A little while ago, I was perusing the internet as one does and came across an interview from one of my favorite artists, Erykah Badu . I've always admired her many reasons, one being her ability to think for herself (sounds simple enough, but it's a hard quality to find sometimes). I read the interview and enjoyed hearing her viewpoints on a number of topics... I always enjoy listening to other people's viewpoints. It helps me better understand my own. I go about my day as usual, and then I see others who were reacting to the interview, and also spin-off articles about the interview. One spin-off title, to my surprise, read something along the lines of, "Erykah Badu empathizes with Hitler..." . It seems that out of the entire interview, many focused on a particular comment she made that happened to have Hitler's name in it. Which, if people bothered to read the interview in its entirety, is taken a bit out of context for shock value purposes. In theory, I understand that this is usually the deal with click-bait in general, but as I look deeper into it, I'm really curious as to why human nature is centered around always focusing on the negative?
Looking into the subject a bit more scientifically, the capacity to emphasize the negative rather than the positive has probably been an evolutionary phenomenon. From our earliest beginnings, being aware of and avoiding danger has been a critical survival skill. Our brains are naturally set up to literally SEEK out the negative in situations, seemingly in order to reduce the potential threat. Over time our natural "negative" ways of thinking have leaked into the non-life threatening aspects of life as we know it to fully encompass all other situations. A very interesting article on how our brain perceives positivity and negativity states; In our brains, there are two different systems for negative and positive stimuli. The amygdala uses approximately two thirds of its neurons to detect negative experiences, and once the brain starts looking for bad news, it is stored into long-term memory quickly. Positive experiences have to be held in our awareness for more than 12 seconds in order for the transfer from short-term to long-term memory. Rick Hanson describes it in this way: “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.”  We quite literally have to actively WORK at being positive and receiving positive stimuli! No wonder it's so hard!
I see this phenomenon often online as well. In such an open forum style, like that of Facebook or Twitter, we tend to respond most to something if we have something conflicting to say as opposed to agreement. For example, on my feed, there are certain people who ONLY respond when they have something opposing to say. I always found that strange, but I do understand it more now. We tend to seek out the flaws in almost everything as a subconscious survival tactic. One sentence we don't agree with in a 15-page interview will tarnish the entire interview, no matter what else is said. We'll look at a normal photo of ourselves or someone else and obsess over the way a finger looks "weird". We have the ability to perfectly spot the imperfections in most people and things, but such a hard time looking past them to get a better sense of the entirety. Do we all not have flaws? Are we all Satan in the flesh?
I'm really not sure how I manage to be such a positive person most of the time. I suppose it really is because I actively work on it. Don't get me wrong, there definitely are times when one negative thing will creep in every now and then, causing a downward spiral in my subsequent thought process. These are usually the days where everything goes wrong . It is very easy to fall into a pit of negativity, and the deeper you go, the harder it will be to get out and see the positive in anything at all.
There is no question that the world is full of both good and bad, and positive and negative forces. It's in us as well. It's what makes us all go around! Being aware of the negative is what helps us survive, but being aware of the positive will help us LIVE. We need both. But since it's much easier and more natural to see the negative things, we could all use a lot more help seeing the positive. Trust me, it's out there! We have to help each other out here. Try it today if you can. Perhaps you might even like it. Perhaps you might infect someone else with positivity. Let me know your thoughts on the subject everyone!
P.s. The above photo is actually one of the first photos I took this year! Me and the friends I was with had a resolution to stop picking at ourselves about our appearance so much and focus more on what we love... which after a bit of practice, comes quite easy!
P.p.s. As I was rewatching 'Friends' for the billionth time last night, I saw the episode where Ross and Rachel were first starting to get together, but Rachel found a list of cons Ross had written about her... so she cut the whole thing off... I was like giiiiiirl! She basically shut down the possibility of a relationship, that had been in the works since they were teenagers, over a list? Of things that were true?? She really couldn't get past that to look at the grand scheme of things? Blah.
P.p.p.s. Speaking of that Erykah Badu interview again, it made me realize how much we spread false, partial, or out of context information way too often. Let's try to stop doing this! It's happened to me before too. Many times. This is another reason where writing comes in handy... original references from the source!