Life is hard. Everyone knows this, right? Somehow, with the advent and expansion of social media, it’s actually become harder. Every day of our lives, we’re bombarded with information – some repetitive, some fresh and interesting. On the whole, the time we spend mindlessly scrolling through this data is when we’re lacking in external inspiration and therefore, emotionally at our most absorbent but with the least filters. Unfortunately, this means we are unlikely to compute the pertinent facts in a way most conducive to alleviating the tedium. Instead, it has an adverse effect.
We are frequently assured throughout life – via friends and family, as well as motivational quotes set against rainbows and unicorns – that one bad word counts for nothing when offset by a million positive ones. Yet, it’s these bad words that set the precedent for our wholly steadfast self-opinions.
How crap is that? During times of extreme stress or difficulty, the people who love us the most are unfalteringly by our side. They provide a unique support system on the basis they know us in ways no one else possibly can. In some cases, they quite possibly go out of their remit to find solutions to seemingly unsolvable issues. They take the time to offer gentle, encouraging words or displays of affection and reassurance, even if these are unpredictably shunned. Quite simply, they offer unconditional love. Unreservedly so.
There’s no doubt we listen. And we are capable of believing that, in spite of everything we’ve previously known, there may actually be some credibility behind the sentiments. But the fact remains that, when we’re made to feel shit about ourselves, that’s all we understand.
If you open a door with a smile and hypothetically stick ten people on the other side of it, asking them if you are a polite person, chances are, nine will say yes and one (just to be obstinate) will say no. You’ll probably leave with a bit of warm and fuzzy in your tummy, but by the time you open your front door and let yourself in the safety of your home, you’ll be questioning that one, negative opinion. And it will gnaw away at you until three weeks later, when someone accidentally barges into you in Tesco, you’ll apologise profusely and still walk away feeling like it was your fault. Because the negative emotions seem to hold all the power.
Why is this? Are we living in a society that programs us to spot the bad in someone before the good? With so much of life being readily available via modern technology, are we inviting in too negative a portrayal of the world? The media concocts stories about health, for example, that are often heavily biased towards the worst case scenario, instead of representing facts with a more hopeful spin. We become afraid to look at or read anything that may potentially help us, for fear of being told life ends here.
I don’t need to state the obvious – suffice to say, war is bad and on the whole, people prefer peace. Someone might swing around a dog by the throat one day, but a thousand others tirelessly save injured or homeless animals on another. The news doesn’t have to be so bleak, yet striking a balance seems impossible. It’s evidently widely accepted by the media that shock, fear and sadness on a minuscule scale sells stories over widespread goodness. It doesn’t take a head full of brains to work out that, actually, the opposite is probably true.
So many are quick to complain about the state of the world, though and not so hot-to-trot when it comes to making a stand. In fairness, one person WOULD struggle to make a positive difference – lots of one persons would make for one hefty army. Strangely enough, the human condition is spurred on by acts of kindness. But the odd, sporadic one won’t ever seal the deal – society needs people en masse to self-perpetuate what’s moral and just. No one has the right to complain if they’re not prepared to commit to the cause.
So, what IS the reason we become attuned to closing our ears to the positive words? One person’s words, once a day cannot make a difference? Nine people’s words are not enough either? Is it too easy to accept that a negative opinion is closest to the truth on the grounds that it’s contentious to speak it? Why can’t we accept that being positive is far more truthful? That maybe, just maybe, the vast majority of people are kind and honest with no motive whatsoever?
If the positive messages of support are what makes your heartstrings twang with a shred of happiness, even for a fleeting moment, it was all worth it, surely? Hang onto that feeling and it will emanate throughout the daily lives of your immediate loved ones, to bounce off in all kinds of untold directions. Perpetuate the positives and with enough backing, the negativity could dissipate altogether. Ultimately, if you feel shit and someone reminds you how wonderful you are, take it for what it is – honesty in the face of adversity; carried on the back of unconditional love.