The N Word

I’m going to skip the intentionally misdirected opening paragraph and dive right in.
It’s just been that kind of a day.

We all know what society and modern culture has taught us about the “N Word”.

And yes, I’m talking about the word we’re all thinking about. I’m not afraid to use it here, but I won’t.

I won’t because supposedly it’s categorically the most hurtful and damaging “N” word in our language.

Whether you subscribe to that or not is irrelevant.

Personally I don’t. I think words are words and are only as powerful as you make them. Strip them of their worth and you reduce them back down to what they actually are. Words.

But this is not about that particular “N word”.
No, there’s another word that’s even more damaging. More sinister and more harmful.

One that wields actual power.
Destructive, corruptible power.

Negativity.

To be more specific, personal negativity.

…so I guess that’s the “PN word”.

Personal negativity is like a snake eating its own tail.
But instead of a snake, it’s you and instead of eating it’s own tail, it’s destroying everything you love because you can’t see anything but failures.
Unfortunately, you never recognize them as your own failures. You only see them as someone else.
Personal negativity is like standing in front of a two way mirror and yelling at the person on the other side.
Only you can’t see them. All you can see is yourself.
And there is nobody on the other side.

They’ve long since left.
So all you’re doing is yelling to yourself.
At yourself and for nobody’s “benefit” except your own.
Which is what you’ve really been doing all along.
Only you didn’t realize it.

But now the room is dark. You’re all alone.
And there’s just enough light on the other side for you to see through to the empty room.
Nobody’s there.
They’ve been gone for a very long time.
Why would they stay?
Nobody likes to be yelled at.

But your personal negativity blinded you.
Made you react without thinking.
Made you think without having the facts.
Made you see fault where there was none.
The only thing that’s become clear is your own insecurities.
And the worst part about negativity, is it takes almost nothing to multiply.
The smallest things add to it. The thinest of slights add to its mass.
A bad taste. A cloudy day. A twisted recollection.
All just additional fat on it’s already bloated sniveling carcass.

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that “negativity begets negativity”.
Well, I’m here to tell you that nothing could be more true.

And what most people won’t admit to, is that negativity is far more powerful than positivity. The dark side is far stronger.
There’s something oddly comforting in discomfort.
People use it as a cocoon or wield it like a shield.
It’s protective. Safe.
There’s warmth under a dragon’s wings.

But just know that once you’re in, it’s almost impossible to find your way out.
Any attempt that’s met with failure becomes reassurance.
A way for you to internalize the old “I told you so” lament.
Nothing changes – so why bother?
But in order for things to change you do have to bother.
Twice as hard as your comfort zone will allow.
And sadly, once in it’s grips, that’s two times harder than you’re able to try.

See, at the end of it all, personal negativity is a fundamental lack of self love and self respect. You need love yourself before being able to love and accept others.
I know that’s a hard concept to truly understand and an even harder goal to reach when fully grasped. But without an elemental measure of self awareness, you’ll never be able to see the bigger picture.

Know yourself in order to know others.
…I think Colonel Sanders said that.

But here’s the rub….ready for the rub….let me give you the rub….I’m gonna rub ya…and you ain’t gonna like it…

Rub_Steak_00305

 

…see, I told you…

No, the rub is that all it takes to dismiss negativity is a blink of the eyes.
A clearing of the mind.
A head full of focus.
Hocus Pocus.
By Focus.

And now that’s stuck in your head.

Something that makes you say “shit, this ain’t so bad”.
The problem is, by the time that happens, it’s likely too late to undo the damage you’ve caused.

And yes, I’m speaking of my own personal circumstances.
Sunday morning, I woke up feeling shitty.
Feeling guilty and remorseful and sad and alone.
I find myself in a spiral of remorse and shame. One that I am totally unable to free myself of at the moment.
That afternoon I went on a hike. Where I went and how long I stayed out is not relevant.
What was important is that I find solace among the trees and the stillness of nature. I was alone, but not lonely.

Through the trees I could see the water just beyond the bluffs.
The water through the trees in a manner of speaking.

IMG_7957

And I thought, “what a great expression”, if only someone hadn’t already coined it.

Personal negativity is the proverbial forest through the trees.
You become too involved in the details of a problem to look at it as a whole.
Objectivity might as well be a distant planet in another solar system in an alternate dimension covered in hot tar.

But like anything else, there are lessons to be learned. Things to help propel you forward.
Once you realize that negativity is a choice – YOUR choice, you see how easy it is to walk away from it.

And when you see someone making the same bad choices you once did, you feel a gnawing pit in your stomach and almost an instinctive urge to beg them not to go down that path.

You know where it leads.
It leads right to your front door.
A studio apartment.
Utterly alone.
Typing out a blog on a Tuesday morning instead of waking up next to the woman you love.

This is where personal negativity leads you.

Sure there’s a fresh coat of paint on the walls and I’m not wearing any pants…but who cares?

Sorry, I promise my next blog will be funny.

Like I said, it’s just been that kind of day.

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