The Three Robots. Or Is Positivity postively annoying?
When I was a kid, there was this book that my best friend Jenny had, called "The Three Robots". It was about three robots, Pos, Neg and Semi-Pos. Pos was the eternal optimist robot who was trying to get his friends to be cheerful and smile. This was not so easy for the other two and I don't recall a lot about the book, but that it made me feel a little weird, though I don't remember why exactly.
So I googled the heck out of it until I found what I hope is the book and I ordered it on ebay. It's on its way to me now.
I brought it up because I've been thinking a lot about positivity. Studies show that a positive attitude actually makes for better health and well-being. And I have been, all my life, a generally happy, upbeat and positive person. But sometimes a positive attitude just seems to annoy people.
My freshman year in high school, we had to give a speech, about an object that represented us. I chose a yellow koosh ball. Remember those? And while I was talking about how its sunny color and bouncy shape represented my personality, Margaret, this girl in school who did. not. like. Alie. Kriofske., crossed her arms pointedly across her chest and rolled her eyes. After class she stopped me in the hallway and told me how stupid and annoying my speech was.
When I have gushed a little over a note Tad has given me or something he's said, I often am met with eye rolls and disdain.
What's so wrong with being positive?
Was my freshman speech annoying to Margaret because she thought I should just shut up and enjoy my life and not talk about how much I enjoy it? Or was it annoying to her because she wished she had what I was talking about? Or was it just plain annoying? I'm not sure.
And to be quite frank, when I look on FaceBook, and someone says "I love my life" or something to that effect, I find myself occasionally suppressing an urge to roll my eyes (if I'm in a bad mood or having a rough day). But if I'm in a good mood, I'm just like "Good for her!" Isn't that interesting. And in the end, those positive posts are the ones that bring me back to someone's page to see what else they're saying.
So I started thinking. Maybe it's okay to love your life. Maybe it's okay to say 'Guess what my husband said....' or 'Here's something great that happened to me....' If you think and talk like that, you know you love your life without having to actually say it explicitly.
But I see people say things to their friends like, "Oh you're so in shape. I hate you." or "Don't you just hate her and her beautiful hair!" Or at work, "Why does she get to leave early on Tuesdays?! Why don't I?" Why do we begrudge people the good things that come to them? Why can't we say:
"You look great."
"You have great hair."
"That's so nice that you get to leave early on Tuesdays."
and just assume there are reasons for all of those things.
We live in such a sad and stressed out world. Every one's so worried and hurt and angry and stressed and afraid. And it affects me too. It affects all of us. I'm working on a story right now and everything about it is sad. When I write a song, it is almost always sad. It's there. I just don't choose to communicate it every day. My dear friend, Jen, who is an artist and a kindred spirit (and also, coincidentally, knows about the Three Robots) told me, "I think, for you, that's just what needs to come out."
And she's right. I don't let that stuff out on a daily basis so it comes out in my art. Without me even thinking about it.
So let it all out, maybe I'm saying. The sad stuff, sure. But the happy stuff too. It's good for you.