland, I didn’t have the time to check out the daily galling political news of the day. Eventually I was only reading about the latest attack on women’s issues once a week, and then once a month. Slowly, my daily rant at the television screen turned into a simple eyeroll. With Shiva on my brain, I had more important things to stress over.

It’s not that I don’t feel anger toward these things anymore – they are still very important – but I have learned how to better pick my battles. There are many things in the world of animal welfare that tick me off. There are many things worth yelling about, from abusive training methods to puppy mills. It’s all out there and it all needs to be discussed for the purpose of effecting positive change.

They keyword being positive. Hollering about my distaste of pet perfume isn’t doing anything to make the world a happier place, even if it makes me feel better for a few minutes.

Instead, as per Karen Walrond’s suggestion, I am going to share some of the things I found on the Internet that are making the world more beautiful today.

What did you find beautiful today?

13 thoughts on “Turning Away From Negativity

  1. I love this post…. there is so much in the world that we can be angry about and get frustrated by but anger and frustration don’t often get us to positive change. I avoid political blogs because it gets my blood boiling on certain issues and it’s not positive.

    Pick your battles and use positivity to make change 🙂

    and thanks for the shout out… it should be good 🙂

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  2. Great post, Kristine. It’s so easy to get sucked in by the haters and pulled down by the negativity. For that reason, I gave up watching the news on television a long time ago. Sure, there are things going on that make me really angry, but I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we need to choose our battles. Convincing someone entrenched in a stance that is 180 degrees from the way we see things is frustrating and likely futile. Spending that energy actually making a small difference in the real world makes a lot more sense.

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  3. I can SO relate. There was a time in my life when I avoided all news thinking it was all too depressing and if something important happened, someone would tell me about it. Then for some reason i became a news junky which kept me in a constant state of frustration. My dogs have helped me reach some sort of balance. The people I meet on dog blogs are for the most part people I enjoy having in my life. Reason #212 for having a dog

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  4. She had a very lovely blog post, most of the time the stuff I put on facebook or twitter is not negative at all.

    Of course then there’s WTF Wednesday and the stuff I’m finding online is very negative, which is why I am trying to share the positive stuff I’m finding as well. I guess somewhere deep inside, I need to try and find the bright spot.

    Thanks (as always) for a lovely, thought provoking post and I thank you for the shout-out as well.

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  5. Sometimes it’s fun to rant just to get it out – but you’re right, there is enough negativity in the world, and it’s much more fun to look for the good 🙂 I haven’t watched the news in 10 years, and now if I happen to catch a glimpse of it, it seems so ridiculously sensationalized.

    I’m glad Shiva helped you find your happy place 😉 In case you didn’t see these – they are beautiful pictures of that 93 old yoga teacher, I can only hope to be as amazing in my 90’s 😉 http://www.positivelypositive.com/2012/05/15/an-afternoon-in-the-park-with-the-worlds-oldest-living-yoga-teacher/

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  6. I love stories about older people doing unexpected stuff (for their age). One of the masters who came for our capoeira grading is in his late 60s and he’s still standing on his head and doing cartwheels. It was lovely and inspirational to watch.

    I’m afraid I may be genetically morbid and pessimistic. HOWEVER! I do think there’s a positive side to being like that 🙂

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  7. That is one of lesson in life that can really change ourselves for the better. The world is already full of negativity, what we need are positive-minded people to make this planet a brighter place to live in.

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  8. Very beautiful and lovely post Kristine. Negativity never give you peace and progress. It is the positivity that is the thing to adopt for the improvement of every issue. Thanks very much !!!

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  9. When I was younger, I used to think that part of activism against horrible conditions (racism, poverty, violence) was to be really angry about them. I do believe there’s a place for “righteous anger.” But when I think of people who have had an tremendous positive impact on the world (the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, An San Suu Kyi and others) they’re not angry or negative.

    I wonder if getting too bogged down in negativity prevents us from actually helping change to happen?

    Thanks for making me think. Great post!

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