Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Too Many Positives Equal a Negative

I was listening to the radio the other day in the car, because that's almost the only time I can just listen to music. However, as the kids and I headed home from grocery shopping, we hit that time on Sunday night where they have their little talk show. >eye roll here< (I'm not going into why I'm rolling my eyes, but let's just say that it's when they gather together a bunch of men that are basically out of touch with the real world and discuss issues that are meant to help us out. It's a mostly worthless program.) ANYWAY... The topic was stress and how to get rid of bad stress and only have good stress, whatever that is, because they sort of skipped over that other than to say there's good stress and there's bad stress. Whatever. To the body, stress is stress.

They're babbling along, and I was only half listening, because I didn't want to be listening at all, because I wanted there to be music, but I caught one of the guys saying that one of the best ways to deal with stress is to avoid negative people. Yes, yes, surround yourself with happy, bubbly people, and all of your stress will just melt away. And that's when I reached up and turned the radio off.

My son, as he is wont to do, immediately asked me why I did that, and I found myself needing to explain to him that that view, the view of cutting negative people out of your life, comes from an illegitimate arm of popular psychology called positive psychology which, by and large, is worthless and completely made up. This is not me saying this, although I agree with it, positive psychology has no basis in research. It is a series of hypotheses that adherents have made without any proof. I think it was the guy that founded the movement that said something like, "We are hoping that one day the research will prove our claims." Great.

Going with the theme of pointing back to old posts on Shadow Spinner release days, you should all go back and read this post talking about the excellent book Bright-sided by Barbara Ehrenreich. After you read my post, you should probably pick up that book. I think it will be quite an eye opener. On the other hand, if you're totally bought into all of this positive thinking crap, you should just ignore everything I just said.

But don't ignore this!

Today is the FREE! release of "Part Six: The Man with No Eyes." It will be FREE! all day Thursday, October 4 and Friday, October 5. Make sure you go pick it up as it is the first appearance of Michael in the pages of Shadow Spinner. If you want to know more about  him, you'll have to check out "The Evil That Men Do." It's only $0.99. Oh, as a special bonus, you can also get for FREE! "Part Five: The Police Car" today only. I'm pretty sure I said FREE!, so don't miss out!
And remember, because, well, honestly, I'm begging, especially if you've picked up previous installments and liked them, please click the "like" button when you download. You could always go back and click "like" on all of the other ones, too. It's not hard. Just a slight twitch of the finger on your mouse. A little more time consuming would be a short review and a rating. It doesn't even have to be a long review. I think Amazon requires something like 20 words, so, you know, you could write something like "This was the most awesomest story ever written, and everyone should read it!" and you'd be more than half way there. And there are even some words left over so you could personalize the review in some way. Seriously, every review helps.

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Ha! I think I rolled my eyes at your description of the talk show! And I agree stress is stress...

  2. Will mention part six tomorrow! Without prompting or anything.
    Stress is stress, but I do feel better when I avoid the negative, grumpy, selfish people in life.

  3. I agree, stress is stress. Don't know how you manage to avoid negative people if they are part of your life.

  4. I feel some intrusion of my positivity bubble right now. I'm closing my eyes and clapping my hands over my ears until it goes away.

    ...there, all better.

    Downloaded, liked... review forthcoming.

  5. It sucks you have to beg people to write reviews and hit the Like button and all that. I wish more people did that automatically, at least those who want to give it a good review. Idiots who give it 1 star because they didn't like one thing should just STFU.

  6. I really want to know about this good stress phenomenon.

    But first, I'm going to download Part 6. I haven't had the chance to read this series yet but I'll be sure to start it soon.

  7. Kimberly: Yep, science says so!

    Rachel: Thanks! :)

    Alex: I wouldn't necessarily lump negative in with grumpy and selfish, at least not the way that it's used in positive psychology.

    Jo: Oh, you "cut them out" of your life. That's what they say to do, anyway.

    Rusty: LOL Glad to know that works for you.

    PT: It does suck, especially with the "like" button. I mean, it's right there and barely a finger spasms worth of work. I'm sure people get tired of hearing me beg, too.

    MJ: Yeah, I'm not sure what they're talking about either.

