Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Negativity: The Silver Lining February 21, 2013

No is not one of my favorite people words. When I first moved into my forever home, I heard no a lot.

No, Wiley stays in the crate while we’re not home.
No, Wiley can’t come on the furniture.
No, Wiley can’t go on the beds.

As a result, I have fine-tuned my negotiating skills. I blame the inherently defiant nature of the terrier in me, but I see no as an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

Yes, Wiley can chill out in the kitchen while we’re not home.
Yes, Wiley can come on the furniture.
Yes, Wiley can sleep in the bed.

While my parents were away at work today, I found myself contemplating the impact that negativity has on my life. (From the comfort of the kitchen rather than the crate I might add). I realized it is my personal choice to see no as a challenge. Like heavyweight champion George Foreman, I see negativity as a gift.I'm a Yes Man

“I let that negativity roll off me like water off a duck’s back,” Forman advises. “If it’s not positive, I didn’t hear it. If you can overcome that, fights are easy.”

But that doesn’t mean everyone can fight the negativity. Not everyone sees no as a challenge. Fights may be easier with that positive mindset, but even I will admit (as in the case of no Wiley don’t chew those dirty Kleenexes), sometimes no really means no. As I think about this I find myself contemplating how I can find the silver lining in life’s negativity. Would the world really be a better place without it?

I can’t say I’m certain it would be. While I don’t always understand why, there are very good reasons for some of the no’s in my life. So no, I don’t think I would completely undo negativity. Like most things, I think what I would undo is the negative perception of circumstances. I see life through rose-colored glasses because it is a choice I make every day.

“Today I choose life,” said the late American photographer Kevin Aucoin. “Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”

Whether I like it or not, negativity is a part of life. Its what we do with it that matters.