For years I was a negative kid. Why? I dunno. I've spent hundreds of dollars trying to understand so many things but my therapist and I never got to the bottom of this one. My best guess is for attention. But at some point I learned that being positive is to some degree a choice. I learned, for me, I could stop myself, think about what was happening or the way I felt, and make a choice to change my view.
I know I make it sound simple and I know it's not. And really, it isn't the point of this story. The point is I've become sensitive to negativity. Sadly, I see it a lot. Sadly, I also see few people trying to change it.
We've all been there - the other person got the promotion, your team lost to your rival, the other guy got the girl - and you choose to find all sorts or reasons why or you blame the other person. "They got the promotion because they kiss the bosses ass. They don't do anything or know anything." "The other team won because they cheat." "The refs sucked and wanted them to win" " That guy is an asshole, what does she see in him?" But why?
Last night I had the pleasure of hearing US Representative Keith Ellison (MN) speak along with Bham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Bham City Council (District 3) Sheila Tyson.
Let me say, I am a Democrat and my opinions do lean to the left. I like to think I have an open mind though and I've realized that I can learn a lot, sometimes more, from those that don't agree with me. So at the rally, a comment was made about Republicans being bad. And there it was...
That negative feeling.... that feeling of having to put someone down to raise myself up. And why? Where did we learn this? I wonder because it's obscene. Rarely is something so simple that there is only wrong or right. There are many things in life that we can do different ways but get the same result. So why does someone have to be wrong for me to be right?
So they allowed questions and, answering a point Rep. Ellison made concerning how to get more votes, I stated that we needed candidates of character willing to work with Republicans. That Republicans have good ideas too. I'll make a note here that this was maybe not my finest moment. I didn't get booed but I did have some objections from the crowd and thankfully Ellison came to my rescue by settling the crowd. But you know, I feel it was the right thing to say and hopefully it made others think.
This is a city, state, and country made up of a lot of different opinions. Why not listen? You never know when you'll hear a great idea or even a way toward common ground. It could be from a political opponent, a loved one, a person of another race or country, a little kid, or even someone very similar to yourself. I have often found that objectives or intentions are similar but they may just go about it a different way. AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.
We can differ without one of us being wrong. We just differ. Can't it be that simple instead of someone has to be wrong? I think you have to find the good in others. Everyone has good qualities and you have to learn to stay positive to look for where we agree. I have my fair share of bad qualities and crazy ideas. I would hate if that's all anyone saw in me.
I think a lot of times I see this from groups that are often marginalized. Hang on, don't go sharpening your knives. Remember... listen. My point is it's like we said, "ok, fine, we'll accept one of you but not all of you." They turn on each other and destroy the other person. For the record, white males do it too. But again, why?
I recently applied for a job and didn't get it. That doesn't make me unqualified or less of a person. I don't have to be a bad candidate. They just chose someone else and I wish them well. The company has to pick one. It's not because they slept with somebody or is someone's nephew. The company just has to guess who they think will fit and do a good job.
Think about it. The Oscars are tomorrow night. One actor wins but that's not the only good one. That's not the only person with talent. They are all talented, including those not nominated. We don't say the other nominees suck. Many times, it's just that certain parts or certain roles stick with people and that actor gets more attention. Or they may be better today but it doesn't mean they are always better. It certainly doesn't mean that Denzel Washington has to suck for Tom Hanks to win.
I suggest we build each other up and see how that goes for a while because I think it's pretty clear that being negative toward others doesn't work. It just makes everyone angry and negative. I choose not to accept that.