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Poisoned Apples August 8, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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People stand, at the ready, to help others piss and moan about stuff.

Even when those directly impacted have no desire to waste time and energy pissing and moaning about IT . . .

Whatever IT is. 

Case in point:  When people ask about mom, I tend to provide a neutral overview of recent events, sharing basic facts (and humorous anecdotes) without much in the way of elaboration.

Listeners often respond by superimposing negative interpretations over my neutral recounting:

Frog-Circus“Oh, that must be so HARD.”  [Translation:  “Go ahead.  Piss and moan all you want.”]  

“Oh, you must be EXHAUSTED.”  [Translation:  “Go ahead.  Piss and moan all you want.”]

“If you need to VENT, I’m a good listener.”  [Translation:  “Go ahead.  Piss and moan all you want.”]

This type of interpretive comment is designed to encourage the recounter (in this case, me) to elaborate on the recounting . . . by putting a negative spin on recent events.

Something I am disinclined to do.

Instead of buying into the notion that venting about the “negatives” is a good use of our limited time on the planet, I resist these stalwart efforts to draw me into conversations with a downward bent.

If I’m feeling neutral, I refuse to be pulled off kilter by people who appear anxious to see me spiraling downward in an endless tailspin or nosedive.

And it’s not just the situation with mom that elicits this type of reaction.

I went to the dentist yesterday and found I needed to return today for a crown.  The tooth in question has been bothering me.  I want it fixed.   I’m not “happy” about getting from HERE to THERE . . . but I don’t wish to stay where I am.

When I mentioned the return visit in a neutral manner, the listener applied a negative spin to my words:

“Oh, that’s a bummer.”  

When I did not return the volley, the listener tried again:

“I hate going to the dentist.  You must be TERRIFIED.”

And again:

“Crowns are EXPENSIVE.  I hope you have insurance to cover the cost.”

And again:

“One of my friends went in for a crown and she was in AGONY for days afterward.  Turns out the dentist mangled a nerve and . . .”

Some may think these people (and others like them) are being “nice” . . . giving us the opportunity to throw a pity party for ourselves every time a pebble appears on the path.

I remain unconvinced.

Attempts to “commiserate” with someone who is NOT complaining is akin to asking someone who feels fine to bite into a poisoned apple.

We need not collapse into a pool of negativity every time life throws us a curveball.

When someone is happy (or accepting) about life’s curveballs, maybe we should be happy or accepting with them . . . instead of proffering poisoned apples?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote:  The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heav’n of Hell, or a Hell of Heav’n. ~ John Milton