have some sympathy for "negative" thinkers

United States
April 20, 2011 3:57pm CST
I was just thinking about how people always want to be around positive, happy people. Everybody likes to laugh, that is true, but what is really the essence of positive and negative thinking? I had a really stupid psychology class where the professor asked us what kind of personality traits we look for or don't look for in a partner or friend. One class mate said he wouldn't look for a negative personality. I thought to myself, first of all I don't even look at personality traits. I look for the total of a person- what he/she has been through, what he thinks about, how the person approaches life. Of course there are certain personality traits I require, like respectful, understanding, etc.. but I think it's silly not to care about the other things. Second, I was wondering if positive and negative are really personality traits. Some times negativity is a response to one's surroundings, so I don't think its a personality trait. Plus, a person may have been very positive at one time, but after a major event in his life, he could develop a different attitude. I think it's kind of sad that we judge people based on a simple first impression.. if he looks like a negative person, most people think he IS a negative person. What are your thoughts?
2 people like this
8 responses
@kwylima (452)
• United States
20 Apr 11
I think that people who always have negatives thought may become a negative person.I don't know exacly what I am trying to say,,, but in my case I used to have negative thouhgt all the time...everything that I thought was in the negative way..I can't do it..I am ugly because I am fat..I never will be sucessful because I don't work hard and so... so what I did was just change it..now I think like..I will be sucessful because I am working hard..I am thin because I can control myself and bla bla bal.. so I think your thoughts can control you life..think good..good results..think bad...bad results..
1 person likes this
• Mexico
21 Apr 11
Hi kwylima: That's totally truth my friend. People don't notice the way they think sometimes. It's not that we hate people that are negative. Negative persons usually suffer because they can't find something that is ok or working for them. That's kindda depressing. The fact is that if you bring negativity to your life everything you look will be negative. ALVARO
• United States
22 Apr 11
yes but the thing is, we don't know what situations people are going through. Surely a person in prison is not going to be happy. Prison is meant to be depressing. Of course if you are there long enough, some people will try to be happy because that is the only way they can survive. But that happiness is only a surface level happiness.. deep down there is anger and resentment for whatever happened in that person's life to make him or her end up there. I think in these cases people need to be more understanding.. you can't tell a prisoner, "hey lighten up!" it will just make the person more angry.
@Rollo1 (16639)
• Boston, Massachusetts
20 Apr 11
Perhaps what we perceive as negativity is often just caution. It's never a good idea to get your hopes to high, especially in cases where you are likely to be disappointed. Sometimes this heartbreak is worse than having a less positive outlook. As they say, the optimist is often disappointed but the pessimist is frequently pleasantly surprised. Some people are just more cautious than others, and it isn't really being negative, it's an attempt to be realistic. As Thoreau said, it's alright to build castles in the air, that is where they should be - now put the foundations under them. Perhaps some are busy building foundations while others are busy dreaming up their castles. Neither is wrong, but if you start with a foundation, your castle cannot fall.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 11
I see that a lot with people I know. They are afraid of looking at the glass half empty. They try so hard to be optimistic that it makes them depressed. Honestly I don't have much respect for people who always want to be happy. Life is filled with suffering- without it, people can't build character. If a person is not feeling good about life one day, no one wants to talk to him, but that is because those people are just as weak. They aren't strong enough to deal with a person who sees things with pessimism, so in my view they are just as bad!
@debrakcarey (19921)
• United States
22 Apr 11
Wow, and I thought I was the only one who did that! I tend to be pessimistic about things until I am shown otherwise, which as you point out leads to being pleasantly surprised. I truly cannot stand to be around someone who is 'happy' all the time. It's unrealistic to believe everything will work out just fine or that there is no reason to be unhappy. Don't get me wrong, I believe that in the end (THE end) it WILL work out the way it is supposed to. But while we are here it can be pretty awful. Having this attitude enables me to be TRULY happy when there is good reason to be.
21 Apr 11
Well, I agree that we should have some sympathy for negative thinkers. Why? Because as negative thinkers,they are not really happy with their lives!
• United States
21 Apr 11
exactly. it is selfish to only think about what effect a negative person has on the self. one should think of why that person is thinking negatively, and work to help that person. but instead, we just try to leave them behind because we are afraid of falling in the same path.
• United States
21 Apr 11
I often believe that it is in the character of the person. True we cannot at all times we positive especially when issues arise it is instinct to be sad and negative. Although I can feel negative at times I do try hard to divert and lean toward the positives in my life. Simply because being too negative for me does not allow me to think clearly. I really do not really on how a person looks to determine if he/she is a negative and or positive type person. I solely depend on their character to come up with my conclusion of what the person is like.
• United States
21 Apr 11
yes, it's impossible to always be happy.. there is a middle way according to buddhism, which i think is a great philosophy. learning to deal with both joys and sufferings is wisdom.
• Mexico
21 Apr 11
Hi sashakiddo: I have a good friend from high school that was a really negative person and for this I am saying that he always look the bad part of things and even when there was an opportunity he looks the bad part, he doesn't find the good part of a situation. I like him but sometimes I can't stand his attitude. I try to make things look funny to make him feel better. Sometimes it works, actually I think he is now a happier person. I think people don't like negative persons because, when someone always look everything as bad he/she doesn't find the possitive things that are present in life too and things get more depressing. ALVARO
• United States
22 Apr 11
what if those people don't consider themselves negative, but other people do? I think in this case, people need to stop getting on his case... sometimes other people are too sensitive to one's criticisms or anger. I criticize by nature, but I don't think I'm a negative thinker. Maybe it hurts people's feelings if I say too many things, but isn't it their negativity that hurts them?
@kenzie45230 (3560)
• United States
20 Apr 11
Perhaps it's not stupid to ask what personality traits one is seeking in a mate. Perhaps if more people cared about the pieces that make up the whole we'd have less divorces? I can tell you that having persons who are always negative around you brings you down as well. It's miserable! When you wake up and say, "What a gorgeous day it's going to be!" Negative Nellies (or Nelsons) say, "I don't know. Looks like there's a gray cloud there. Might rain." And when that happens day after day after day it gets old really quickly.
• United States
21 Apr 11
Interesting, I like the word Nelson... never heard that one being used. And I never heard of Negative Nellies either. First I thought it said Negative Bellies. This makes me wonder, how would an optimistic person approach a negative person? Would they be brought down by a "negative person?"
@asliah (11140)
• Philippines
3 May 11
hi, yeah you're right,when i see people with negative expressions i thought that they are also a negative thinker too because sometimes feelings reflect to our inner.its really nice to be happy and to be a positive thinker,everything will be ok and go on.
• Ireland
20 Apr 11
Nice post Sashakiddo, I agree with you positive and negative are not on their own personality traits. Inside the observer takes a persons traits and assigns them either to be positive or negative depending upon what they are looking for. For example if you were looking to employ someone to work in library you would look for someone who is quiet and introvert, however if you were employing a stripper you would want someone who is more extrovert and out going. There are no good or bad personality traits it is entirely objective.