I had a weird thing happen the other day.
I was wading through a collection of customers at one of those big box stores. You know, the kind of people who park their carts in the middle of aisles, stand in front of things you want to buy and, are entirely impervious when everyone within a 10-foot radius almost trips over their unruly kids.
Annoying stores like this are usually places I avoid but not today. Today I was in an obnoxiously good mood and feeling confident.
So, I’m shopping away— in public, singing along loudly to the music in my earbuds, tripping over children— when a man pushes past me and says, “Excuse me, angry lady.”
I was surprised— and he noticed. My reaction apparently gave him permission to go off at me. And go off he did.
I had been hit by the Negativity Virus.
See about a year ago I was struggling with depression to the point were I could no longer go to work. For the first time in my life, I was living on disability. I felt like a failure.
There was a lot of things that contributed to my leave, but one of the big ones was my overall negative view. I took it out on everyone around me, spreading it to anyone who’d listen. Often times it was absorbed by the person and carried into their next interaction. Sometimes it would end up hurled right back at me.
I watched my anger spread like wildfire to my friends and family. They took it, make it their own, and paid it forward. Negativity became a virus and infected everyone.
Seeing this detrimental effect changed my perspective on venting to a friend or ranting on social media. These things make me have to relive whatever it was that made me upset in the first place. Once I’ve finished retelling it I think I’m done but, I’m not. I have to respond to comments, both in person and online and relive it over and over.
When some minor thing upsets us the standard advice is to let it go. But how are we supposed to do that when we keep reliving the negativity and spreading the virus.
So when I was on my way home from the store— replaying the man’s sanctimonious remarks. Hearing him tell me to get a life and to not judge a book by its cover— I was fully aware that my mood change that day was a result of catching the virus.
I found myself having imaginary arguments with him for the rest of the day. I just really wanted to ask him if he wanted me to lead a life of judging angry ladies’ books by the covers.
I’m blogging about this to cure myself. Yes, I realize that falls under the category of venting… which makes me somewhat of a hypocrite but bear with me here.
I am not immune to the Negativity Virus. I catch myself spreading it to others sometimes. But now I can see myself doing it and stop.
So I’m going to go grab some hand sanitizer and move on. Because now I know and knowing is half the battle, at least according to G.I. Joe.
I think it’s time I take my antibiotics. Blog about it. Kill the virus. Let it go.
Thanks for reading,