I've been fighting off a series of small depressive episodes over the past two weeks or so. More and more I've been having difficulty with the negativity on my Facebook. I have a melancholy streak and am not afraid to express my displeasure with things that truly bother me, so I generally have a high tolerance for disgruntledness, but this week I can't take it. Every angry, mocking, judgmental status pierces through my soul and sinks it, and I'm left feeling despondent and alone, like everyone on Facebook is angry, and they'd probably be angry at me if they really talked to me, and all I want to do is retreat into my shell and not talk to anyone.
Of course, that's a negative reaction to a negative problem.
So instead, I've decided I'm going to focus on some positive things over the next week or so. That will probably be reflected on my blog as well.
Today I want to focus on the people who are a very positive force in my life. I don't just mean they're good for me, I mean they inspire me to be more positive. Not all of these people are people I'm super close friends with. Some I only spend occasional time with. The fact that I love good snark means that the majority of my friends are sarcastic and snarky and negative right along with me. But I wanted to thank the people who gear me toward optimism, hopefulness, and joy.
My fiancé Jacob. It was one of the very first things I liked about him, actually - that he didn't like to speak negatively of the people around us and worked to keep himself looking at things from a positive angle. Even when he doesn't do it consistently and gets negative or complainy, he recognizes positivity as something he wants to strive for, and he works at it.
My sister Bethany. When I was in high school, I made fun of how tender-hearted she was (because I was a terrible, terrible sister in high school) but now I am very impressed by how much she really cares about the people around her and doesn't ever want to think less of them for any reason.
My mother and my sister Elizabeth. I've bundled them together not because they only count as half a person, but because they have the same series of traits that make them a positive force. It's a combination of the fact that they're super hard to offend (seriously, I have to work a lot to make Elizabeth angry these days) and the fact that, even when difficult situations come up, they somehow find a way to find the positive in it and power through it without being defeated by it.
My New Life friends Lisa and Jessica. While I have definitely been around for some less-than-happy times in their lives as well, their joy is absolutely infectious. Even if I am sad, being around either of these two when they are ecstatically happy brings my mood up and reminds me how exciting it is to see other people happy. You can't be sad when these two are happy. You just can't.
My Huntington friend Kate. She is one of those people who always looks for something she can be positive about, rather than something to criticize. She doesn't give vague words of affirmation, either - "You're great" and "You're awesome" - but she finds very specific things to encourage me with, somehow always managing to touch on the one thing I need to hear, and I always leave feeling better about both myself and the world as a whole.
My married New Life friends Tim and Jessie. I think what is always most positive for me about Tim and Jessie is how genuine they are about liking people. Even if they don't know you very well, they find something about you to like. Then, once they find that, they make sure you know they admire that in you. Every time I hang out with them, I leave encouraged.
There are many more people who have been positive forces in my life but today I wanted to thank them. Optimism and positive attitudes are often not easy for people, and these nine people do an incredible job of inspiring that in me.
Thank you guys.