Fall of 2015, I’d say I began nothing short of a crusade to get my head outta my ass. Meaning I knew that how I felt about myself and how I was thinking about things was hindering me. I was stuck. And had been for a long time.
The stuck part became really obvious as I began my own business, nearly four years ago. I wouldn’t say I had grand illusions of being rich and well-known, but I naively assumed that my passion and relatability would seemingly bring a flow of clients. It didn’t. Here’s what happened instead. I took it personally –> I labeled myself a failure –> I wondered what I was doing wrong –> I’d pull up and stop what I was doing –> I’d get some rest, have some distance, then find I DID want to continue –> I’d start something new –> then it wasn’t an immediate success –> then I’d take it personally.
A long, vicious, never-ending circle.
How the hell was I going to get out of it??
Well, there have been lots of little things I’ve done over the past 18 months-ish. But I’m now getting to the real meat of the matter…getting used to putting ALL of me out there. You know… being 100% authentic, no tempering, being controversial, showing the often labeled “negative” parts of myself. You get stuck when you are afraid to be you!
So here we are…me, getting brave enough to admit and even accept and (finally!) be cool with, as in like, all the facets of me.
I’m creating a blog series called ‘This Is Me.’ The purpose??
- To embrace what is me. To say it. To own it. To get past the fear of judgement and just do…because there isn’t anything I actually CAN do about how I am received.
- To help myself realize it isn’t “bad” to be certain things.
- To show you that imperfection is your antidote to so much of what ails you.
- To show you that we all have qualities that are a little dodgy, shall we say. Uh…we are human! Remember?!
Without further adieu…here is installment number one: Carrie Headley is negative.
Man!! That felt liberating just to finally fucking say it!
Guess what else? This is gonna blow your mind!! I like that I’m negative!!! Yep, I totally fucking do!!
I have spent years…YEARS!!…operating with the idea that I’m negative and that makes me a bad, unlikeable, unworthy person.
I have spent years…YEARS!!…trying to turn myself into a positive person. Or, more accurately, never bitch about anything around people who either 1) said I was negative or 2) barf positivity all the time.
Know what the turning point was for me about “being negative?”
I finally asked my husband if I was? Poor guy! He waffled…as any smart husband should! 🙂
So I said something like “I want to know. Because I don’t think I’m negative…at least not in the way I define negative. Negative to me means I will not accept/allow/be open to any alternative or suggestion…I just shoot down everything and assume there is no solution or way to better my situation. I also don’t think I am one of those people that just commandeers the conversation and is all “woe is me” and literally drains you of energy each time you see them. Am I that?”
His response was something like this “No. If that’s what you think negative is, you’re not that. Now, are you an optimist? Nope…you are most definitely NOT a glass half full kind of person. You tend to look at things from a negative view point…more skeptical about the outcome I guess…you assume the outcome will be negative versus positive. And you have to bitch about stuff.”
To which I responded something like “I know I do that. If that’s what people mean when they say I’m negative, then I’m fine with that.”
Now, I have no idea what friends of mine mean when they say I’m negative. But suddenly it didn’t matter to me anymore, and I’m about to explain why.
Labels and adjectives come heavily laced with each person’s perceptions and experiences. What “negative” (or any other descriptor for that matter) means to me may/may not be what negative means to you.
But here’s what this convo with my husband brought to light: I had been worrying about being negative because of the perception *I* attached to it. Once he said I was negative and he explained his perception attached to it, then negative wasn’t necessarily “bad” anymore…meaning it wasn’t a “I feel bad about myself for being this way” kind of feeling anymore.
I have no idea what anyone means when they say “You’re negative.” I could ask I suppose…and depending upon the person and or situation I might. But can you imagine how much energy you would exert trying to understand all the meaning behind what any person says to you or about you?
Suddenly the light went on.
I can’t know or control or guess at what someone perceives in my words and actions…there is simply no way for me to adjust my being to another person. I would have to know all their experiences and hang-ups before I talked to them. If I knew that, then I would alter my communication so it could be received in the way I intended based on them.
If that’s not convoluted I don’t know what is?? Did you even understand what I wrote?? Yeah, me either…
So onto embracing my negativity.
I don’t like being disappointed. When I have built up my expectations about how rosy and wonderful things *could* turn out, I am supremely disappointed and have a difficult time letting my notions go of what was “supposed to” happen. I cope much better when I prepare for the worst…then I’m pleasantly surprised. I’m not buying into thinking this is a “bad” trait of mine anymore. It is who I am…it’s been there for as long as I can remember!
Life is a challenge. Not every day certainly, but there are struggles. I also happen to believe struggles are where you learn and get your grit. You can’t learn if you’re looking for the rainbow…you gotta see and experience the rain before the sun comes to make the rainbow. Negative is part of life and I think we’d do good to maybe experience it a little more instead of avoid it for the sake of “finding the silver lining.”
Being negative has made me really good at some of my jobs. I could forecast problems and build them into the plan…or at least be thinking about a solution for clean up if shit went south. In the world of IT and project management, which is where I worked before kids, this was an invaluable skill. You gotta know where the pitfalls are so you can avoid them!
Yin to the yang people. Our world is choking on positive. Sorry, you aren’t going to convince me otherwise. The self-help world will tell you to live relentlessly positive…to never bitch about traffic, to love that you’re living paycheck to paycheck, etc. No! Just, no!! You can’t dwell in your crappy situation, you DO have to try to move forward and carry on, but you can also think it sucks and say so!
The #nonnegative hashtag somehow makes me think its rather look-down-your-nose-ish at those folks who aren’t waxing poetic. Think I might start using the hashtag #nonpositive…cuz we need more of that I think!
I’m Carrie Headley and I’m negative! And it’s actually a trait about myself that I like…and serves me…and that I’m done apologizing for and thinking I need to fix!
Like this POV and want more where that came from? Then you need to be getting my newsletter or joining my FB group. I don’t spew sunshine all the time..and if that is appealing and refreshing then join my crew in either of those places. I’m waiting for my fellow curmudgeons…come on and join the tribe where people get you! 🙂