How to defeat the demons of negativity

Why not recognize how much stuff goes right in our lives? Every single day.

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The other day I was in a grocery store line. There was an elderly man ahead of me, interacting with the cashier. They were sorting out a price check. The cashier was being patient and kind with the old gentleman, treating him the way we’d like to be treated.

Image by John Weiss

Behind me in line stood a man and a woman. The woman muttered under her breath, “Every time! This happens every time!” Clearly, she was feeling impatient about the old man holding up the line.

I listened to the old gentleman, who was gracious and jovial with the cashier, while the impatient woman behind me sighed and fidgeted with her cell phone.

Beyond the cashier, I observed the hurly-burly of afternoon shoppers around us. Carts filled with every imaginable item, from juices and breads to lotions and paper towels. Just about anything you needed you could find in the grocery store. An embarrassment of choices.


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My turn came up. I greeted the cashier, helped bag my items, and was on my way. As I approached my vehicle, I held up my key fob and clicked to unlock the doors. I unloaded my groceries and started to push the cart I was using to the nearby collection stall. Just then a young grocery store employee said, “Oh, here, I’ll take care of that for you.” I thanked her and slid into my car.

I pressed the ignition button and my car started, just like it always does. I clicked on my music, and without fail it began playing the soothing piano music of Joep Beving.

I took a deep breath and sat back, thinking about the impatient woman in line.

Petty inconveniences

Why are we like that? What do we default to negativity so quickly? If the woman was honest with herself, she’d admit that delays in the check stand aisle don’t happen “every time.” In fact, most of the time she probably moves right along and pays for her things.

Why not recognize how much stuff goes right in our lives? Every single day.

Almost without fail, grocery stores stock the things we need. Cashiers conduct pleasant transactions and help bag our goods. Our cars nearly always start. Music plays without fail. Thousands of planes take off and land without incident daily.

It seems to be human nature to find the negative. To complain and gripe about petty inconveniences. Yet we fail to appreciate the multitude of things that consistently go right in our lives.

Reacquaint myself with gratitude

I’m not perfect. I’ve had my days, too. When the old guy in front of me is driving like a sloth. Usually when I have to catch a flight or running late to an appointment.

So, I’m trying to reacquaint myself with gratitude. Thankfulness for all the things that go right in my life. From my health to the car starting to the licks of love my dogs give me every day.

Instead of fixating on negative comments from readers, I focus on the many positive remarks. Rather than lament the broken gate latch, I celebrate how well everything else works in my home.

Yes, sometimes bad stuff happens. The trick is to not let it drag you down. Embrace gratitude for all the things that go right in your life, every day.

Doing so will lift your spirit, and help you defeat the demons of negativity.

Before you go

Image by John Weiss

I’m John P. Weiss. I draw, paint, and write about life. Come follow along here.

This article first appeared on Medium


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