An ex-despondent on the potency of positivity.

I’m positive the most important lesson I’ve learned over the course of the past year is the importance of positivity in life. And it’s taken long enough dammit, I’m ’bout to be a quarter of a century old fercryingoutloud!

My freshmen year of college I went through (what is now to me) a pretty serious depression that would come and go over the next 5 years. I experienced firsthand all the effects negativity and a general downerish disposition can have on not only you and your health, but the people around you who you claim to love. Family, friends and friends of friends have no desire to be around people representing that negative energy in life… that complicated Darth Vader vibe, as cool and badass as he may be, is not a good look when trying to present yourself! Open yourself to the lighter side of The Force, alright?

Jackson Hole homies

I found positivity on the road this year.

We’ve all been beaten down before, gone through the shit and cursed the hand that fate has given us… but fuck that. The one thing I distinctly remember about that rough patch is how absolutely exhausting being a negative person was. You constantly have things to worry about, people to avoid and you have to be ever vigilant that those dark thoughts don’t become abusive speech or action, or you lose sight and completely stop caring. Your mind is never at ease in the shadows. Being negative is a lot!

Compare that to being a positive force and looking forward to each moment and letting the past live behind you, not constantly ON you. It’s easy to see which is healthier for the human psyche. And lightyears more fun too!

Puppies!

Puppies put people in positive places!

Positive energy breeds even more positivity and that applies to any position in life, from being a reputable CEO of a Fortune 500 to handing out mints in a men’s bathroom somewhere deep in West Hollywood. If you are a positive force in life, not only will you bring that positivity out in others but people will be more drawn to you in general.

So, I challenge you for the weekend: be EXTRA positive! If something bad happens (you spill a drink on your new shirt, have a regrettable one-night-stand, let a fart slip on a first date), laugh at it and then order everyone a drink, pass out or whatever your MO is.

Be EXTRA positive because being EXTRA anything else is just being an asshole.

Author: Eric White

Eric graduated Ohio University in 2012 with a degree in Advertising and immediately went out to San Diego, California to start not using his degree. At the start of 2013, Eric quit his job, let his lease run out and started backpacking North America. Eric has worked with Amtrak, Crowdtap, HootSuite and others, and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA... when not on the road.

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6 Comments

  1. Hey, I just wanted to say thank you for the supporting words. This blog really makes me feel comfortable being myself, and it shows that even someone like myself is able to have a fun time. When you mention your depression during your freshman year of college, I find myself relating to you the most (I have recently entered into a collegiate school and I am pretty down on myself). When you were a freshman who was it that made an impact on how you viewed your life positively? Was it a roommate or friend from your high school… I just find that I cannot open myself up so easily and I am wondering, what got you through your freshman year of college, when depression seemed to impact you the most?

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  2. Hi Eric,

    Wow. So many things to say about this…where to start? I find that if I focus on something outside myself, it’s pretty tough to stay negative. A bunch of my friends are going through hugely craptastically awful stuff right now. As in mom dying, family stealing stuff, divorce, grief, sickness (that’s just the fun stuff!), so I can only feel like I have first world issues. Seriously, what do I have to complain about–I ran out of eyebrow pencil? My toe hurts? There’s no more beer?

    So many of the cliches about feeling happy are fortunately or unfortunately true. It’s a choice, to some extent. And I also think that decoupling having to be cool from being happy is a big one. When I let myself be free to be my nerdiest and goofiest self that makes me waaaay happier.

    I really liked the puppies.

    Carol

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    • Hey Carol!

      Happiness definitely starts with a choice, for sure. Even if bad things are going on in life, we all have the choice on what we want to focus on. I used to focus solely on the negatives even when things were actually going well. Luckily I realized what I was doing and made the changes!

      You’re right though, focusing outside yourself is a good way to relieve yourself of some negativity. But in the same breath, I’ve found that putting too much focus on others can actually cause me stress and might cause me to lose focus on my personal goals, to the point where I’m not achieving anything because I’m so invested in others. Depending on others for happiness is bad news, you def need a healthy balance. Getting absorbed too much either way always ends poorly.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

      E

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  3. I can really relate to this. (Although it took me longer to figure it out, way to go!) As a writer, with many hours alone at the keyboard, it’s easy to become weighed down by all kinds of things… as you say “Your mind is never at ease in the shadows,” making it all the more critical to seek out the positive when I could. After being bogged down with a few downward spiraling negative people (of their own choosing), I made the choice this year to focus on positive friendships and activities. I also go out of my way to be EXTRA positive with everyone, exactly as you say. The difference has been phenomenal…leaving the past behind me and happily embracing the moment has been the best choice I’ve ever made. (BTW, this is one of the reasons I love glassduffle so much; you guys are always so positive, thank you for that!)

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    • Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by, as always Julia! Much appreciated indeed. Positivity is one of those things you have to WORK for. It doesn’t come easy, right?? Too bad but that’s the way it is… Maybe I’ll have more to say on the topic soon… Thanks!

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