Talking to someone who was all doom and gloom about a serious situation in their life, I suggested, “Maybe you could change your internal conversation to increase your odds of a better outcome. Because often, what we think is what happens.”
“Oh,” they said. “I can’t do that.”
I asked if it was because they were lugubrious by nature. The response?
“Probably.” Hard stop.
When you view the world through a dark lens, there really is no way out. Unless you’re willing to change the lens. If you aren’t, well, best of luck to you.
I am not a great support to people who want to wallow. Holding space for people to have their doom and gloom feelings has an expiration date for me. At some point I want to encourage them to find a different way. In those cases, though, it’s wasted breath. It never ends well.
So many people I know back in my hometown come at their lives with “all the reasons why I shouldn’t.” They are not only unwilling to change their internal conversation, they refuse to. Heels dug in.
I find this so puzzling.
Why would you not be open to something new? A different way of looking at a situation? Or especially to a positive outcome?
What if things actually worked out?
They’re people who prefer to wallow in the negative rather than hear about another way. Just not interested. Because wallowing is comfortable. It’s what they’ve always known. It hasn’t worked for them, but it’s familiar and the familiar is oh-so-comfortable. Even in its discomfort.
And that’s really the point. This is where they live. They know the landscape. And they’re not into adventure.
So how do you deal with that kind of person?
The answer is, “at your own risk. And theirs.”
Those that allow them to wallow (and even drown) are considered “supportive.”
Those who eventually suggest a way out, are not.
I don’t see this as much in my California friends as I do in the small, western NY city I grew up in. Not everyone is like that, but a good many people I know there, are. When I moved away to sunnier climes I noticed when in my hometown, many walked around with frowns and unhappy faces. I wondered if it was because the winters were so damn cold. Oh, how they hate winter. So maybe that’s it.
And a word about trauma.
Many of us have been traumatized at some point in our lives. Some more deeply than others. It’s not a contest–it’s a challenge to find a healthy way to manage life around that traumatization. To change your internal conversation.
Is it therapy? Meds? Meditation? Yoga? Somewhere, there’s a way that works for them. For everyone. It’s just not the same for everyone.
I’m wondering what YOU think about this situation. Because I know you have an opinion. Would love to hear it in the Comments.
I find this negative/doom & gloom attitude puzzling too, Carol. Someone said to me once that I’m always smiling …. I am an optimistic person but that is not to say that I haven’t experienced trauma, or been depressed or sadness … yes, I most certainly have… but life is for living! If I am not happy I do my darnest to turn that around. Oh… and yoga/meditation/walking definitely helps too. 😊
Yes and I am sure people may say, “oh, but depression” and that is an entirely different matter.
I watched Jonah Hill’s documentary “Stutz” (now on Netflix) about his beloved therapist Phil Stutz. Hill credits Stutz with changing his life.
Jonah wanted to share with the world
how Stutz’s “tools” had changed him
from being miserable to happy.
The movie is so moving that I
read Stutz’s 2012 book “The Tools.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the movie and the book is that most people like to live in a comfort zone.
Stutz, a 76 year old M. D./psychiatrist observes that most people avoid going beyond the comfort zone because it’s painful.
But the price paid for not going past the comfort zone is a smaller and more limited life.
On the other side of the comfort zone
lies infinite possibilities.
Without work, discomfort, and uncertainty of moving through and past the comfort zone, there can be no real change or growth.
That’s what I thought when I read about people in your home town stuck in their fixed mindsets.
thanks for this… LB I know just whom to gift it to.
You and I both know how hard
it is to move through and past
a comfort zone.
Writing and performing
our original scripts
is just one example of doing it.
It ain’t easy!!!!
YES, absolutely. Feel the fear and do it anyway. That’s the only way through it.
I know someone is difficult to change when they always come up with reasons/excuses for ideas not working. Their minds are closed. That’s when I realize I’m wasting my breath.
Yes, all the reasons “why not.”
It’s hard to convince certain people to look at life in a more positive way. Someone I know is always waiting for the other shoe to drop and yet is always talking about God and very faithful to her religion. Somehow, I can’t see the connect!
I don’t understand negative self-talk. There are people in my life who do the same. I love the show Ted Lasso and will repeat watch it because the title character is so positive. But one of my favorite scenes is when a soccer/football player is leaving the therapist’s office, and he says, “I am a strong and capable person. I am not a piece of shit.” The therapist tells him he doesn’t need the second sentence.
Ha! Now that’s a therapist! (I love my own so much! Well, not literally “love” her but she is terrific. Maybe the best I ever had)