As I'm working on being more joyful, I've become increasingly aware of all the negativity around me. Pessimism. Complaining. Jealousy. Gossip. "Why can't I? If only. It's so unfair!" And so often, my first inclination is to join right in and be just as negative. Someone complains about how early she had to wake up this morning? First thought to pop into my head is, "Well, I was up 20 minutes before that, AND I tossed and turned all night!"
The good news is, I'm getting better at filtering those initial negative thoughts before they come out of my mouth. But I find myself feeling physically unpleasant when I spend too much time around someone speaking negatively. I want to say, "Hey, could you tone down the b****ing and moaning for two seconds? Go smell a flower or something." But obviously, I need to find a better way to express myself. I've been trying to be a lot more intentional about keeping my own attitude positive when I'm around people who tend to be not so chipper, hoping that my mood will rub off on them. Unfortunately, it seems a lot easier for their bad moods to rub off on me instead.
I've also considered saying, "My pastor's eight-year-old daughter has cancer for the third time, and SHE'S not complaining!" but that may not be a great approach either. Although it IS certainly inspiring and humbling to watch little Daisy and the Merrick family go through all of this crap with such joyfulness. That's Jesus at work, friends.
I digress. What I want from you (whoever's reading this) is advice. What should I do? Should I just avoid talking to those people all together? Or can you think of a tactful, helpful way to gently encourage someone to try to be more positive? And if you do have suggestions, you might as well also tell me how to be good at confronting people, since I'm still pretty terrible at that, too. Especially when the person complaining is in some way my "superior" -- older, wiser, higher-ranking at work, and so on. (Because sadly, the majority of Negative Nancies I encounter seem to be folks who are theoretically more mature than me.)
PS: If you're reading this and you think I'm writing explicitly about you, you're probably wrong. But I suppose if you see a little bit of yourself in the stuff I'm talking about, you could choose to try to be more positive and see if it rubs off on other people. Let's spread joy!