We Need to Do More Than Complain

Staying Positive While Inhaling Second-Hand Negativity

by Tracy Uttley

Our culture loves to complain. We complain about gas prices, the neighbor’s dog, and high taxes. We complain that it is too hot or too cold. We complain that the French fries aren’t crispy enough, and they don’t make refrigerators like they used to. Our grumbling about the world is a habit. Negativity infiltrates the air, stinking up our hair, skin, and lungs like second-hand smoke.

Breathing in second-hand negativity, we begin to focus more and more on the negative. Complaining is the gateway to more dangerous habits like judging. I became a judger at an early age, quickly emulating the negative ways of my culture. Judgments reek of stagnation, stubbornness, and rigidness. Denying my feelings and my power, I played the victim. I simmered and seethed with judgments as they demanded how I should look, feel, and think. They fooled me into feeling helpless and hopeless. They pushed me backward, and yelled, "I can't and I won't."

For decades we have let the judgments fly while cussing at the television from our recliners. Negativity and passivity pollute our airwaves and news feeds, flipping our world upside down, exposing dark hidden truths about us. As our negativity rises to the surface, we have been forced to see things we did not want to see. Negativity often mirrors our ignorance. It exposes the parts of ourselves that have not yet matured.

America is a young country. Like rebellious teenagers, we make immature, impulsive and reckless decisions. Our negative thoughts, words, and actions chip away at our self- esteem and intrinsic value. Like an addict, we make judging and being right more important than dealing with issues, digging in with righteousness, we make every point a political one and then blame the other side.

As recovering judgmentalists, we are a news headline away from a relapse. We must have the courage to look inside and see what negative beliefs are causing us to participate in self-destructive behaviors. Instead of judging, we need to understand. Understanding invites us to be poised and use our strengths to make better decisions. Understanding pulls us towards things, encouraging us to stand tall for what you believe in and move towards that. It says, “I can, and I will.”

Our government will change when we change. When we, as individuals, rise up in our personal power, our country will stand upon the strength of each individual and address issues in the world from a place of integrity, respect, and upliftment. When we stop judging and become more empathetic and compassionate, we will recognize we are not separate from each other or this planet. If we look for more of the things we have in common, rather than look for the differences, we will move into mutual understanding for each other. It is from this place of neutrality that we tap into our creativity and find solutions.

It takes bravery to see the beauty and the brokenness of this world. Having a positive thought, saying a kind word, and being actively engaged citizens can impact our country and the rest of the world. We have an opportunity to wake up and start making positive changes that can result in huge successes down the road.


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