Looking For The Good

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frustrated lady

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Are you a glass half-full or half-empty person? In general, I’m very much a glass half-full person. Lately though, I’m struggling with that. I’m letting the little things become big things.

I’ve always enjoyed my job. I work for a small city and it’s full of wonderful people…for the most part. To say I had hesitation in accepting this job, is an understatement, lol. I am the most un-political person there is and more than a few people pointed this out to me when I was debating on the position. I was reassured though that this was a small city that didn’t participate in the “big city politics” and they weren’t lying I found out. There’s no negativity with our elected officials, they work well together, even if they don’t agree on certain things.

Five years in and I was certain this would be my last job.  I’m not a job hopper, it’s close to home, it’s a government job with great benefits, etc. The last few 4 or 5 months though, I’ve found myself wondering if this is it for me.

Morale and Attitudes are Contagious

Morale and attitudes are funny things. Working in a place that fosters good morale is fantastic. Low morale can make for long days. A nice person compliments you on your outfit when you’re getting your morning coffee on the way to work and your whole day brightens. The guy in the sports car cuts you off and then flips you off on your morning commute and suddenly you’re in a foul mood for the rest of they day. Even a streak of bad weather can affect people I’ve noticed.

I’ve become aware in recent years that I’m a little hyper-sensitive to other people’s emotions and how they affect me. As a result of this, I try especially hard to be very aware of my own attitude that I’m portraying to people. 

Social Media

Social media has become such a double-edged sword. I LOVE social media, I mean, I have a blog for goodness sake. And if you’re Facebook friends with me then you’re well aware I’m crazy about my boys, I love books, and I’m a little snarky but mostly in a good way. Sometimes I say things and you might think, wow, she’s mean but really I just have a quirky, dry sense of humor. As I said before, I’m definitely more of a glass half-full girl and I try to look for the good in people.

Lately though, social media seems to be used less for sharing good things in life with your friends and family and more to hide behind the keyboard and trash people. People seem more intent in assuming the worst in people than assuming the best. I realize you’re never going to please everyone, no matter the job, and most days I thrive on the knowledge that the majority of people I interact with are downright fabulous. I get stopped all the time from residents praising our staff and little city so why do I let the (literal) handful that are mean or hateful or petty drag me down lately? Not sure but I’m going to try to change my focus off the negative people and go out of my way to recognize the good and that’s for people in general.

Curiosity has me wondering though. Do miserable people realize they’re miserable and don’t care? Do they not realize how their bad attitude can drag people down or is that their intention? Maybe they’re miserable and want others to feel that way too? And I also wonder, is there no one in their life that sees them constantly posting negative comments or hears them calling and berating people to say, “Hey buddy, you’re being a jerk.” Maybe they don’t and maybe that’s why they are the way they are. 

Focus on the Positive

I think the rest of this month I’m going to post on my social media some of the things I see in my daily life that are good. And let’s be clear…there’s always good to be found. On the darkest day of my life, the day I lost my husband, I had a work friend show up at the hospital to drive me back to our home afterwards. Another dear friend stayed with me the whole day until our family could make the make the drive from Louisville to Wichita to be with me. So don’t tell me you can’t find the good on even the darkest days.

I’ll start with a few current ones in this post:

  • I’ve got a great boss and co-workers and I’ve been blessed with more than my fair share of fantastic co-workers in my previous jobs too. Some of my past co-workers are my very best friends.
  • Our little city has one of the best councils around. One spends as much time working on our city business as he does with his own personal business that I know is time-consuming. He’s the first one to jump in a snow plow to relieve our small Public Works department when we have snow storms and he’s out there with a chain saw if we have windstorm damage.
    Another council person was recently found working out of our office selling pool passes last week while juggling his “real job” when he knew we didn’t have any staff to do it for the afternoon shift. We didn’t ask him to do this, he just knew it would help our staff to be able to do their regular job duties and jumped in. Just two examples of outstanding service-minded individuals working for us and I could come up with a story I’m sure for the rest of our council people.
  • A resident in our little city initiated an effort to provide a fabulous luncheon for our staff today. She put out a call on social media and she was flooded with residents (and some that don’t even live in our immediate city) to participate and donate. 
  • My boys…you just knew I was going to include them, didn’t you?? I can’t help it. They check in daily, they spoil me rotten (it’s weird when there’s that shift from the parent spoiling the kids to the kids spoiling the parents), and they indulge my occasional craziness when I forget they’re grown men that don’t necessarily need their momma giving unsolicited advice or when I’m snapping yet another picture of their handsome faces.
  • Grateful for all the little things in my life that I’ve been blessed with despite some challenging years. I’ve got a home, reliable transportation, enough money in the bank to buy this Starbucks I’m drinking, etc. Things we take for granted when so many don’t have these luxuries.
  • Thankful for a mini-vacation next week with friends and that both my kids are able to join for a day or two. This is super rare now that they both have full-time careers now. It’s the one negative of having adult children…coordinating family time with three full-time work schedules

This post evolved from a work issue and someone else mentioning drama at their workplace that was similar. A quick search of Facebook brought up a flood of negative posts on politics, sports, entertainers, and everything in between.  Seems like it’s not just me…

So the work begins today to focus on the good people are doing and not the ones stirring up trouble. And to be fair, I realize oftentimes the people that we assume are just being hateful or manipulative might just have too much time on their hands. Or maybe they have hard things going on in their own lives and they’re just choosing a poor way to express their personal anguish. A little grace goes a long way, something I needed reminded of too when I’m too impatient with people.

I know sometimes my good-natured snarkiness might come across as mean when I rarely mean it that way too. My family and friends are used to my weirdness and I have to remember other people aren’t, lol. My kids and my friends can dish it right back and that’s how we communicate for the most part. Another thing to work on for myself this year.

Tell me something good you see in the people/world around you. Better yet, be nice to someone today or tomorrow. And if someone is being a jerk, make an extra effort to be nice to them. They might be the ones that need some kindess the most.

And don’t worry boss lady (if you’re reading this), I’m not going anywhere yet….lol. Today reinforced that the good outweighs the bad and the tides are sure to shift again.

 

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