I love Labs. Who doesn’t? A Labrador is one of the happiest, most companionable dogs on the planet. I’ve had a few Labs in my life and one characteristic they shared was that they loved the water with wild abandon.
I don’t share that love at all, in fact I’m water phobic.
Not to worry, I handle baths okay, but other than that, I have strict water rules. No lakes, rivers, or oceans (too many unknowns and variables). Some pools are okay depending on their cling-able edge to middle abyss ratio. I also fret about the areas surrounding the pool. Too much furniture/cement and not enough lawn leads to danger. At parties, there’s potential for over-crowding and accidental bumpings. Just too risky.
Many years ago, I frequented a family home with a pool and built-up a comfort level. I even paddled around a few times. My Lab didn’t share my hesitation. If the door wasn’t opened fast enough, she’d go right through the screen to leap into the pool, fur flying and tongue hanging out.
With her stamina and the love of water, she’d be a perfect lifeguard, right? Wrong!
She was fine swimming alone, but not with anyone else. She jumped in after me once and nearly killed me. She barked, whined, and clawed at me forcing me underwater over and over. I tried to get her to stop pawing at me, but it was hard to yell and gasp for air at the same time. Fortunately, I finagled my freedom and climbed to the safety of the pool deck.
I’ve seen the same weird phenomenon happen in chronic illness support groups and on social networking pages. One person says, “Hey, things are going well for me.” Then another feels compelled to reply that things are not great, and then more chime in. A virtual dog pile of negativity with no lifeguard in site.
In an attempt to “look” supportive, they’re not really supportive at all.
It’s a curious occurrence that comments are sometimes more negative than positive. Maybe people don’t think to say something positive? Or maybe negative comments feel more important or necessary under the guise of being constructive?
In any case, I’d like you to consider making an effort to brighten someone’s day today. Consciously choose to think positively, to speak positively.
Lift up a hurting friend and say something helpful. Write a positive message on your favorite social networking site. Write a supportive blogpost comment. Send a positive email.
Even a sticky note will do.
If you haven’t done so already, view Lisa’s video for her “Each One Can Reach One” Campaign for the upcoming Invisible Illness week 2010: http://invisibleillnessweek.com/
When it comes to choosing negative or positive things to say, the health benefits of positive comments wins every time. It’s more than a positive attitude. It’s choosing a positive way of life — choosing to encourage rather than discourage.
In a weird way, I think my Lab was trying to encourage me in the swimming pool. I think paddling over and around me was how she demonstrated her concern for my safety. I could have done with a little less concern.
Have you ever witnessed a dog pile of negativity? Maybe you’ve even wondered if you should have done something. Here’s your opportunity to remedy that. DO something today. Play “lifeguard” in your relationships with others, and make a lasting, positive impression.
Sue, I would like leave a positive note for you; your blog posts are always encouraging to me. I enjoy reading and thinking about what you have written. Keep up the good work!
I appreciate and value your encouragements 😉
Great points. It’s overwhelming the frequency of negativity and doom and gloom that you read on chronic illness sites, blogs and social networks. It’s really frustrating to me and for someone hitting rock bottom it has to be incredibly discouraging to encounter so much dog pile negativity, as you say. That’s where I think certain sites shine brighter in that gloomy sea, the one that CHOOSE to spread encouragement and hope, like your blog Sue, and like FibroHaven.
Wow same here goes for me as well you are the most wonderful women of God who can make some one smile like right now I am going to bed and wanted to read this first wow wow Sue love this so much see you mad me smile and took the tears away Love you and love what you do keep up the good work keep the blogs coming I am enjoying them much love
I love labs! And I love this post!!!
I swear, sometimes we are so simpatico! I was having a very similar conversation the other night with my husband after reading some negative and disappointing conversations on a facebook group page. It is understandable to be worn down by the weight of chronic illness, but when you have found a forum for support – embrace it, nourish it, and feed it with love and positive energy.
This beautiful post is certain to inspire some positive conversation. Thank you Sue!
THIS IS SO TRUE. I BELONG TO A SUPPORT GROUP HER IN AZ. THE FACILITATOR IS AMAZING, SO POSITIVE AND UPBEAT. DURING ONE MEETING A MAN KEPT GOING ON AND DON TO THE POINT THAT NOONE HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK. I SAID SOMETHING TO THE WOMAN NEXT TO ME AND SHE GAVE ME A DIRTY LOO AND SAID HE WAS JST TELLING HOW HE FEELS.
I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS AT ALL. SUPPORT GROUPS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FOR EVERYONE’S SUPPORT NOT FOR ONE THAT GRIPES THE WHOLE TIME.
I FEEL HE WAS BRINGING EVERYONE DOWN. I AM ONE THAT TRIES TO BRING EVERYONE UP. I TRY TO BE POSTIVE, I LISTEN TO POSITIVE DVDS AND T TO KEP POSITIVE FOR MY OWN SANITY AND FOR MY FAMILY AS WELL.
BTW THERE ARE SOME POPLE ON FACEBOOK THAT REALLY BRING YOU DOWN IN SO MANY WAYS.
Thankyou Sue. I’ve just discovered your blog and I am finding your positive posts really helpful in how I tackle my days. Your work here is really valuable. Thankyou for giving of yourself and your thoughts in this way.
Upon finishing my work and feeling a bit lost,i started to look around the web for people with “experiance” of CFS.
Sadly for evey person with a positive experiance there is normally someone with a counter tale. I’m a grown man and chronic illness has shaken me to core, so i fully understand how some people can’t cope very well.
These people need a positive message more than any, and posts like your fine work here remind me to make sure i do that.
You know Sue, I really appreciate you and what you have to say.
This is yet another great example of your helpful perspective.
Your @SantaDearest believes in you.
I think I commented a couple weeks back that I have stopped reading things on the web so much. The negativity was really bringing me down. Your blog and the book webpage are so informative and helpful they are on my daily “to do” list. It really is contagious…..be it laughter or pain.
Isn’t it interesting that we’ve all had similar experiences? Negativity breeds like mold spores. It doesn’t take much to get it going.
It doesn’t take more effort to be encouraging rather than discouraging, so why fan the flames of discontent? When I see discouraging comments, I try to bring the conversation back around to a positive note. Can’t always be done, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Thanks much for the lovely thoughts here and know that your positive support of what I do means a lot to me!
Together, we can have a greater impact on the health and healing of others through support and encouragements 😉
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