To me, I feel like this is an over-used and cliche phrase nowadays. But over the last month I’ve really come to think of the phrase to encompass how I feel.
During my time in AmeriCorps I experienced more negativity, hatred, and disbelief in the good of people than ever before. The negtivity I experienced was something I knew existed out there, but wasn’t something I ever thought I’d be surrounded by for 9 months. It seemed to envelop me and make me more frustrated, more negative, and more disappointed with everything. I fell into this thought process that wasn’t me, and I didn’t like it. Being in the South with limited transportation, time off, and funds, I was unable to do the things I normally do to break myself out of a funk like walk through the forest, or go to the ocean. I didn’t feel like myself towards the end and I took it out on the people I love most.
After a tear-filled conversation with a dear friend I realized that I had just been broken by the constant weight of negativity on my heart. At home I surround myself with good people, I take breaks from negativity, and I have more resources at my disposal to maintain my optimism. So now that I am home, the weight has been lifted and I’m ready to get back to my old self and view the cup as half-full, not half-empty.
That being said, I don’t think I am optimistic or positive 100% of the time. If anyone said they were, I’d call them a liar. Its hard to be happy all the time when you read the news, or you know your friend’s family is having a hard time, or you feel like you’re not where you should be. Being angry and frustrated isn’t even a bad thing! But when its constant, and you’re not working to improve the problem, it becomes poisonous. It infiltrates every conversation you have and you end up losing sight of the problem in the first place.
So heres my call to action. Be angry. Be pissed-off. Yell and scream about the problems that are harming you and others around you. But don’t sit in it, act on it. Negativity can be a great driving force when you want to get something done, and it can disrupt and halt your belief that good things can happen and this world can become a better place. Fill your life with positive people, bright colors, fresh air, and contemplative conversation. Make other people happy, make yourself happy, and fight for whats right.Choose your negativity wisely, believe in the good in others, and use anger as a tool.