The Uncomfort Zone

The Uncomfort Zone

I had a key insight today, while thinking about why she sees me talking about what’s wrong with something as being negative. I know, it sounds silly written out like that, but I never thought that just talking about things you don’t like was “being negative” as such. I mean, you can’t like everything, right? So how is explaining what you don’t like “being negative?” But of course it is. The only thing that’s not negative is talking about things that are positive, or talking and thinking about things you like. And why don’t I do that as often?

Because then I would have nothing to talk about.

This is what I realized: because we accept that things are… I don’t know, “ordinary” in the world, or “neutral”, maybe, being neither positive nor negative, talking about things we don’t like is upsetting that status quo. Since the things that are “out of order”, as such, are just that, not as they should be, and thus unusual, they provide a topic of conversation. If you didn’t have that, if I couldn’t analyze the world as it is, and pick out its faults, what would I have to discuss?

Things I like, of course.

See, here’s the thing. If you eliminate me talking or writing about things that make me feel bad, I don’t have much to say, or rather, nothing I talk about is all that unusual or “exceptional”, in a sense. “Other than ordinary” is what I am shooting for here. Like talking about what I did yesterday is pretty dull, because there’s nothing unusual about it. But if I talk about it in terms of something bad that happened, that’s unusual, and thus interesting in some way. The thing is, you don’t have to do that. You can talk about what was good about yesterday. The weather was nice (if it was, here in Chicago that doesn’t happen that much). You were able to get a lot of work done. You picked up some extra hours, and thus, extra money. You deposited your paycheque (now I’m talking about things I did today that I enjoyed.) You got home at about the same time as your sister, and got to spend time with her before she goes off on her trip. Tomorrow, I get to use the car because she’ll be out of town. I got some practice with it last weekend.

It will take lots of conscious effort on my part, and a lot of times, I may just be writing positives to pep myself up out of a bad mood, but IMO, I need to do that. I need to get to the point that I’m only talking about things I like, and what I like about my life. If that means old comic books (I spent most of my train trip today thinking about the history of Captain Marvel), movies I’ve seen, friends I’ve known or places I’ve been, that’s what it’s gotta be. If it’s fantasies or other ideas that have nothing to do with the here and now, that’s not ideal, but it’s better than the negative alternative. I need being positive to be as easy and comfortable for me as being negative is. I’m glad I caught this – I think it will help me.

Another thing I think I want to do is go to the public library, and get a copy of Daniel Goleman’s EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. I had no idea that the concept of “emotional intelligence” came from the work of a specific psychologist (Goleman), and that he wrote a book about it! Though I’d heard the term before, within the past year or so, I’ve come to really realize that this, in addition to my attitude, is what’s held me back all this time. I am very bad at dealing with my emotions, expressing them incorrectly, to the wrong people, or at the wrong times. This is why I was not able to get a new, permanent full-time job this past summer, and what I learned from that experience (trying to keep this positive). I think that reading /the/ book on the subject may help me a lot. I have been looking for something to read, and if this can scratch that itch and help me improve, why not?

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