Sunday, 16 January 2011

Positive Thinking

So, here we are, new year, same old January flurry of doomed resolutions and endless adverts for discount sofas and diet products on the telly.

As I roam the internet in my various guises I detect a common trait in some status updates, tweets and blog postings. A persistent, all pervasive pessimism. Some of this is to do with the time of year. The season of forced good cheer can be a depressing experience. Some of it is to do with the undeniably challenging financial situation most of us now find ourselves negotiating. Some of it is down to the individuals in question being resolutely miserable. There's nothing wrong with being miserable, of course. We are all gloomy from time to time. For some unfortunate souls this may develop into full blown depression and that, too, is something I can understand and sympathise with.

The problem is, the negative types I encounter on the social networking sites tend to be miserable and outgoing, rather than quiet and withdrawn which would suit me much better.

We all have our private troubles and inner turmoil. Some people don't wish to keep this to themselves, they don't even want to confide in a close personal friend, relative, priest or healthcare professional. No, they want the whole world to know that they are having a terrible time and nothing, no nothing, ever goes right for them. And should you make the mistake of posting a supportive comment, a link to an uplifting song, a positive story, you will then encounter resistance, self-pity and stubborn, self-indulgent negativity. "That might work for other people," they moan, "but it never does for me."

So, what option does that leave? If a response of "tomorrow will be better - chin up" is met with "it won't, I can't, I'm too miserable" and a response of "you're right, your life is unbearable, top yourself" is unlikely to improve the situation then the only option left is to ignore them. Or slag them off in a blog post.

A problem shared is not a problem halved, it is a problem spread about the place, like dogshit on a shoe. It spoils the atmosphere for everyone.

You're allowed to post that you're pissed off, that your day has been disappointing, frustrating or unsatisfying. You can complain about unexpected bills to pay, being out of work or unhappily married. Just don't let it be all you bang on about and spare me the melodramatics. While you have a roof over your head, a bed in which to sleep, food in your belly, access to clean drinking water, sanitation and medical care you're living the dream. Really. You might feel sad, down, lonely, depressed but that is a very different thing to your life being crap.

Positive thinking, people. That's where it's at.