  8. Gave ya another like and Passed this link onto family and friends on Facebook. :)

  9. Interesting advice. I tend to think that I've lived better choosing to ignore negative people. But I put up with years of emotional abuse. I guess that's what I mean by negative. It's been very difficult on me coming from a background where I was told I was worthless for years. But hey, if you want to be around people that call you stupid or insult the way you look (which is being negative) and like it, I suppose all the more power to you dude!

  10. G_G: Thanks! Much appreciated!

    Michael: Well, that goes beyond negative to abusive, and I'm not for that. What I'm talking about is the kind of "negative" talk that says things like "this isn't ready yet" or "that's not the best way to do that." Or "that's a risky investment." Because we should never say those things, you know?

  11. YAY on the freebie!!!

    And HA about the talk show. Yeah, stress will HUNT YOU DOWN AND MURDER YOU. Negative people only expand upon that...cutting them out won't make stress go away. So silly...

    I like to look at negativity as kindling :D

  12. First off, I downloaded your installment and I'll try to get a review out asap.

    Second off, to be lawyerly: what you're talking about isn't really "negative," as I think of it. I avoid negative people -- people who rarely say anything positive, who think things "suck" and otherwise are downers. I don't mind cautionary words or deserved criticism, but that's not negative.

    Let me give an example: Middle Daughter about two years ago was in college and one day called and said "I'm going to switch my major from veterinary sciences to photography."

    Lots of parents would have flipped out and secretly inside I did. But what I said was more or less "Great, pursue your interests, there's lots of ways to have a good life as a photographer, have you thought about maybe also taking a business class or two so that you can make photography a career."

    In the end, she went into restaurant management.

    (My work here is done.)

    The point being: I could've said "Are you insane? Nobody in their right mind majors in photography," but I instead tried to help her out while not crushing her dreams.

    True story: I met, two weeks ago, a student doctor who had left his earlier career at 29 to go to med school. His earlier career was a photographer, for Sports Illustrated. He had majored in molecular biology in college.

  13. I sort of lost the thread of my comment there. Sorry.

  14. Barbara: LOL Negative kindling.

    Briane: Well, see, that's kind of the whole point. -I- know it's negative, but people wrapped up in positive psychology think anything is negative if it's not exuberantly happy. Telling someone there might be a better way to do something or that they should think it through or anything like that are seen as downers and negative. You should read the book. I think you'd find it interesting.

  15. I agree--stress is going to have effects, whether it's good or bad. It will still be hard to deal with.

  16. Briane: Um, I mean, I know it's -not- negative.

    TGE: yep yep

  17. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  18. This is going to sound random, but thanks for mentioning the Barbara Ehrenreich book~ I read Nickel and Dimed about a million years ago, LOVED it, and never picked up anything else by her. Thanks for the recommendation of Bright Sided and thanks for the free release :)

  19. Looks like I'm too late. But I will hit the LIKE button.

  20. Hmm. I agree that you can't just avoid negative people - stress and negativity are part of our every day lives. How we respond to such negativity is ultimately the major factor. We choose our attitude. However, I would say sometimes we do have to make a conscious decision as to whether a particular person is affecting us in way that is doing harm. I had a friend who moved away and it is no exaggeration that I ended up dreading her weekly phone calls. Now that might sound like I was a terrible friend but after months and months of going over the same issues, which would be resolved and then re-appear, I just could not take it any more. She never asked once how I was or about my family. Never once did she thank me for being there for her, and if for any reason I could not phone, she quickly told me how bad a friend I was. When I made the decision to end the calls, I can not tell you how relieved I was. Maybe that makes me a bad friend. I don't know.

  21. Isn't avoiding negative people bringing negativity into your life anyway? *mindblowing*

  22. Jess: Well, I think it's a book more people need to read. Our continuing culture of positivity in the US despite all of the negative consequences is just mind-boggling to me.

    Stephen: Thanks for that, though!

    Ellie: Nah, I don't think it makes you a bad friend. That was a pretty one-sided relationship, and it's difficult to deal with when people continue to do the same (stupid) things over and over again hoping for some other outcome.
    That's not the same kind of "negative" person I was talking about anyway.
    And thanks!

    Ravena: Yeah, I well, I didn't say any of this stuff was rational.